Youth Ending Hunger plants trees and promotes biogas in Manafwa

Youth Ending Hunger (YEHA) is involved in tree planting to improve soil and water conservation. They are also making biogas to minimize the cutting down of trees and benefit from the bio slurry, the by-product of the biogas plant that is used as a fertiliser to improve the soil fertility and get a better crop yield.

YEHA has so far constructed 3 household biogas units. They plan to increase the beneficiary households to 10. Lucas Shilaku is one of the beneficiaries. Lucas said his school going children now have light on which to read. The slurry is manure and his banana plantation is already yielding well. “My neighbours are very interested and have come here to see the biogas but they cannot afford,” he said. The by-product is also fodder for pigs, chicken and fish. So far 3 people in Kaato sub-county have appreciated the value of biogas and are setting up their own.

Lucas Shiraku is enjoying the benefits of using biogas

Lucas Shiraku is enjoying the benefits of using biogas

Ms. Wabulyu Nivarent of Kaato sub-county received tree seedlings including pine, jackfruit and musizi. Almost all her trees are growing well. How will she benefit from this? “I will sell the trees and get an income and the jackfruit will be food for the children,” she said.

The area of Kaato is exposed to soil erosion so the canopy cover will minimize the problem and eventually improve the crop yield. The area is also exposed to heavy winds and the trees will serve as wind breakers. The beneficiaries plan to join a carbon credit scheme since Eco-Trust, an NGO working in carbon schemes is piloting in Kaato sub-county.

10,300 tree seedlings were distributed among 125 people. The seedlings included ovacado, mango, jackfruit, grevalia, musizi and pine. Households got tree seedlings according to the size of their land, with most households receiving between 50-100 seedlings.

YEHA is hopeful that the trees will be a source of nectar for bees and will boost honey production in the area. The fruit trees will improve household nutrition.

A large number of trees survived and are growing well but a few failed. For example, Tsu Tsu waterway overflooded and washed away some seedlings. One farmer lost 230 seedlings of the 300 received. Another lost 220 out of 300 received, mostly musizi and grevalia.

The contour hedgerows that tamed Bududa run-off

Elgon Natural Resources Environmental Networkers in Bududa has constructed 7.5km of contour hedgerows to minimise run-off and soil erosion in Bukigayi sub-county, Bududa. Landslides disasters are frequent in Bududa mostly because the high population density forced people to settle on steep slopes. Deforestation and degradation of the land increased the risk of landslides.

The runoff in Bukigayi was affecting 400 people. It was so powerful that it killed children and animals. After the intervention by this group, the runoff has stopped, the vegetation cover is growing and the soil fertility is improving. The road has grass and vehicles can drive uphill without sliding.

Mr. James Wakhatala, a local farmer, said the runoff would uproot his crops. At harvest he would get only 10kgs of coffee from his plot of land. After he dug hedgerows he now gets 30kgs from the same land. He says he can pick greens and cassava which was not possible with the runoff.

James Wakhatala digging up hedgerows in his banana plantation

James Wakhatala digging up hedgerows in his banana plantation

There was a problem of selecting which sub-county to support. “44% of Bududa has the problem,” said Mr. Michael Musamali, District Natural Resource Officer, Bududa district. He adds, “This was a demonstration. People in Bumakuma Parish have already started digging up hedgerows (on their land) because they now have the skills and can dig effective hedgerows.

Along the edges of the contours, the farmers have planted elephant grass which they feed to the cows.

The hedgerows now benefit about 16,000 people in Bukigayi.

Namasho Women start biogas use in Bududa

The group of 40 women has constructed six biogas digesters of 6 cubic meter capacity for 8 households. These can light two lamps and two stoves. The households have 8 members on average.

“Before the biogas I used a bundle of firewood daily costing 5,000 shs and 300 milliliters of paraffin costing 1,500 shs,” said Ms. Zipporah Wamoto, the chairperson of the group. “Now I use only one bundle of firewood a week and 300ml of paraffin lasts a week.” She adds, “I don’t cut trees as often as I used to. We use the slurry in our plantation as fertilizer. Money is used to do other things like pay school fees.”

“It is cleaner, easier and faster to cook, especially boiling tea,” said another beneficiary. “My husband can now boil his own water for bathing and his tea. He was skeptical when I brought up the idea of biogas but today he likes it and is the one who feeds the digester with cow dung. I can cook tea and entertain my guests at the same time without smelling of smoke.”

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Namasho Women Group is in the process of giving out 6,000 tree seedlings of grevalia and mango to 100 households.

Environmental and socio-economic benefits

  • The families with biogas are now using less firewood and say they are cutting down fewer trees.
  • The slurry is a high quality fertilizer and fodder for animals.
  • There is a decrease in respiratory illnesses and eye infections that are caused by smoke from firewood and tadooba.
  • Homes are more hygienic