Our long-term tree planting programme in Northern Uganda transforms the environment, the local community and the lives of ex-child soldiers by empowering them to become agents of change.

For lasting change,
a tree-planting programme must be:

  • embedded in the local community
  • championed by local people
  • integral to the local economy

In Uganda, there is an urgent need for more trees. Natural forests are being cleared at an alarming rate. Large areas which were covered in trees 10 years ago are now almost completely denuded. Poor land management, slash-and-burn farming practices and the cutting down of trees for building or making charcoal, are decimating the ecosystem of the area.

Over time, we have seen several tree-planting programmes introduced locally, however after one or two years, almost every tree has died. Organisers become disheartened and the programmes come to nothing, leaving the rural poor no better off than they were before.

Amounts of carbon removed from the atmosphere throughout a tree’s life

Like the rehabilitation of ex-child soldiers, planting trees has to be long-term

When it comes to reducing carbon dioxide levels, we can see from the diagram above that to nurture just one tree to maturity can remove more carbon from the atmosphere than planting a hundred saplings that do not survive the first few years. It is essential, therefore, that local people understand the importance of trees.

The ex-child soldiers that have trained with us know how to protect tender saplings from drought and over-grazing so that they reach their full stature. They are also proving this knowledge on their own land and many new, healthy fruit trees are testimony to their success.

They are the ones who are best placed to take this valuable knowledge
out into the wider community. This means that not only do trees have the best chance of surviving to adulthood, but our trainees also become known for their farming expertise and not for the stigmatisation resulting from their past experiences as ex-child soldiers. A double transformation!

To find out more about this scheme, please download the leaflet here.

Or contact Fiona for more information about the process or David for more information about the trees!