This project helps communities at the forest’s edge tap into several sustainable practices to generate income. “Responsible Investment in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation” enables people around a Ugandan forest reserve to plant trees, cultivate aloe vera, and keep bees, among other activities. The initiative promotes reforestation while providing economic benefits for locals.
More than 1 million trees planted
10,000 aloe plants cultivated
100 modern beehives established
In Uganda, one of the main drivers of climate change is a growing population that is cutting down trees to burn for fuel. Deforestation affects biodiversity and watersheds. This in turn drives species toward extinction, and reduces the quality and quantity of freshwater in rivers.
This project provides “start-up capital” in the form of seeds, training, and equipment for communities living at the edge of the Rwoho Forest Reserve to replant areas that have been degraded or cut down. It has also helped communities there cultivate the medicinal plant aloe vera, and keep honey-producing bees for products to sell on the market. In addition, the initiative has installed 15 large-scale, institutional solar lighting systems in schools, and 300 solar lighting systems in households. It also includes components of fuel-saving stoves and water preservation.
Helping the planet
People around the forest reserve are not only using less of the wood to burn for lighting and cooking, they are actually planting trees to help the forest regenerate. Reforestation, aside from reducing emissions known to cause climate change, contributes to healthier watersheds. Aloe vera cultivation and bee-keeping are relatively low-impact forms of agriculture, which preserves natural resources such as land and water. Since Rwoho Forest includes species that cannot be found in other Uganda reserves, restoration of the forest also helps preserve biodiversity.
Communities at the edge of the forest have been able to make money through the sale of carbon credits, honey, and mature trees. Daily income in project households has grown from fifty cents to three US dollars. Altogether, the efforts have increased their quality of life.
The projects are organized as cooperatives, requiring them to “sow” a percentage of their earnings back into the project, allowing it to grow. Communities along the edge of Rwoho Forest present the same socioeconomic characteristics of other forest-edge communities in the more than 700 other areas in Uganda, giving this project high potential for replication. That the project uses indigenous, locally available materials and technologies also makes it easy to repeat in other contexts.
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