Saving Lake Kako

Mushumba Community Initiatives for Development (MCID) is a Community Based Organisation in Ryeru sub-county, Rubirizi district. With support through the Small Grants, Mushumba members came together to save Lake Kako against silting and soil erosion. They planted 9 acres along the lake shoreline with vetiver grass and 1,760 tree seedlings. Apart from being a major source of water for the people of Mushumba and its neighboring communities, Lake Kako is a key factor in moderating the local climate.                 FSCN4763

What are the socio-economic benefits?

The slopes of the lake provide rich soils where community members grow crops like maize, millet, cassava, potatoes, coffee, beans and bananas. The slopes are good grazing grounds because of the presence of elephant grass and other nutritious vegetation for animals. There is fishing which is a major source of protein for a number of households.

The trees, bushes and shrubs around the lake are a source of firewood, building materials and herbal medicine.

It’s also a recreation area for swimming and other leisure activities and the lake adds to the natural beauty of the area. The lake supports about 20,000 people.

What are the environmental benefits?

By conserving and restoring Lake Kako, there is:

• Reduced landslides around the lake

• Controlled soil erosion and silting

• Increased biodiversity

• Climate modified as a result of trees growing around the lake water. The water body

(Lake Kako) and the vegetation (trees planted) contribute moisture to the atmosphere through evapo-transpiration which leads to rainfall formation.

• The land and sea breezes modify the temperature of the areas adjacent to the lake.

• A rare species of fish in the lake, Cray fish, will be allowed to multiply.

• Community empowerment since the conserving of the lake has demonstrated that they can address their own environmental challenges

The solar cooker

The CBO has introduced solar cooking technology in the area as an efficient sustainable alternative source of energy for domestic cooking and as a way of reducing heavy dependence on biomass fuel. 350 community members were sensetized on the benefits of using a Solar cooker. 3 demonstration solar cookers have been constructed and are in use – at Mushumba Health Center II and in two homes.

“Members were captivated by the power of the sun in cooking food especially by the little time it took for the food to get ready”

“Members were captivated by the power of the sun in cooking food especially by the little time it took for the food to get ready,” said Mr. John Mubangizi, executive director of Mushumba. “The most exciting moment came with the tasting of the food prepared by a solar cooker.” The solar cooker took one and half hours to cook a meal of bananas and dry beans.   DSCN4938

Kataara Women’s Poverty Alleviation Group is making paper from elephant dung

With a $10,000 grant from UNDP, this group of women focused on two activities – construction and promotion of energy saving stoves and eco-tourism. They have constructed 180 energy saving stoves for 180 households of 6 villages of Katara Parish with each village getting 30 stoves. Kataara chose to make fuel-efficient cookstoves to minimize the deforestation and encroachment on the protected area of Queen Elizabeth National Park which neighbours Kataara Parish. “People go collect firewood from the national park and they are shot at, the women get raped there,” said Mr. Moses Agaba, the group’s coordinator.


Kataara Women working on the cookstoves at their workshop in Rubirizi (Photos by Agnes Asiimwe, WWF)

Those using the stoves are happy to have embraced the new method of cooking. “I would use one head load of firewood per week but I now use the same bundle for two weeks,” said Ms. Birungi Mwanje, who adds that she goes around telling neighbours how the stove has reduced her firewood demand by half. Although the community has been slow at appreciating the value of using these stoves, they are taking it up slowly. Kataara has sold 100 stoves within 3 months.  A stove is sold at 10,000shs.

Kataara hopes to make 5,000 stoves for sale by April 2014. From 10,000 shs made from each stove, 3,000 shs goes to the maker of the stove and 7,000 shs goes to the savings and credit scheme of the group. The group lends out this money to members who are given a three months grace period before paying back with 5 percent interest.

Craft Making

The group is also making handicrafts as a business and to conserve natural resources. Kataara collaborates with Queen Elizabeth National Park to promote conservation of the elephant that is facing threats of poisoning as a retaliation against crop raids, by making paper out of elephant dung.

“We make elephant dung paper to show the community that elephants should be conserved because there are people who kill them for meat and ivory,” said Mr. Agaba. “By using elephant dung it adds value to the elephant.” He added,”Elephants always eat our crops so in a way we are compensating ourselves by picking their dung.”

“Elephants always eat our crops so in a way we are compensating
ourselves by picking their dung.”

At first the members collected the dung from their gardens but now the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has allowed them to pick the elephant dung from inside the protected area. From the elephant dung Kataara has made visitors’ books and menus for the neighbouring Kataara and Engazi lodges. They are now making greeting cards, photo frames, handbags and writing pads. Handcrafts are a source of income for the members. The office also doubles as a craft shop with baskets, mats, jewelry, cards  and other items. Members make most of the items individually and take to the shop for sale.

ImageThe women pound elephant dung to make paper

You can get in touch with this group at




Strengthening Sustainable Environment and Natural Resource Management, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Uganda (SENRMCAM) is a project funded by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and implemented by World Wide Fund for Nature, Uganda Country Office (WWF UCO) on behalf of the Government of Uganda. The project aims to strengthen the efforts and capacities of Local Governments, Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) and communities to sustainably manage and utilize natural resources and build climate change resilient societies.

The project has four key outputs:

i)                   Biodiversity conservation and restoration of degraded ecosystems demonstrated.

ii)                Sustainable Land Management practices identified and replicated.

iii)                Efficient utilization of biomass energy, promotion of renewable energy technologies and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

iv)                Climate Change resilience promoted.

This project is implemented in collaboration with responsible parties drawn from various ministries, local government and CSOs. The project partners include the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD), Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Ministry of Local Government (MoLG), and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Call for Project Proposals

As one of the ways to accelerate the implementation of the project and build capacity of the civil society, the project is inviting proposals from NGOs and CBOs in the districts of  Arua, Nebbi, Nwoya, Ntoroko, Bundibugyo, Buliisa, Rakai, Buhweju, Bushenyi, Mbarara, Kiruhura, Kamuli, Nakasongola, Kabale, Kanungu, Kisoro, Soroti, Busia, Kiboga, Luwero, Jinja, Sembabule, Lwengo, Kalungu, Kasese, Mitooma, Rubirizi, Abim, Bududa, Mbale, Moroto, Kotido, Isingiro, Masindi, Masaka,Wakiso and Manafwa to benefit from its small grants scheme.

 The proposed projects may cover but are not limited to the following focal areas:

  1. Sustainable land management
  2. Biodiversity conservation and restoration on private/communal lands
  3. Livelihood improvement enterprises
  4. Renewable energy technologies
  5. Climate change adaptation and mitigation

How to apply

Interested applicants are advised to pick a project proposal template from the WWF UCO Offices at the address below or from Natural Resource offices of the districts mentioned above.

Proposals in hard copy only must be submitted to the address below by 30th January, 2014, not later than 4.00pm.  

The Project Manager


WWF Uganda Country Office

P. O. Box 8758, Kampala

Plot 2 Sturrock Road, Kololo

Tel: 0414 540 064



The life changing energy saving stoves

Energy saving cookstoves are changing the lives of many women in rural and remote parts of Uganda. Ms. Edinavence Kajaribu received a lorena cookstove through Kiyanga Environmental Conservation Association (KECA) in Mitooma.  KECA is one of the recipients of the Small Grants funding ($10,000) from UNDP – Uganda Country Office.

Image Edinavence in her kitchen

“Now I use one bundle a week instead of 2 bundles,” said Ms.Kajaribu. “It’s faster, I can manage it alone and do other chores as I cook. I only come to the kitchen to check if the food has water.” She quickly adds, “And it has no smoke.”

Edinavence is one of the 24 people that received the lorena cookstoves in Kiyanga sub county. To qualify as a beneficiary one had to have at least a semi-permanent. One also had to be sociable to allow people to visit and see how the stove works.

Kiyanga neighbours two key forests – Karinju and Imaramagambo as well as Queen Elizabeth National Park.  The community has an understanding with the National Forestry Authority (NFA) to pick firewood from the forest not more than once a week.  With the lorena cookstoves it cuts the need to go to the forest for firewood by half.

Ms. Birungi Mwanje received an energy saving cookstove from Katara Womens Poverty Alleviation Group in Rubirizi. Katara too received a $10,000 grant.

“I would use one head load of firewood per week but I now use the same bundle for two weeks,” she said.  Ms.Mwanje uses just one block of wood as opposed to the many poles she used when she cooked on the traditional three-stone fire.  “I keep telling the neighbours how the stove has reduced my firewood demand by half,” she said.                                                      Image                   Ms Birungi Mwanje in her kitchen

Kikokiro Savings and Development Group in Wakiso is promoting renewable energy technology in Wakiso. The 25-member group makes briquettes and cookstoves for sale.  Within two months of receiving the $12,000 Small Grants funding, the group made 87 cookstoves as well as 600kg of stick briquettes and 70kg of honeycomb briquettes.

Charcoal briquettes are similar in appearance to ordinary charcoal but are made out of agricultural residues and charcoal waste that would normally be discarded as useless waste.

The group sells the big stoves at 40,000 Uganda shillings ($16) and the small stoves at 25,000 Shs or $10. By mid-October they had sold 400kgs of stick briquettes at 1,000shs a kilo, and 60kg of honeycomb briquettes with one honeycomb selling at 2,000shs.  The group members say the demand for the briquettes is high and the business opportunity is promising. They are now working on making standardized products that can be packaged and sold in supermarkets and many other outlets.

Wide adoption of charcoal briquettes would minimize the heavy dependence on charcoal and firewood that are contributing to wide scale deforestation in Uganda. In addition, money is saved and there is a decrease in common diseases from smoke such as eye infections and asthma.       ImageA family that received cookstoves from Katara

Small Grants Program Takes Off

Small Grants embody the essence of sustainable development by
“thinking globally acting locally”. By providing financial and technical
support to projects that conserve and restore the environment while
enhancing people’s well-being and livelihoods, a Small Grants Program
(SGP) demonstrates that community action can maintain the fine balance
between human needs and environmental imperatives.

SGP’s primary stakeholders are the poor and vulnerable communities that
are most at risk because they depend on access to natural resources for
their livelihoods and often live in fragile ecosystems.
The SENRMCAM Project, supported by UNDP and being implemented by
WWF, is managing a small grants scheme. Close to a billion shillings will
be directly given to community based organizations (CBOs) in the districts
of Moroto, Rubirizi, Isingiro, Kasese, Mitooma, Masindi, Abim, Manafwa,
Bududa and Wakiso.


The organisations are engaged in several activities including apiary and
tourism promotion, renewable energy, climate change resilience innovation
and sustainable forest management.

The CBOs went through a competitive process. From a total of 224
proposals received, only 36 emerged finalists. The selected groups have
been equipped with the necessary technical skills to help them manage
their proposed projects successfully.

This is the first phase of the small grants program under this project. A
second phase will be rolled out in 2014 during which other CBOs will be
invited to apply for funding.