Rachel Wangwa is a young woman in the Mbale region of Uganda who is benefitting from the tree planting projects in the area. Lowri Jenkins, who previously worked with Size of Wales as the charities campaign manager writes about her time with Rachel upon visiting the 10 million trees project.
“Meeting Rachel Wangwa was quite inspiring. She is a young mother, with very little to her name, and yet she is happy in her world. She is a member of the Bumalema Women’s Group; a group supported by the 10 Million Trees project in Mbale, Uganda, backed by Size of Wales and the Welsh Government. Being a member of the group has improved her livelihood, providing her with trees to shade and improve her crops, as well as setting up a savings and loan scheme.”
“I grow groundnuts, cassava, maize and bananas here in my garden (like a small-holding – a plot of land for farming). Trees have helped my crops; the crops need shade so they are not scorched, so they do not dry up due to excess sun heat. Since planting trees, both to mark boundaries and to shade my crops I see the benefit as the shade improves my crops which improves my food security. I don’t sell my crops, but keep them as food for my family as I only have a small garden. When I do have more crops, I can sell some so I can buy paraffin.”
“I like to tend my crops. It’s not hard for me to work in my garden with my baby – she is still the age where she comes with me (on a sling on her back)”
“I plan to build a house on my land (see the bricks I have been saving – only use line if have photo of bricks). The trees will provide a wind break to protect my house. In the future the trees will also provide fruit for my family and eventually fuelwood.”
“We started a saving scheme where each person contributed 1,200 shillings (about 30p) and from there it grew by month, by year. We share and lend this money so people can buy plates, chairs and household things. Now we have reached the level of buying goats – we have a male goat in the community for breeding and now the goats we produce are of high quality, both in size and in meat.”
Author: Lowri Jenkins, Previous Size of Wales campaign manager.