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More Women Planting Trees in Uganda–Center for Forestry Research

Esther Mwangi, the Principle Scientist of the Nairobi based CIFOR, says women in Rakia, Masaka and Mpigi districts are contributing greatly in tree planting and restoring the degraded environment resulting from illegal logging and farming.
world Agro Forestry centre in Nairobi

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More women in Uganda are involved in tree planting as significant strides are being made towards gender equality, according to the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). 

Esther Mwangi, the Principle Scientist of the Nairobi based CIFOR, says women in Rakia, Masaka and Mpigi districts are contributing greatly in tree planting and restoring the degraded environment resulting from illegal logging and farming.

 

She attributes this to massive sensitization and funding through the Austrian Development Agency- ADA. Mwangi says through the Adaptive Collaborative Management, the skills of women and their confidence were built, which has encouraged many women to get involved in tree planting.

 

She also says men were also sensitized and encouraged to work with women in tree planting whether for commercial or subsistence production. Mwangi told URN in an interview that in her five year work in Uganda, it was realized that women couldn't plant trees especially in rural arrears because that is considered as establishing a claim and ownership over the land and a challenge to the man's role.

 

She also said in some cases women couldn't plant some tree species such as ficus, which symbolizes land ownership. Mwangi however, says they embarked on sensitizing both men and women following the findings to ensure that more work is done to conserve the environment and restore degraded land.

She explains that women own 8500 trees mostly eucalyptus out of the 50,000 trees that have been planted on over 80 acres of land resulting from their intervention. While another 20,000 tree were planted jointly by men and women. According to Mwangi, this is better compared to the past when men dominated tree planting.

She says 51 of the 167 involved in the campaign have planted ficus trees, which was initially considered a taboo.

 

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Mwangi also notes the number of women in leadership level of forest communities increased from 2 women out of 18 executives to 36 women out of 67 executives.  She however, notes that although there are several gender and policy reforms in Uganda, the land tenure is still generally insecure for women, adding that more needs to be done.

 

Mwangi disclosed this while facilitating a journalist's training on gender and land rights in the context of restoration at the World Agro forestry center in Nairobi. Her presentation comes at the backdrop of the Global Landscape Forum and African Forest Landscape Restoration 100 conference in Nairobi, Kenya on landscape and restoration. 

The Afri100 is a commitment by 26 African countries including Uganda to restore 100million hectares of degraded land. Uganda committed to restore 2.5 m hectares by 2030.