Indigenous Tree Planting & Forest Conservation Project in Northern Uganda
Dear Friends of CAFWA
Exciting news! After close to a year of post-production we have managed to finish our video telling the story of the plight of women and girls in Northern Uganda and how CAFWA is working hand-in-hand with many of them to rebuild after decades of conflict. Christopher Jenkins has done an amazing job shepherding this project and we owe him a huge round of appreciation. A big thank you also goes to Oprah Winfrey for doing the voice over in the film- very nice for CAFWA to have that added presence.
All in all our work continues well in Northern Uganda. Our programs now involve 1400 women, working in micro-financing, agricultural support work, natural resource management and adult literacy. The need is enormous and we could easily double the number of women and girls we work with if more funding became available. Therefore, we need your help. All of our funding comes from private donors like you, as well as foundations, so obviously money is critical. Yet we also need your help to get this video out to as many people as possible to tell this important story. Without you we couldn’t do what we do so please forward this link to the video to your friends, family and others who could offer support. (CLICK ON PHOTO BELOW TO WATCH VIDEO)
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TFG is proud to have a partnership with the Community Action for FundWomen in Africa (CAFWA). CAFWA works in northern Uganda with vulnerable women and girls, mostly in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps outside of Gulu. Many of the vulnerable women and girls CAFWA works with are girl-mothers; girls and women who were formerly abducted; widows, women and girls with HIV/AIDS; or grandmothers taking care of orphans. CAFWA works with about 700 women and is looking to work with another 500 in the near future. CAFWA implements micro-financing programs, literacy projects, agricultural support, and indigenous and fruit tree-planting projects.
Gulu has been the location of much of the insurgent fighting by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Twenty years of violence in the region has displaced 80% of the population – nearly 2 million people. In doing so, some areas of forests, especially around refugee camps have been devastated. The deforestation has significantly compounded existing social and economic catastrophes. Other forests are still intact, since the conflict prevents many people from entering and using many areas.
CAFWA works closely with various local groups, including the Grassroots Women’s Association for Development (GWAD). In addition to CAFWA, GWAD collaborates with the NGO Forum, Uganda Media Women Association, Forum for Women in Democracy, and the Surface Uganda Forest Authority. Among several GWAD initiatives is an indigenous and fruit tree planting project. Trees are planted by women who own the trees and care for them. Funding goes directly to the purchase of the trees, nursery management supplies and local employment. The tree-planting project is designed to provide livelihoods for local women and prevent soil erosion and flooding while replenishing locally-important resources. The project has provided 5 area schools roughly 1,000 trees each, which are being cared for by new environmental groups. The school tree-planting efforts will create hands-on environmental education programs, as well as economic opportunities once the trees mature. Periodic GWAD and CAFWA field visits monitor progress.
TFG has helped raise small amounts of project funds and is helping CAFWA explore charcoal and cook stove programs to reduce carbon emissions and alleviate further deforestation. TFG Affiliate Chris Jenkins visited the project in March 2009 and TFG Board Member Jeff Metcalfe visits the project in May 2009. A preliminary proposal to explore carbon finance and climate change adaptation funds for CAFWA’s work in Uganda is due in July, 2009.
With the rainy season just about to start, CAFWA is looking at buying seeds within the local community to ensure that farm groups have access to seeds. Most of the women I work with do some sort of farming as well as small businesses/trading. The proceeds from the group farming tend to go back into the group and are used for revolving funds. We only buy local seeds to ensure the women get what they want and to support local farmers.
We also have been doing training in agriculture-related topics, such as intensive vegetable production, storage and goat rearing. We just recently started literacy work as many of the women and girl can’t read or write and they specifically asked for this. CAFWA Africa does this in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and it is open to anyone who wants to attend. At the moment we have one class going but are starting 3 more classes in some of the more remote camps.
We are looking to expand the tree-planting program. My vision for the project is loosely-based on greenbelt movement – creating small local nurseries run by the people who will plant and care for the trees. The majority of planting being planned will take place on private property to ensure appropriate care. There are also several new schools which are interested in getting trees, in addition to the five school programs we are operating.
In combination with tree-planting, CAFWA and TFG are exploring production from agricultural waste material and firewood saving stoves. This is something the women’s groups expressed an interest in, and it fits well with the tree-planting and tree nursery initiative. The technology is there and we know how to improve cooking systems, we just need funding to conduct workshops and provide the necessary materials.
Our most pressing need is to get a borehole at the tree nursery site. We had a water source but it unexpectedly went dry. The borehole would cost roughly $14,000 and would benefit the nursery and the local community, with 400 people living in the area. Eventually I would like to help local groups build a classroom which could also be used to invite people for short workshops on tree planting/charcoal/wood saving stoves.
What we need right now is:
* Money to drill a borehole
* Solar panels to run a small office
* 2 computers and 1 printer
* Educational material for basic nursery training
Project Wish List
• Money to drill a borehole
• Solar panels to run a small office
• 2 computers and 1 printer
• Educational material for basic nursery training
Our most pressing need is to get a borehole at the tree nursery site. We
had a water source but it unexpectedly went dry. The borehole would cost
roughly $14,000 and would benefit the nursery and the local community, with 400 people living in the area. Eventually I would like to help local groups build a classroom which could also be used to invite people for short
workshops on tree planting/charcoal/wood saving stoves.
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