We’ve got a lot going on! Education, job creation, tree planting, beekeeping, sustainable agriculture and more! We work together with our neighbours and community to identify community needs, and how these can be addressed. Here we highlight some of our main projects.
THE RIVERBANK READING ROOM
The Riverbank Reading Room (RRR) is BCT’s library which we run to boost literacy and educational levels in our community. The RRR opened in March 2015, with a collection of book donations from the International School of Uganda. We have since had many more book donations, poster decorations, solar lights and volunteer time! The RRR has a simple solar light system which is used for evening homework sessions. We run women and youth literacy classes from the reading room. We also run out-reach sessions to six schools in our surrounding area, taking books to the schools for reading sessions with our RRR staff.
All RRR services are provided free of charge and the library is open for reading and homework sessions 5 days a week, runs literacy classes twice a week and visits local schools twice a month.
BUBUGO RIVERBANK CONSERVATION
Riverbanks in Uganda are protected areas, and it is the responsibility of adjacent communities to sustainably use this resource. However, degradation of the riverbank due to firewood collection and cultivation is severe. As a result, soil erosion from the riverbank is high, turning the river brown after heavy rains, and the disappearance of natural forest vegetation has reduced local bird, fish and mammal populations
Jenny and Charlie have worked hard to protect the riverbank area in front of their plot, preventing firewood collection, cultivation and grazing. Natural regeneration of the bank has been fast, and as a result soil erosion on this part of the riverbank has been considerably reduced. This now serves as a positive example of the attraction of a riverbank in good condition. Bubugo Conservation Trust is working to bring together multiple managers and users of the riverbank and islands in the Nile around Bubugo.
This restoration strategy includes community-lead planting of indigenous trees on the riverbank, riverbank beekeeping for alternative income, and sensitisation and support to riverbank land owners to ensure compliance with environmental laws. After a successful fundraising campaign, our pilot project Trees and Bees is now in the implementation stages.
Our Trees and Bees project is our flagship project for riverbank restoration coupled with community livelihood opportunities. We are working with our local farmers group to restore natural vegetation on to the riverbank, whilst installing beehives to provide an alternative source of income. There is a nice cycle between the trees, the flowers, the pollen, the bees, the honey and ultimately the money for the beekeeper. We are working with Malaika Honey to ensure good quality beekeeper training, equipment, and access to market. This project is a pilot project from which we hope to learn and be able to implement further successful projects of it’s like elsewhere along the riverbank. We are also kick-starting a Trees and Bees project for fisherman, alongside establishing improved fisheries management and research projects.
We work with the women in our community to make interesting, natural products for sale on local and international markets. Our UgandaMade product line include wedding decorations and useful items for the home which are made from natural materials and are fully biodegradable.