A partnership to reforest Uganda
In the Mount Elgon region of Uganda, farmers have raised more than 300,000 tree seedlings. This effort is part of Uganda’s commitment to the Bonn Challenge, which seeks to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested lands by 2020.
Reforestation is an important effort to protect the environment and combat climate change, but it’s also an effort to improve the soil health for farmers and rural communities. Poor soil health is leading to smaller harvests and increased food shortages. It also increases the risk of landslides.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has been working with communities around the world on reforestation efforts, with conservation officers providing training around tree planting, use of soil trenches and mulching.
But how do you reach nearly 1 million villagers, and give them the tools and knowledge to plant more than 300,000 trees? Radio. To scale up their project, IUCN partnered with FRI and Kapchorwa Trinity Radio to produce a participatory radio campaign addressing conservation and tree planting, which was broadcast from January to June 2015. Watch the video to learn more about the impact of this partnership.
“We want these farmers to plant the trees in order to regain the fertility of the land . . . because in this area of ours, we depend on agricultural produce,” said Amangusho Martin, radio presenter with Kapchorwa Trinity Radio.
More than 980,000 people in 89 villages could tune in to My Land My Wealth, which aired every Wednesday from 8:00 p.m to 9:00 p.m, with a re-broadcast airing on Saturdays from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Farmers who couldn’t tune in with their radios were provided the information in a different way: radio boda boda. Each week a project officer visited Sanzara and Reberewo on a boda boda (motorcycle). The villagers would gather to tune in. This was also an opportunity to ask question and share experiences, which were recorded and shared over the airwaves, ensuring a participatory program.
“We have been able to provide the platform for people to share their lessons, to share their challenges, to have their questions answered by experts. Through those questions and through those lessons, they have been empowered,” said Sophie Kutegeka, senior program officer with IUCN.
This campaign filled a knowledge gap, providing specific information on the important role of trees for the community and environment. The program also started a dialogue between farmers and conservation workers, increasing farmers’ confidence in the advice they were receiving. By the end of the campaign, 90% of farmers who tuned in tried one of the practices they learned about on air.
Learn more about the “Radio and ICT to Promote Forest Landscape” project.