This article was originally published on www.orderofmalta.int.
The eco-system in northern Uganda is at risk of collapse because of deforestation and climate changes. These phenomena mainly effect the poorest communities in the country, who live in that area and for whom firewood is the main source of energy. Many families depend on wood and charcoal for cooking and washing.
Deforestation has meant that Uganda has lost some two thirds of its forests over the last 25 years, where soil impoverishment and the loss of biodiversity, combined with flooding and prolonged drought, have seriously threatened food security.
To restore forest cover and help to create sustainable livelihood opportunities, Malteser International, the Order of Malta’s international relief agency, with Malteser Austria and in close cooperation with local partners, has promoted various environmental conservation initiatives in northern Uganda.
The goal – for which a fund-raising campaign has been launched – is to restore 90 hectares of forest in the north-western district of Arua and to train groups of young people in forestry and sustainable agriculture. Over 101,000 trees, including fruit trees, have already been planted.
Once called the “pearl of Africa”, Uganda is still suffering the consequences of 20 years of civil war. In the north, moreover, the country is still coping with a massive influx of refugees from neighbouring countries, and especially from South Sudan.
Malteser International has been present in Uganda since 1996.