It is well known that women worldwide contribute significantly to conservation, use and management of natural resources. Irrespective of this, their meaningful participation in environmental management decision-making platforms is often overlooked.
Up until the late 1990s, Mount Rwenzori forest suffered significantly due to commercial logging and clearing of the land for tea plantations. Today, encroachment by humans continues to pose a serious threat to the forest. This has led to water shortages, soil erosion and soil degradation
Putting women at the center of restoration and conservation initiatives
The Trees for Livelihoods project seeks to restore Mount Rwenzori forest whilst promoting women’s participation and inclusion in sustainable community development projects. This project is empowering women living around Mount Rwenzori to conserve and protect their environment through planting trees. Through selling seedlings raised in community tree nurseries, women are improving their own economic and social wellbeing.
We engaged the community and the women groups living around the forest to promote community conservation efforts through tree planting. Center for Citizens Conserving Environment & Management engages local communities, particularly women, to identify the challenges they are facing and support them to come up with viable, sustainable and community-owned solutions.
Stories from the field
Thanks to our supporters, women are not only restoring Mount Rwenzori forest but also generating sustainable incomes to sustain their families.
“I have always wanted to fully participate in community conservation initiatives but for years I never had the chance. I now take care of our community fruit tree demonstration site with about 10 trees. I also provide,” says Mama Annet Muhindo, a beneficiary of the project and a member of Mahango Women Group. “In my community, more people have joined our Community Forest Association and we are establishing avocado fruit nurseries. I feel now that I will be able to make more money to sustain my family.”
Through this project, opportunities are being created for women to play a significant role in sustainable community development projects.
“I now know different indigenous tree species and their importance and I can comfortably train other community members, thanks to the CECIC/Trees4all project,” says Walemba Janet, a project beneficiary who is now a Community Conservation Accelerator promoting tree planting and agroforestry in her community.
Understanding and appreciating the value of and the ways in which women protect the environment is crucial to the success of land restoration projects. That is why gender inclusivity and empowerment is a key part of Centre for Citizens Conserving Environment & Mgt’s work.