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Trees

RUKOKI, UGANDA.

Empowering Women and Regenerating Landscapes in the rurrounding villages of the Rwenzori forest, Rukoki, Uganda.

ABOUT THIS PROJECT.

Initially, working with 300 women and girls from four surrounding villages, this initiative integrates a regenerative approach that is not only helping to preserve a vital ecosystem but aims to enhance climate resilience, increase soil fertility, reduce erosion and landslides, and provide food, fuel, and income for the local population.

Partners: Daughters for the Earth and Alpha Women’s Empowerment Initiative (Alpha Women)

About our Partners: Founded in 2009 in Kasese, Uganda, Alpha Women is truly a grassroots non-profit organisation. Their success stems from being part of the community they serve, bringing essential understanding and cultural sensitivity to their work. Alpha Women tackles gender inequality, domestic violence, and early marriage, empowering women to be more self-sufficient and protect and restore their local environment through community-led conservation.

Empowering Women, Restoring Landscapes.

  • Gender Equity: Enhancing the self-sufficiency of women, empowering them to become leaders in the movement to restore our environment. 

  • Forest Restoration: Safeguarding the biodiversity and vital ecosystems that countless species rely on ensuring these natural sanctuaries thrive for future generations. 

  • The Power of Community: By training women in sustainable practices and agroforestry, they not only gain skills to sustain their families but also fosters a community of environmental stewards who will pass on their knowledge and passion.

  • Nature Corridors: Creating these natural pathways are crucial for migrating wildlife and offer a buffer against climate change and extreme weather, protecting wildlife and the communities that call these regions home.

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park.

Incredible natural beauty: The Rwenzori Mountains National Park is a magnificent place, full of natural beauty that takes your breath away. It is located close to the equator and boasts the highest non-volcanic mountains in the world. The area spans from glaciers and snow-capped mountains, down through alpine zones, bamboo and grassland, rainforests and finally African savannah in the valleys. It is home to one of the sources of the River Nile, with high fast-flowing rivers, magnificent waterfalls and lush vegetation making this area incredibly important for biodiversity. 

Restoring this area: Over many years, as communities have made their homes in the lower altitude hills and forest edges much of the land has been converted from forest to farmland. This has put intense pressure on the forests and the vital sanctuary of the many species that call it home. By restoring the land around the park’s edges, we are reducing pressure on the forests and providing more habitat for the species that live there. It's also helping to create Nature corridors between the Rwenzori Mountains and Kibale National Park - essential for migrating wildlife and protecting communities from the impact of climate change and extreme weather events.

OUR WORK IN ACTION.

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Stories from the Field:

Masika Margaret: "In these areas of Uganda it is not traditional for women to own land nor to be the ones who plant trees. Alpha Women are helping train women to protect the forests and plant trees and to teach men that women can lead this work too. We have already planted over 11,000 trees. These trees will reduce the risk of landslides, provide fruit for food and cash crops for our community and provide a way to ensure mothers can keep their girls at school."

Masika Margaret the Chairperson of Alpha Women said of the project:

“In these areas of Uganda it is not traditional for women to own land nor to be the ones who plant trees.  Alpha Women are helping train women to protect the forests and plant trees and to teach men that women can lead this work too.
 
We have already planted over 11000 trees. These trees will reduce the risk of landslides, provide fruit for food and cash crops for our community and provide a way to ensure mothers can keep their girls at school”.
Image by Mika Baumeister

THE SCIENCE:

Burning fossil fuels releases gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, into the atmosphere. These gases trap heat from the sun, leading to the planet's warming and disrupting Earth's systems. Deforestation compounds the problem by releasing carbon stored in forests, preventing further carbon sequestration by forests and impacting the water cycles that provide rain to inland weather systems.

HEATING UP:

February 2023 to January 2024 was the first 12-month period with an average global temperature of 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. This 12-month period was also marked by numerous wildfires and extreme weather events.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND GENDER EQUITY.

Climate change disproportionately affects women due to underlying socioeconomic, political, and legal barriers. Gender-based cultural norms such as gender roles, domestic duties, and family responsibilities can hinder a woman’s ability to react quickly during a natural disaster. These same cultural norms also restrict access and exclude women from climate discussions and decision-making. 

Despite these barriers, women often have innate knowledge and expertise that can play a significant role in land and forest restoration efforts to mitigate climate change's impacts. Furthermore, women's contributions can support their communities in strengthening resilience against disasters and developing strategies to help families adapt to changing circumstances. Evidence shows that including women in decision-making and action planning improves community and climate outcomes. Women have a key role to play in climate solutions. Read more about why we centre women here.

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Globally, women tend to take on more domestic and household-based roles. This means that in times of emergency, women tend to be within the home and may choose to remain there, a factor that directly contributed to 70% of the victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami being women.

(C) WECAN + SAFECO

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(C) Yorenka Tasorentsi Institute.

WHAT WE ARE DOING.

TreeSisters supports communities, biodiversity and entire ecosystems - through this holistic approach, we aim to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Many of our project partners are located in places that experience extreme weather events and natural disasters linked to climate change.

Unfortunately, we are witnessing a concerning trend of more frequent and severe extreme weather events on a global scale, and some of our partners are feeling the effects. Within just six months, the project we support with Aquaverde and the Ashaninka people in Brazil has encountered both forest fires and flooding, endangering local people and threatening restoration efforts. As these extreme events continue to pose a risk, we are responding in the best way we can by listening to the needs of local people and taking an adaptable approach to our funding.

Our partners focus on working with local communities, original nations and indigenous peoples to restore forests and landscapes.

 

Our approach and impacts go far beyond the number of trees in the ground. They intend to rebalance power dynamics, support connections with Nature, empower women and champion the knowledge of those working directly with the natural environment they inhabit. All while reforesting and restoring our incredible natural world.

 

Trees provide numerous co-benefits for ecosystems and communities, including biodiversity conservation, soil erosion prevention, water purification, cultural cohesion and livelihood support for millions worldwide. We recognise the invaluable role of trees and communities in climate change mitigation and their role as critical components of global climate action.

(C) International Tree Foundation.

Image by Lingchor
Forests can act as climate safeguards, sequestering carbon into the trees and the forest floor and stabilising local weather systems. However, deforestation exacerbates climate change. Removing trees releases carbon, prevents further carbon sequestration and impacts regional humidity and rainfall.

FIND OUT MORE.

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CARBON POSITION

Sedahan Jaya residents who are active in reforestation activities

WOMEN AND CLIMATE CHANGE

OUR RESTORATION PARTNERS

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