Ugandan tree growing project makes special visit to Radyr Primary School


Radyr Primary School in Cardiff, welcomed  Size of Wales’ partner organisation METGE (Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise) on 15th November.  They shared first hand stories of the impact climate change is having on communities in Uganda, and what actions they are taking to adapt to the crisis.  This year, with support from Size of Wales and funding from Welsh Government, local communities have planted 20 million trees.

Uganda has one of the highest rates of forest loss in the world. Between 2001 and 2020, the country lost 918,000 hectares of tree cover, a 12% decrease. Based on current trends, it risks losing its entire forest cover by 2040. To address this problem, the Mbale Trees Programme, based in the Mount Elgon region of Eastern Uganda, supports local farmers to grow trees and promotes sustainable livelihoods. The project and its partners distribute free nursery-grown tree seedlings to local smallholder farmers, agricultural co-operatives, families, churches and schools. As well as tackling climate change, trees protect local people in the Mount Elgon region from the effects of soil erosion, which can cause deadly landslides. The trees also provide local communities with shelter, fresh fruit and timber – an important source of income.

The visit is part of a number of climate change awareness activities that have been happening in the school. The pupils will be planting a tree at their school to commemorate the occasion to celebrate the 20 million tree milestone and as a sign of solidarity and partnership between Wales and Uganda.

Barbara Davies-Quy, Deputy Director of Size of Wales said:

 “Planting trees in Wales and Uganda is vital in helping to tackle climate change, and helps the children of Wales feel a personal connection with their environment.

 “The planting of the 20 millionth tree in Uganda is an enormous achievement. The programme has been working towards this point for many years and immense passion has been invested by a lot of people in both Wales and Uganda to make this happen. We’re really pleased that we are on track to support local farmers and schools to plant 25 million trees by 2025. Anyone who wants to support this effort can donate to plant a tree in the project via the Size of Wales website.”

Mary Manana, Chair of METGE who recently completed her PHD at the University of South Wales, said:

“We are very grateful for the support we have received in planting trees in the Mt Elgon region in Uganda. This is helping the young people to grow up knowing the importance of tree growing in their farms and how this changes the environment. We hope to create a generation of nature sensitive young people who see the world with the eyes of the need to conserve it.”

George Sikoyo, Executive Director of METGE said:

“Tree planting to restore degraded environments and fight against climate is not for the grown up and older people alone in the communities we come from. It is for all including children and the youth. Therefore, children and youth of Wales you are the champions of environmental protection and fighting against climate change because it is about your destiny and future!”