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Buganda Kingdom and WWF in Uganda last week launched an environment training manual that seeks to bolster conservation works within the Kingdom and Uganda at large.
The Prime Minister called for joint efforts in environmental protection to ensure sustainable development countrywide and pledged that Buganda would continue to make its contribution.
“The people of Buganda are highly dependent on the Environment and Natural Resources. Our culture associates and attaches taboos to activities that degrade the environment such as overfishing, clear-felling of forests, disrespect for non-wood forest products, and overhunting”, he explained, noting that the manual is one of Buganda’s attempts to equip stakeholders with environment management knowledge, skills and ‘Bulungibwansi’.
Bulungibwansi means community service and it is one of the Kiganda traditions aimed at encouraging voluntary community involvement in keeping the environment clean.
The Kingdom’s Minister for Agriculture, Lands, Environment, Bulungibwansi, Cooperatives, Trade and Marketing Mariam Mayanja commended WWF for the strong and fruitful partnership with the kingdom that is yielding gains for conservation, benefitting nature and people.
She added that the training manual will increase environmental literacy at all community levels through empowering the people of Buganda to sustainably manage the Kingdom’s Environment and Natural Resources.
Ms. Agnete Schoneu, the Chief Operating Officer at WWF Uganda commended Buganda Kingdom for stressing conservation in all her development work. She said the manual will be used from the highest to the lowest Kingdom structures to set nature recovery targets and mobilize the subjects to take action for nature recovery.
‘With the unwavering Buganda spirit, we are almost sure these targets will be met and the Buganda Kingdom will be a model and inspiration to all Ugandans but also the world at large”, she said.
According to the WWF Uganda Head of Policy, Advocacy and Communications Rita Kyategeka, the training manual is written in a very simplified language to target a wide range of audiences.
“The training manual is targeting people who are unaware, half aware, and informed about the status of environmental and natural resources in Buganda, good practices, challenges, and how to manage them”, she stated.
How the Buganda Kingdom environment training manual will be used
The main focus of this training manual is to provide insight to the user on key environmental issues and concepts in the Kingdom. Careful consideration is given to the choices of several environmental issues the Kingdom is facing. The manual looks at these issues considering their importance and relevance but does not necessarily arrange them in order of importance.
Under the Forest Eco-system for example, a number of trees will be distributed amongst different parts of Buganda to ensure planting and conserving of trees. This will be done through the different County heads. Each County is mandated to have a Kings’(royal) forest at her headquarters. Each subcounty under a particular County is also mandated to have a subcounty herbal(medicinal) forest supervised by the sub-county chief.
Below each sub-country are parishes, each of which will also have a King’s woodlot.
The manual also mandates each of the 18 counties of Buganda kingdom to set nature recovery targets. The country chiefs must present to the king the status report of the nature recovery efforts in their respective counties annually.
Rita stated that these interventions by the kingdom are part of the broader successes of the New Deal for Nature and people campaign that saw the organization get into partnerships with religious and cultural institutions.