JINJA – Absa Bank Uganda has teamed up with the Mwiri Old Boys Association (MOBA) project to restore the school’s tree cover which has diminished over the years owing to the impact of human activity. The school is situated on a hill occupying 560 acres which includes the school premises (60 acres) and 500 acres of forest land.
“Unfortunately, the 500 acres that cover the slopes of the hill on which the school sits were once a forest but have over the years been degraded due to encroachment and other commercial activities, and the extensive presence of termites. Additionally, the replacement of trees that have been harvested for various reasons has not been done effectively, leaving the hill slopes bare and prone to erosion. For this reason, we, the old boys of the school have embarked on this initiative to reforest the hill and restore it to its original green status,” said Michael Bageya (hannington House 1988-94), who is coordinating the reforestation project, from the Mwiri Old Boys Association (MOBA).
The two-phase project was officially rolled out in a tree-planting exercise that was graced by Gen. Katumba Wamala, Minister of Works and Transport as the Chief Guest and brought together members of the school alumni, students, partners and the neighbouring community.
Speaking at the event, Helen Basuuta-Nangonzi the Marketing and Customer Experience Director, from Absa Bank Uganda said the partnership is part of the bank’s actions to support long-term environmental sustainability.
“We are helping to mitigate climate change risk through a focused environmental sustainability programme ensuring that future generations have the natural resources available to live an equal, if not better, way of life as current generations. We are privileged to partner with MOBA on this noble initiative which will address the impact of human activity on tree cover through reafforestation to restore and conserve the environment. Absa will contribute to the success of the project by providing over 30,000 trees indigenous and fruit trees, as well as the support of our staff who have volunteered their time to be part of the various tree planting exercises,” said Basuuta-Nangonzi, Absa Bank Uganda.
According to data from the Ministry of Water and Environment, deforestation remains the major challenge of forestry management which led to a decline of forest cover from 24% in 1990 to 12.4% in 2015. Uganda has an average annual loss of natural forest of 2% per annum, one of the highest in the world.
Under the project, MOBA is working together with the local community on conservation for long-term sustainability. The project will be carried out in phases, in intervals of 100 acres planted for each of the first three rain seasons then the last phase of 200 hundred acres planted at once.