About Us

About the Greening Uganda Group

Project Greening Uganda is set up to reforest parts of Uganda on a large scale as this has multiple social and ecological benefits: it helps in food production, fights the effects of global warming because trees help fight droughts, avoid flooding during heavy rainfall and cool areas where there are a lot of trees, while securing atmospheric carbon in new biomass. It can also provide charcoal for cooking without touching old growth trees which are vital to protect local wildlife like gorilla’s and chimpanzees, to name just two famous species. The forests where these beautiful creatures live are a five hour drive away over very wobbly dirt roads at speed of maximum twenty kilometer per hour.

The set-up is simple, with little investment a million tree saplings are grown from seeds and irrigated till they can be planted in assigned areas. Local communities are involved in the planning and assignment of locations for planting. Local labor, mainly women make a small living out of helping during the nursery stage of the saplings. This phase can be carries out for about 15 Ugandan shilling (UGX) or about 0,37 eurocents per sapling. Schools and volunteers are involved in the planting phase (the rainy season, normally from half September to half December, which can be done for about 50 UGX or approximately 1,1 eurocent per tree including all costs for tools, transport, supervision etc.

Vision

Vision and Objectives of the Greening Uganda Group:
● to plant 1 million trees 2017-2019.
● to increase food production, improve local economy and nutrition
● to protect the environment and
● to create awareness of good usage of swampy areas
● to make a contribution to reduce global climate change
● to scale this up to 10 – 100 – 1000 million trees if possible

Sub-counties of operations:
● Nyarushanje
● Bugangari
● Nyakishenyi
● Buyanja

Steps towards the goal:
● by close of 2017 we had planted 130,000 trees
● currently, in 2018, up to March 15, we have planted 38,000 trees for a running total of 168,000 trees. Our plan is 380.000 trees in 2018.
● in 2019, we want to reach the goal of 1.000.000 trees and do the preparations for upscaling the project.

The pilot project near the village of Kigezi is under way and is aiming at planting one million trees in 2017 from seedlings that have already been grown in a nursery. The planting area is in Rukungiri District, Rubabo county in the area around the village of Kigezi. I have so far earmarked an estimated thousand acres. Communities that have been approached by Greening Uganda, have all accepted the invitation to replant areas. We have also included schools and churches. Many schools have  many utilized land in the back yards and school compound  and churches as well.
All areas subscripted will cover about 60% of the available seedlings or 600.000 seedlings Transplanting will be done between October and November. By end of rains in December we expect to have planted these 1000 acres.
Short timeline:
September: start pitting and measuring, trees are planted in lines  and normally measurements is in plots of 8×10 feet.
October-November: planting seedlings with help of volunteers and school pupils.
All planting will be supervised by the project manager. We will need to hire a truck to transport the seedlings and buy some basic material like big buckets and spades for the planting effort. Since the work is basically done by volunteers, the cost required for the whole process of transplanting is an estimated $ 7000 including some paid worker (See budget)
The Pilot Project of Kigezi is currently nearing the planting stage but has ran out of funds to finalize the planting. A sum of 50 million UGX or 11.750 Euro will be needed as well as additional funds to set up a second project for the next million trees. Seed money for this project is 15 million UGX or 3.500 Euro.

It starts with small trees and a small impulse to the local economy in hiring truck and some local labor. Currently we have 10 people in paid service to water the seedlings daily. Involving the volunteers and students will help raise awareness on the issue and we hope it will provoke discussions with the local men who do illegal logging. We also hope that it will increase a sense of community and a sense of empowerment that things can be done to stop environmental degradation. But the positive effects will become exponential. Over a period of 5-7 years the trees will get to a healthy height and start producing the first fruits for consumption and possibly sales. About 10% of the trees planted produce fruits. This will improve local diets and possibly bring in some first income from picking and selling the trees. The trees will start their healthy effect on the environment in terms of better water management and protection against heat and wind. The forests will give new habitat for birds, insects, reptiles and mammals, increasing the bio diversity of the area.

Over time the trees wil sequester atmospheric carbon through creation of new biomass. As a rule of thumb a tree over a lifespan of 40 years can take about 25 kg of CO2out of the air (conservative estimates), meaning 1 tonne of CO2 over its lifespan. A forest with a million trees would sequestrate therefore 1 million tonnes of carbon over this lifespan. More effective methods are available depending on tree species mix and maintenance principles. This would deliver 5 million euros of carbon credit over this period based on current very low European Carbon Credit market prices.

Other direct economic benefits of the newly grown forest: supply of fruits, spices, honey and timber, possibly the material to new local industries like making furniture, weaving baskets etc.

The next phase will be to roll out two additional programs based on a project planning developed under the pilot project which includes assembling a project team, timeline, methods, bringing communities and schools into the project. The total project timeline is 1 year from start to planting the trees. Every management team of a project then starts working on two nearby new projects forming two new management teams. This way in the tenth year we can 2 to the power of 10 = half a billion trees. At 1000 trees per hectare, this would mean new forest on half a million hectares or 5000 km2.

Atwongyeire Joseph tells us about local support:

Local leaders have helped me to advance to the current level.
After visiting my work they recommended that I should be fully registered as an organization, which has been done. The certificate and constitution of Greening Uganda Group can be seen in the Archive section of this website.

Other important support I got in schools. They allow me to talk to the young ones. I realised that the message of tree planting can also be taught to the young ones and they can grow up knowing the same about the environment as I do.

We have have up to 80 volunteers but I can’t take this for granted at all times and in all places where we want to plant. If you don’t have people on ground, you can’t do much.

Sometimes an individual was giving us a truck for free but we cannot take this for granted also. Example costs per day are 135,000 sh for the truck and 65,000 sh for the fuel. We will try to get the funding for a truck owned by the project.

The project got tremendous support from friends abroad, these include Benjamin, Rob, Hans, David and many others. Some of this support is visible on the crowdfunding platforms Generosity, Doneeractie, and Gofundme. Also, this website would not have been possible without them.

Joseph is looking for expertise to include new elements to the second project. He needs expertise on permaculture principles, which he wants to include in the next round projects providing more sustainable food on an ongoing basis as well as ways to improve the soil, bury carbon in the soil. He wants to include elements of sustainable energy like solar cooking, solar and wind driven local energy and he wants to include the projects into local education curriculums to increase local food production for local consumption, education on ecology and restoring and maintaining forests in a sustainable way. Lastly he wants the projects to create income for the locals through carbon credits, create income through careful sustainable logging of valuable woods for timber and furniture and produce biofuels by adding sugar palms to the forest mix to be tapped later as well as include medical plants and trees into the forest mix. He can use all the help he can get, so please email him if you have skills to offer to Greening Uganda!

Joseph is a 34 year old Ugandan who was very worried by the local deforestation and illegal logging and how this was affecting his area and decided to do something about it. He was also extremely worried about global warming of which he read more and more and decided he wanted to do his part to protect the planet against the destructive impact of humans. Joseph is an eco-warrior, a concerned citizen and a global citizen. He built tree seedling nursery and started with collected seeds with his goal to plant a million trees locally. His enthusiasm brought him to get schools and villages to appoint grounds to plant the trees and get voluntaries to start helping him in the planting season. Later, he realized both that he lacked planning and funds, but also that he could scale up and replicate his project and reverse deforestation in Uganda. Joseph is a warrior, tough and persistent and he will green Uganda for sure.