Updated: Apr 28
By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa and Nelly Salvatore
Isingiro, Uganda: As part of World Earth Day activities in Isingiro district, a tree-planting and environmental conservation project was executed at Kabazana Primary School in Nakivale Refugee Settlement.
In collaboration with Oxfam International and other partners, the school planted over 300 trees, marking a significant step towards restoring the area's deteriorating environment. This initiative highlights the importance of environmental conservation, and the need for community involvement in promoting sustainable practices for future generations.
Isingiro is one of the districts in Uganda that has been heavily affected by the climate crisis as the area is associated with environmental disasters such as prolonged droughts, flooding, heavy rainfalls, landslides, and water pollution, among others.
In so doing, Oxfam International in Uganda and Care International Uganda is implementing a 2-year Disaster Risk Management Project with funding from European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) aimed at environmental restoration in the area that is ever-deteriorating.
Oxfam International in partnership with Community Integrated Development Initiative, CIDI, Green Lens International, African Climate Reality Project, Caritas Uganda, and other CSOs took action in Isingiro district to commemorate World Earth Day 2022. The commemoration included week-long activities among them school action and tree planting. The school action and tree planting activities were conducted at Kabazana Primary School, a refuge settlement-based school in Nakivale refugee settlement. The action was aimed at raising awareness and educating the school children on the issue of climate change and how it can be mitigated.
Before the tree planting activity, the pupils engaged in a debate on the motion “Population increase is the main reason for environmental misuse” where they cited issues like bush burning, industrialization, lumbering, tree cutting, scramble for settlement land, encroachment on gazetted areas like national parks among others as main causes of climate change. The students also mentioned that the lack of environmental education amongst the communities contributed to environmental degradation.
Speaking before the pupils, Jackson Muhindo, the Resilience and Climate Change Coordinator at Oxfam in Uganda, urged pupils to be stewards in the restoration of the environment urging them to cascade the message to their parents but also plant trees which will, later on, protect mother earth.
Jackson Muhindo mentioned that Oxfam and Joint Effort to Save the Environment, (JESE) and other partners are having interventions in the area like tree planting, community capacity building, and supporting the Local Government Natural Resources Office in environmental restoration projects.
He points out that, Oxfam supported the school with energy-saving cookstoves in their promotion of clean energy technologies programs to not only save the environment but also to help the school reduce their expenses resulting from the purchase of wood fuel.
Hellen Kasujja, the Deputy Executive Director of Community Integrated Development Initiative, CIDI applauded the Staff and the Environment Committee of the school for their great strides towards conserving the environment and equipping pupils with environmental protection knowledge that will transform the pupils and other generations to come.
Hellen Kasujja called upon pupils to avoid all activities that contribute to the destruction of the environment and encouraged them to involve themselves directly in those that may promote and sustain it.
She noted that the earth is not happy with our human actions and that’s why CIDI has come on board in partnership with Oxfam which already has a presence in the area and other CSOs to devise actions towards restoring the mother earth.
In his maiden message on the day, Amarwe Charles the Headteacher of Kabazana Primary School expressed excitement over Oxfam’s consideration of his school for such a beautiful project of restoring the environment of the school and the surrounding community.
In his speech, the Headteacher mentioned that the pupils formed the Environment Club and that the school has an environment committee. He mentioned that this has helped the pupils to educate their parents and the community on the benefits of conserving the environment as well as the dangers of degrading it.
The Headteacher also testified that the school is now using half a lorry of wood fuel per month as a result of using the institutional energy-saving cookstove donated by Oxfam in Uganda which is a good credit citing how they used to use about six trucks of fuelwood in a month while using traditional three-stone cookstoves.
The trees were planted around the school premises and Oxfam in Uganda and the school management pledged to continuously support environmental restoration projects and move the campaign further in the school and other local communities.