Makerere students move to restore environment

Makerere students plant a tree at Kiboga District headquarters last week. Photo | Noeline Nabukenya.

What you need to know:

  • Prof Sseruyange noted that the participants are students undertaking Environmental Economics course unit and they are putting into practice what they study, as they strive for a greener Uganda

Makerere University students from the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) have donated 800 umbrella tree seedlings in Kiboga District in a bid to restore the environment.

While handing over 800 tree seedlings to Kiboga district officials at the headquarters last week, Prof John Sseruyange, the lecturer who led the students, said they started this programme last year and their intention is to increase Uganda’s forest cover.

“The 1995 statistics indicate that Uganda had only 25 percent of forest cover and this reduced to nine perfect in 2015 which is a big gap to bridge. We therefore encourage students to participate whole-hearted,” Prof John Sseruyange said.

He revealed that the project is student-centred and the college comes in to top up on what students have contributed to buy these tree seedlings.

Prof Sseruyange noted that the participants are students undertaking Environmental Economics course unit and they are putting into practice what they study, as they strive for a greener Uganda.

He said they gave their first seedlings donation last year in Mpigi District.

“If we teach the young generation about the benefits of planting trees, we shall fully restore the formerly depleted forests. We donated more than 700 tree seedlings last year, and now 800 tree seedlings and we hope to donate in parts of Western Uganda next year,” he explained.

With increasing encroachment on gazetted forests and wetlands, various nature-loving/conservation organisations have come up to address the issue as they spread the gospel of conserving biodiversity.  The lecturer said the charity started from the nearby districts due to insufficient funds.

“Having just started the programme, we first considered districts which are near due to transport costs and the logistics,” he said.

Hillary Ainebyoona, the team leader who mobilised students towards this programme said the trees are the lungs of the earth and much effort is needed to preserve and restore the eco-system.

“We need cleaner oxygen for breathing and the only way to achieve this, is through planting trees. If we all spread this to our families and friends, in a few years, there will be some change,” Ainebyoona said.

He called upon other institutions to pick a leaf from and work with Makerere University towards the same cause of restoring the environment.

Ainebyoona noted that each student contributed some money and the college topped up the balance to buy these umbrella trees.

Can Edward Musingye, the Kiboga District chief administrative officer (CAO), encouraged other institutions to emulate Makerere University.

“Thank you for sharing the little upkeep you receive. Don’t stop at this, keep up the spirit and the world will never be the same. Let us keep working together to ensure that this world is a better place to live,” Can Musingye remarked.

Ivan Male, assistant district forest officer, said they are going to distribute the seedlings to different government facilities including schools, public roads, and the health facilities.

“As Kiboga District, we are facing challenges of global warming. There is change in seasons. We find that drought extends into months we expect rainfall. If this is to be continued with in other places, it will help us to curb that gap and help us to restore and regain what we lost,” he said.

Male noted that trees give people life on earth and urged everyone to do the plant at least one tree in their homes and societies they live.

Gloria Chebet, a student at CoBAMS, who was part of the team, hopes to build her career curriculum vitae and as well champion in restoring the environment to mitigate climate change through this programme.

She recalled that it was during class when the lecturer encouraged them to restore forest cover due to the increasing population.