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Kyenjojo women start campaign to conserve environment 

By Wilson Asiimwe

Added 13th January 2020 05:53 PM

The women groups along Matiri Central Forest Reserve have been mobilised by the Joint Effort to Save the Environment (JESE) and CARE International, with the aim of improving their household incomes, through alternative sources of income.

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Women displaying some of the items they make in Kyenjojo

The women groups along Matiri Central Forest Reserve have been mobilised by the Joint Effort to Save the Environment (JESE) and CARE International, with the aim of improving their household incomes, through alternative sources of income.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Women in Kyenjojo district have stepped up efforts to conserve the environment as one way of mitigating the effects of climate change.

The women groups along Matiri Central Forest Reserve have been mobilised by the Joint Effort to Save the Environment (JESE) and CARE International, with the aim of improving their household incomes, through alternative sources of income.

In Matiri Parish, the women have started making charcoal from waste materials, with an aim of stopping the encroachment on the forest reserve.

The women, through their association, Matiri Women to Save the Environment, have asked district leaders to regulate the unending depletion of trees for logs and commercial burning of charcoal.

Martha Kabazora, the chairperson of the women group, says they are sensitising people on the dangers of cutting down trees for charcoal and timber.

“We are working closely with the National Forests Authority (NFA) and district leaders to ensure that people stop encroaching on central forest reserves because if they destroy the forests, we shall suffer the consequences,” Kabazora said.

Kabazora says there is need to outlaw adverse methods of charcoal production, unlicensed charcoal burning and taxing charcoal being transported from Kyenjojo.

Kabazora says the absence of a bylaw to halt charcoal burning continues to encourage indiscriminate tree cutting for commercial charcoal burning and illegal practices of felling endangered tree species.

“People should be encouraged to start other income generating activities and stop looking at forests as their sole sources of income because many forests in Kyenjojo have been destroyed,” Kabazora said.

Mary Kobusinge, a member of the association, says the masses need to be sensitised to plant more trees to replace those that are cut to salvage the environment.

Kobusinge asserts that in order to mitigate the current crisis, the Government and development partners should jointly embark on encouraging people to embrace diversification of alternative energy sources.

Backed by Police, the NFA officials and the district officials have been setting ablaze and confiscating thousands of bags of charcoal worth millions, arresting and forcefully evicting hundreds of charcoal dealers, but the illicit business continues to thrive.

Sam Nyakoojo, a programmes officer at JESE, says they are working with women groups to conserve the environment.

Nyakoojo says they had mobilised over 800 residents to farm savings association groups within their villages with an aim of increasing income at household levels.

“We are working with CARE Uganda to protect the environment by mobilising people to engage in modern and productive agriculture so that they can earn money and improve their household incomes,” Nyakoojo said.

According to the Renewable Energy Policy for Uganda 2007, Toro sub-region, where Kyenjojo district falls, has a concentration of biomass at above 10,000 tonnes per hectare.

The water ministry reported in the National Forest Plan 2011/12 and 2021/22, that within 15 years from 1990, Uganda’s forest cover reduced by approximately 1.3 million hectares.

The report represents an average annual deforestation rate of 1.8%, a trend that implies serious repercussions for sectors such as energy, agriculture, food security and the livelihoods of forest-adjacent communities.

What residents say
Martha Kabazora, resident of Matiri in Kihura sub-county, 
We have been able to fight against the depletion of Matiri central reserve by engaging in activities that preserve the environment, such as using waste materials to make charcoal and planting indigenous trees.

Mary Kobusinge, a resident of Matiri in Kihura sub-county, 
We have benefited a lot from the central reserve by setting up beehives from which we harvest honey and sell. I encouraging all the people who are still engaged in illegal charcoal burning to stop and join us in protecting the trees.            

Janet Kabajulizi, a resident of Matiri in Kihura sub-county,
Ever since the association was formed, we have teamed up to protect the environment. We have been carrying out sensitisation meetings, where we have been asking people to stop degrading the environment. We have also established a savings association, wHere we also save money and borrow amongst our members.

Martha Ayabare, a resident of Rwibale in Butunduzi town council,
With the 10 beehives I set up, I have been able to harvest honey, which I sell to customers in Kampala and earn money. I can now appreciate the benefits of trees. We also go to the forest and harvest papyrus, which we use to make handcrafts and sell as a group.

 

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