Reforest native trees, empower women healers

by Wild Forests and Fauna
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Reforest native trees, empower women healers
Women caring for future trees
Women caring for future trees

Greetings from Northern Uganda, where the seasons are changing from harvest-time to dry season. During the coming months, the people of Northern Uganda will be taking a break from their farmlands, as harvest time is coming to a close. 

 But this doesn’t mean it's time to be idle. Our team in Northern Uganda are still following up with farmers to make sure the trees we’ve planted are growing well. Meetings with communities are going on, to discuss how farmers have seen their farmlands more abundant by the trees we’ve planted with them, what we could do differently, and what our plan for the following year is. 

 Our team is hard at work prepping a work plan for the coming year. We’ve been discussing a lot of new ideas that we’re excited about. We’ve been planting trees with about 1,000 farmers for the past four years; trees that mimic the forests that used to be, trees that restore the soil and make farmlands more productive, trees that provide natural medicine for communities, and trees that provide fruit and other useful nutrients to keep people healthy. Trees, we’ve learned, are integral to not just a healthy landscape, but a healthy community. 

Now, we’re looking forward to ensure that the trees we’ve planted survive well into the future. Our colleague has been working to develop an app for a smart phone that will allow farmers to upload photos of their trees, and from there, provide direct metrics in real time to monitor the trees’ growth. This ‘tree tool’ will allow us to have total transparency in allowing us to see our impact. We know that getting trees into the ground is one thing, but ensuring they grow into mature, healthy trees is another. 

Keep on the lookout next year for photos of the trees we’ve planted with farmers. Together, with your help, we can ensure that we keep these trees alive, keep soils happy and healthy for the communities that depend on them, and do our part to combat climate change on large scale.

From Northern Uganda to you,

The Native Seeds Project team

Farmers gathering during harvest time
Farmers gathering during harvest time
Community members ready to work!
Community members ready to work!
A healthy landscape, thanks to your help
A healthy landscape, thanks to your help
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
NSP staff with farmers and trees planted
NSP staff with farmers and trees planted

Our world seems unhinged these days. The problems that plague our societies are on spotlight, as borders and businesses and ‘normal life’ continue to close down from a pandemic that swept the world away overnight. We’re all pivoting to find a new normal, whether it be our daily routines, our work life, with our family and how we stay connected to friends. 

This pandemic has, in some way, brought us together as a global community. Whether in a bustling city in the US or a village in northern Uganda, we’re all facing a similar reality: how do we keep our families safe and our children fed? How do we protect our grandmothers from a virus that may disproportionately affect them? 

But even in a drastically changed world, the work continues. We’ve been asked to look at what is essential. The Native Seeds Project has always believed that our work is essential. We’ve always looked to the future: how will we ensure the longevity of soil fertility to make sure communities can continue to grow their own food, and have abundant harvests? How do we bring back tree cover to ensure microclimates that boost crop productivity and ensure long-term, sustainable food security amidst growing climate change concerns? 

We’re happy to say that even in the midst of a global pandemic, our resolve in the importance of our work remains unchanged. We are essential. Our work is essential. As people lose jobs and the economic fallout of the pandemic becomes more certain the world over, our commitment to food security and restored forests with ample biodiversity has never seemed more important. 

So, even in a drastically changed world, the work continues. Uganda has enforced a very strict lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus, namely because the government understood that their healthcare system does not have the capacity to deal with a pandemic. That lockdown meant the temporary halting of our activities, but as the lockdown eases up, our colleagues are slowly getting back to work. 

We work closely with 1,000 farmers to restore tree cover and to diversify farming systems, all to make their croplands more resilient and more abundant. We established the first native tree nursery in the region, and continue to be a beacon of native tree restoration in the region. When we first started our work, people raised their eyebrows at us: why native tree species? What do they do? Five years later, we have organizations and even local government departments coming to us for recommendations on their own native tree restoration and agroforestry projects. Why? Because native tree cover is essential to healthy ecosystems. And healthy ecosystems are essential to food security. And food security is essential to the livelihood and the health of local communities. For today’s generation and tomorrow’s. 

We know there’s a lot of problems in the world right now. It can be hard to sift through which ones most need our support. Sometimes all we can do is put a bandaid on a problem rather than finding the surgeon that can remediate the root issue. We want to let you know that in this metaphor, our project is a well-trained surgeon. We don’t put bandaids on the problem of food insecurity by running food banks or handing out GMO seeds. We look at the entire system–for us, the ecosystem–to see how we can address the root cause of ecosystem loss and inconsistent rain fall–and do the surgery necessary to restore the land back to its optimal functioning. For the human communities that live on it, and the biological communities that comprise it. 

This is how we change the world for the better. We hope you’ll continue to support our work, as we continue to plant trees to restore forests and to restore communities’ holistic livelihood. Our Ugandan farmers have never needed your help more than they do right now. 

From our land to yours,

The Native Seeds Project team

Adding trees to croplands
Adding trees to croplands
working with community members
working with community members
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

It's wonderful to imagine a forest where there was no forest before.  To see that dream become a reality is a process that provides profound secondary benefits of personal satisfaction and learning.  Planting a forest is something a human being can do in a lifetime.  Or half a lifetime.  Or in a few years.  It's a beautiful path and one that is more accessible than you might think.  Planting trees where trees are needed is a proud feat, a reason to hold one's head high.

And as such we celebrate today a group of people who saw it worthy of their attention, attractive to their pragmatism, and needing of their action to plant the trees back into a landscape denuded of forest cover. 

You see, Northern Uganda used to possess an incredible mosaic of forest, savannah, farm, and pasture. Grazing areas, wild hunting grounds, rivers lined by monkey-dangled riparian thickets, fruit trees and wild fruit trees, agroforestry systems that are similar to ones that were here thousands of years ago, when millet cultivation and diversification became high arts amidst the emergence of Bantu movement influence from the south that imposed sorghum and new languages. 

More recently, in the last two centuries land usage patterns have changed dramatically in Uganda.  The mosaic landscape described above is still there, just in a damaged, degraded state.  By some calculations, Uganda has lost 80% of the forest cover it once had.  And most of this loss has happened in the last 50 years.  Violent conflict into the 00's saw the army burning down forests thought to shelter rebels.  Today, over a million South Sudanese refugees from just across the border forage for firewood in some of the few remaining forest stands, found adjacent to the semi-permanent refugee settlements.   

In the language most spoken in Northern Ugandan, Acholi-Luo, a Nilotic and a tonal language, the word for tree is the same as the word for medicine.  This fact is not lost on the region's many traditional healers, who implement their profound herbalist knowledge in service of the health of over 60% of Ugandans – the percentage of the population that reports lack of access to modern health care facilities, and whose principal healthcare recourse is with medicine men and women.  The loss of forests has resulted in a direct loss of healthcare resources, and at a time when the region is just recovering from violent conflict. 

The Wise Women of Uganda raised the flag of reforestation over 5 years ago, and since then have produced hundreds of thousands of native tree seedlings in their nurseries, planting trees in refugee settlements as well as on the lands of smallholder farmers in Northern Uganda.  This year the Wise Women, in collaboration with Wild Forests and Fauna, have completed the latest annual tree planting campaign with our widening farmer network, reaching more villages, more villagers, and planting more species than before. The images attach share some highlights directly from the field. 

Each time we update our amazing support base via GlobalGiving, we have been so thrilled to see your response and support of the extraordinary work being carried out by the Wise Women.  Now we're asking your help to organize for a new challenge.  As climate change and deforestation continue to present series challenges to Uganda's farmers, we have recently been astonished at the appearance of a new scourge – locusts that are now ravaging Northern Uganda.  We are asking your support at this time to purchase additional protective netting to isolate the tree nurseries from the devastating presence of these Biblical insects.  We know it sounds too crazy to be true, but it's true.

In the spirit of hope and of rebuilding lost forests,

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Our farmers with their growing trees
Our farmers with their growing trees

Climate week is this week, and it couldn't have come at a more auspicious time. We've seen our Earth up in flames over the past few months, as if the Earth is speaking to us the only way she knows how, urging us to take action to protect our planet if we want to continue to inhabit it. It started with the ferocious fires in the Amazon, but happening congruently are the fires in the Congo Basin in central Africa. 

Greta Thunberg, the 16 year-old climate crisis activist, has taken the world by storm by saying unapologetically what most people are shy at admitting: what we face is not just climate change, it is climate crisis. We are living amidst the fifth mass extinction occuring on the planet we inhabit. The last mass extinction was during the reign of dinosaurs, and the extinction was largely caused by an asteroid. This time, the asteroid is us: our species has taken for granted the delicate balance of ecosystems that keeps us, and everything around us, living. 

But, Greta Thunberg, as well as many climate scientists, and the thousands of people that are doing small-in-scope but massive-in-impact eco-restoration projects, are firm in the conviction that while yes, what we are facing is a crisis and we must stop sugar-coating that fact, we also have a chance to save what we have. 

That's where our work comes in. Study after study shows that our best weapon in the fight against the climate crisis is not some high-tech technology. Rather, it is the support of advancing what nature does best: growing and regenerating itself. One way we can do this is the planting of trees in a way that mimics the natural growth of ecosystems. 

For us, this is not new. In northern Uganda, we have been at the forefront of planting trees to mimic the natural Ugandan landscape: giving the ecosystem a little boost to restore itself. We were planting native trees at a time when it wasn't yet 'cool,' and before it was common knowledge that native tree species has more of an impact in guaranteeing crop harvests and soil restoration and the creation of microclimates that ensure rain fall. We're happy that this low-tech, high-impact solution is consider 'cool' now, and that farmers and organizations and governments alike are all hopping on board to utilize agroforestry, biomimicry and 'smart reforestation' to give our earth a chance. 

And as for us? We will never stop in our mission to spread the ecosystem-saving solutions that agroforestry, agroecology and tree planting provides to landcspes across the globe. 

Our team on the ground in Uganda continues to conduct climate change adaptation programs to the people affected the most by the climate crisis: small scale farmers that depend on the land they till for their livelihood and the wellbeing of their villages. Our team on the ground continues to distribute important tree seedlings to farmers throughout the region, while providing important follow-up to ensure those trees are growing happily and healthily in their new homes. Our team on the ground continues to preach what we believe is a worthy gospel: our Earth is the only home we have, and we must restore it to ensure that the millions of species, including our own, can continue to exist. 

So, this climate week, we encourage you to do everything in your power to take the climate crisis seriously, and to take the necessary steps to live a sustainable and regenerative life. 

Agroforestry and tree planting in the tropics is our most powerful tool to mitigate the climate crisis. Support us, and small organizations like us, to make croplands more resilient, and give the power back to the smallscale farmers that are doing the gruntwork of keeping our planet healthy. 

With love from Northern Uganda to you,

The Native Seeds Project

Agroforestry in Action - African Mahogany
Agroforestry in Action - African Mahogany
Farmers cropland with 2-yearold trees
Farmers cropland with 2-yearold trees
Adding local trees to the landscape
Adding local trees to the landscape
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Time to Plant!
Time to Plant!

The rainy season has arrived in northern Uganda; that means it’s time to plant!

 

 

The Native Seeds project staff have been busy prepping seedlings, training farmers, and getting those seedlings out to farmers. 

 

So far this year we’ve already distributed tree seedlings in 17 villages, including villages from a new sub-county we’ve recently expanded to: Unyama. Unyama neighbors Bungatira sub-county where most of our work has been, and we’re excited to grow our seedling planting footprint in the area!

 

Training this year is focused on two primary areas:

 

1. Climate change adaptation trainings

2. Tree care and management trainings

 

We’ve added 900 new farmers to our program this year, most of which have already received their training and have received their first round of seedlings. We’ve already distributed 30,000 seedlings to farmers, and we plan on getting 70,000 more over the coming months!

 

 

The need for this work is only increasing as recent reports show 45 million people across Africa are set to face detrimental food insecurity soon due to years of compounding droughts in many areas while other areas have faced massive flooding…both of which are the result of climate change. This goes to show the impact programs like Native seeds that focus on climate change mitigation and landscape restoration in Africa have never been more important. 

Working with the Farmers
Working with the Farmers
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Wild Forests and Fauna

Location: Carnation, WA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @WildForestFauna
Project Leader:
Georgia Beasley
Seattle, WA United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

Still want to help?

Support another project run by Wild Forests and Fauna that needs your help, such as:

Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.