I am Simpson Atwijukire, (Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management from Makerere University). Due to my passion and love for the environment, leadership and most importantly love for fellow youths; I opted to volunteer with Tree Talk, a Livelihoods and Environment initiative of Straight Talk foundation after graduating from University in 2012. Here I believed I would get space to explore my skills and knowledge in impacting communities, the youths but most importantly the environment.
Straight Talk Foundation is a Communication for health and development Non-Governmental Organization that works to ensure that young people are empowered to sustain healthy life styles through a long term perspective that addresses livelihoods and protection of the environment.
Tree Talk provides a link to population, health and environment sectors with in which Straight Talk works aiming to improve rural livelihoods, environment assets and build resilience towards impacts of climate change. My colleagues and I have been able to plant over 3,500,000 trees with the schools, youth groups, communities and individual farmers in the last 3 years of my work. All these seedlings are raised from our 13 tree nurseries each with a 150,000 seedlings capacity per year with at least 30 youths benefiting financially from it directly and indirectly.
I have trained 336 youths on renewable energy and construction of energy saving cook stoves (Rocket Lorena) aiming at reducing on the rate at which Trees and forests are being cut due to the wood fuel demand by communities. It’s a business model approach so they are paid for every stove they construct by Tree Talk and they have so far in the last 2 years constructed 1,356 cook stoves. My thinking of creating jobs for youths but also addressing an environmental concern was therefore addressed through this initiative.
I have also participated and coordinated establishment of ecological agribusiness gardens in schools and communities and trained young people and community members on basic but best agronomic practices with a business model which has impacted on the lives of over 10,000 youths.
I have also trained farmers on commercial woodlot establishment and many have adapted tree Planting because of the continuous engagements with them that has made them realize that they can improve their house hold income through tree growing. I would gladly love to share my experience with the rest of the world. Please give me this opportunity to share my story on a global platform.
Text, photo and video are submitted by Simpson Atwijukire (Uganda) – atwijukiresimpson(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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