In a major stride towards environmental conservation, Absa Bank and Hostalite Limited have collaborated with Hoima City authorities to initiate a tree-planting campaign of 50,000 indigenous tree species.
The initiative which is part of the efforts to minimise environmental degradation encompasses a diverse array of trees, including fruit varieties such as Mangoes, Jackfruits, Avocados, Guavas, along with wood trees like eucalyptus, and medicinal trees, to be strategically planted within the city.
The campaign places communities at the forefront of conservation efforts, with a targeted goal of lining streets with trees.
This effort extends to 33 primary schools, 7 secondary schools, 4 tertiary institutions, and health centers, collectively contributing to making Hoima a greener city.
Hellen Basuuta Nangonzi, Marketing and Customer Experience Director at Absa Bank, spoke at the November 2 launch, highlighting the initiative as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, aimed at also mitigating the impact of climate change.
The strategic placement of fruit trees in schools serves the dual purpose of providing children with food and contributing to environmental restoration, while medicinal trees in health facilities supplement patient treatment, and street planting provides essential shades.
Absa Bank, committed to planting one million trees nationwide within three years, anticipates exceeding 300,000 trees in Hoima City by year-end.
Hoima City Mayor, Brian Kaboyo, expressed gratitude for the partnership, emphasising its role in advancing the city’s goal of planting one million trees and countering tree destruction due to ongoing construction.
Isa Twesige, Assistant Commissioner Forestry Ministry of Water and Environment, told The Albertine Journal that the ministry is determined to plant 40 million trees across the country, advocating for city foresters’ technical competency to support site judgment, species matching, and tree replacement plans and maintenance.
Nangonzi told The Albertine Journal regarding tree maintenance, underlining Absa Bank’s commitment to cover associated costs.
Patrick Zahura, Head Teacher at Kitara Secondary School, emphasised the necessity of the activity in addressing carbon emissions, appreciating Absa Bank’s mobilisation efforts, allowing students to take home remaining trees for planting.
Hassan Akweteireho, the teacher in charge of clubs at Kitara Secondary School, reported over 1,000 trees planted, resulting in the formation of a new club called “Make Africa Green Again.”
The initiative helped resolve land disputes by marking school boundaries and created sufficient shaded areas.
Akweteireho highlighted the importance of eucalyptus trees, with a four-year harvest time, in supporting the school’s 1,600 students by providing poles for scouts and firewood.
Stephen Odong, the head prefect, conveyed students’ appreciation for ABSA Bank’s commitment to future generations, symbolised by the planting of mangoes, jackfruits, avocados, and guavas.
Dickson Mushabe, CEO of Hostalite, reaffirmed the organisation’s commitment to tackling climate change under Project Greening Africa, stating their belief that every planted tree will have a lasting impact on communities and the planet.
As the world focuses on reducing air pollution and dependence on fossil fuels, Hoima City grapples with challenges stemming from urbanisation, population increase, and migration, impacting its forest cover.
Over 90 percent of wetlands have been encroached upon due to various factors, leading to water stress.
The population of Hoima City, elevated to city status in 2019, experienced significant growth, with a growth rate of 10.7% in 2014.
However, this growth has led to the loss of tree cover, contributing to statistics where Uganda is losing 64.1 thousand hectares in 2022, equivalent to 33.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, according to Global Forest Watch.