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Green Lens Uganda and Partners Celebrate World Environment Day 2024

Participants pose with tree tags during world environment day celebrations at Explorer Ranch in Bwerenga
Participants pose with tree tags during world environment day celebrations at Explorer Ranch in Bwerenga

On June 5th, 2024, World Environment Day was celebrated globally under the theme "Accelerating Land Restoration, Drought Resilience, and Desertification Progress." This theme emphasized the urgent need to rejuvenate our landscapes and combat climate change. In Uganda, different organizations and individuals joined forces with the Kenneth Kakuru Tree Planting Initiative, Roofings Forever Forestry, Greenwatch Uganda, Vivo Energy Uganda, and other dedicated partners, to mark this significant day with a tree-planting activity.


Uganda's environment faces significant threats from various human activities, including deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, illegal logging, and wetland degradation. These activities contribute to desertification, soil erosion, and loss of biodiversity, exacerbating the impacts of climate change. Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach, including enforcing environmental protection laws, public awareness campaigns, and community engagement in sustainable practices.


Trees play a crucial role in our ecosystem, providing shade, enhancing the beauty of our surroundings, and significantly curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The specific focus of this event was on planting indigenous tree species of East Africa, each with unique medicinal properties that benefit local communities. Mugavu (Albizia coriaria) is known for its use in traditional medicine to treat wounds, fever, and digestive disorders. Muvule (Milicia excelsa) is renowned for its durable timber, and its bark is used to treat coughs and chest infections. Musizi (Maesopsis eminii) is valued for its fast growth and is used to treat malaria and other fevers. Musambya (Markhamia lutea) is notable for its beautiful yellow flowers and its utility in treating respiratory ailments and skin infections.


Tree sapling
A Mugavu (Albizia coriaria) sapling, provided by the National Tree Seed Centre, ready for planting.

The event was organized by the Kenneth Kakuru Afforestation and Reafforestation Initiative, a leading organization dedicated to increasing forest cover and promoting sustainable practices. Their commitment to environmental conservation is evident through their numerous initiatives aimed at reforestation and afforestation. Joining hands with Kenneth Kakuru’s initiative was the Forestry Association Makerere University (FAMU), a dynamic team of forestry students whose expertise in tree planting was invaluable. They not only participated in the physical planting of trees but also provided educational insights into the ecological benefits of the species being planted. Their involvement symbolizes a promising future, where the younger generation is actively engaged in environmental conservation.



The event was further supported by several corporate and community partners. Val Okecho, Head of Corporate and Communications at Vivo Energy, expressed the company’s commitment to sustainability through their corporate social responsibility strategy, "People, Partnerships, and the Planet." Selemani Construction contributed resources and manpower, while Roofings Forever Forestry and the Namanve National Tree Seed Center provided all the seedlings.


Val Okecho, Head of Corporate and Communications at Vivo Energy Uganda speaking at World Environment Day 2024
Val Okecho, Head of Corporate and Communications at Vivo Energy Uganda, addressing the audience at World Environment Day 2024.

Greenwatch Uganda, renowned for its environmental advocacy and public interest litigation efforts, emphasized the crucial role of legal frameworks in conservation. Speaking at the event, Mahad Baryamujura, Legal Project Officer at Greenwatch, highlighted the deep connection between the Kenneth Kakuru Tree Planting Initiative and Greenwatch. He reflected on how the late Hon. Justice Kenneth Kakuru, who founded Greenwatch in 1995, laid the groundwork for the organization's enduring commitment to environmental protection. Baryamujura underscored the importance of honoring Justice Kakuru’s legacy, especially on World Environment Day, by continuing to champion the causes he dedicated his life to.


Greenwatch staff planting a tree during the World Environment Day event.

Kamukama Rita Lourdes, Marketing Manager at Blue Crane Communications, stated, "BCC always supports community development activities and environmental initiatives like these. We have incorporated sustainable ways of protecting the environment, such as running our fiber internet cables underground to reduce the need for poles while connecting internet in communities." Nelson Byanyima, the founder of Green Lens International, emphasized, "Green Lens partners in such initiatives to document stories like these so that other companies, organizations, or individuals can replicate the same."


Kamukama Rita Lourdes, Marketing Manager at Blue Crane Communications, addressing the audience at World Environment Day 2024.
Kamukama Rita Lourdes, Marketing Manager at Blue Crane Communications, addressing the audience at World Environment Day 2024.

The event was graced by the presence of beauty queens from the Buganda Kingdom and Heritage Board: Miss Environment Parvin Noeline Nantumbwe 2024-2025 and Miss Tourism Kesha Ruth Namale 2024-2025. Their participation highlighted the concept of "beauty with a purpose," as they used their platforms to amplify the message of sustainability to a broader audience. Their involvement drew significant attention to the cause, demonstrating how diverse segments of society can unite for environmental conservation.


From left to right: Miss Tourism Kesha Ruth Namale 2024-2025, Mariam, Miss Tourism Buddu, and Miss Environment Parvin Noeline Nantumbwe 2024-2025 prepare a tree sapling before planting
From left to right: Miss Tourism Kesha Ruth Namale 2024-2025, Mariam, Miss Tourism Buddu, and Miss Environment Parvin Noeline Nantumbwe 2024-2025 prepare a tree sapling before planting

Explorer Ranch, located along the showers of Lake Victoria in Bwerenga, Entebbe provided the perfect ground for this environmentally significant event. The natural beauty of the ranch demonstrates the importance of connecting with nature and makes it an ideal venue for an event focused on restoring and preserving the environment.

This event was more than just a tree-planting event; it was a celebration of collective effort toward a sustainable future. The involvement of various stakeholders—from committed individuals and academic groups to corporate entities and media partners—highlighted the power of collaboration in driving environmental conservation.

The event concluded with a certificate awarding ceremony for partnering organizations. The certificates were presented by Mrs. Rose Kakuru Ikiriza Ngabo, Director of The Kenneth Kakuru Tree Planting Initiative.


Reagan Ashaba poses for a picture after receiving a certificate of participation for Green Lens International.
Reagan Ashaba poses for a picture after receiving a certificate of participation for Green Lens International.

As we reflect on the success of this event, it is clear that the future of our planet relies on continued efforts like these. By planting trees, especially indigenous species with medicinal and ecological value, we take significant steps towards mitigating climate change, preserving biodiversity, and promoting the health and well-being of our communities.

Let this celebration of World Environment Day inspire us all to take action, no matter how small, towards a greener, more sustainable world.


View more pictures from the event here



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