Planting trees with Batwa communities in Bwindi

By Asiimwe Mourine

When it comes to climate action and ecosystem restoration young girls and women all over the world have taken the forefront. Today on International Women’s Day we would like to celebrate one of our climate leaders, Asiimwe Mourine.

Last year 2020, One World Tree Planting obtained a grant from the Belgian Fourth Pillar for Citizen Initiatives for Development Cooperation and the Province of Antwerp to support Asiimwe Mourine – Miss Conservation Kigezi in her Plant a Tree Plant Hope campaign. Please read on to learn more about her story and activities with the Batwa communities – indigenous to the Impenetrable Bwindi Forest in Uganda.

My mission is to plant 10 million indigenous and fruit trees as a remedy against the current climate crisis and help in the restoration of Uganda’s ecosystems through agroforestry practices, Climate-Smart Agriculture, establishment of forest gardens and the creation of new planted forests.

Part of this grant was used to plant 500 trees with Change A Life Bwindi. This is a community based organization in Kanungu, Uganda, which was established to directly link the importance of preserving Bwindi National Park as a source of livelihood for the surrounding Batwa communities through sustainable projects such as tree planting and others.

These 500 trees were distributed to 39 Batwa families and more 1000 seedlings will be planted with them in the forthcoming tree planting season.

To be sure that every tree planted grows, follow up activities are a priority to us.

These are meant to collect feedback from local communities about the growth stages of planted trees, challenges that might be hindering the growth of planted trees, recording number of trees that are growing well, those that may need replacement and where there may be need for changes in the next supply of tree seedlings.

From our yesterday’s visit and interview with the locals, 75% of the trees we gave them to plant are growing well. We collected this data by visiting individual families checking on the trees.

At Plant a Tree Plant Hope, we do this because we don’t simply aim at increasing the number of planted trees whether it has continued to grow or not.

Monitoring their steady growth is key if we are to achieve our set goal of fighting climate change through tree planting for now and for future generation.

The locals also gave a report that the remaining 35% of tree seedlings could not make it to survive saying “soil supporting seedling in the pot had loosen at the time of planting which affected their growth”. This was due to a long distance uncomforting transportation means of seedlings.

In the budget for transportation, we shall hire a pick up van and buy a few durable crates where we shall park the tree seedlings for better transportation.

We resolved the issue of long distance travel by buying tree seedlings from the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation tree nursery bed which is about 20km from the Batwa center.

We requested the Batwa to help in identifying tree seedling species of which they are most interested in of which they mentioned fruit trees like guavas, jackfruit, tomato tree and indigenous species like prunus Africana, Markhamia Lutea, Entandrophragma excelsum, carapa procera, podocarpus latifolius, Polyscias fulva, Ritchiea albersii among others.

We believe that if you plant a tree that you love, then you will be able to care for it because you will enjoy to see it grow.

We visited Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation nursery bed to check and confirm the availability of tree seedling species that suit Batwa’s request for the next supply.

And also scheduled a training on agroforestry, Climate-Smart Agriculture and establishment of food forests with Batwa with the help of an expertise in this field.

More than 1000 indigenous and fruit trees will be delivered and planted with the Batwa under Change A Life Bwindi tutelage and 500 trees will be delivered to Conservation Through Public Health in Buhoma Bwindi totaling up to 2000 we had planned to plant. These will be planted within this forthcoming tree planting season.

Thank you once again for your support

Mourine Asiimwe
Miss conservation Kigezi 2019/20
Organizer: Plant A Tree Plant Hope Campaign

This project is made possible by the Vierde Pijler voor Burgerinitiatieven voor ontwikkelingssamenwerking en de Provincie Antwerpen

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