Staff from Absa Bank Uganda have taken part in a community sensitisation and environmental awareness campaign in partnership with the My Tree Initiative to plant up to 6,000 trees in the Ttula-Kawempe community.
The tree-planting initiative was held at the Ttula Church of Uganda Primary School in Kawempe and involved about 500 people from the whole community.
Community members, parents, teachers and students eagerly joined Absa representatives to make this important contribution to future generations.
“The climate risks facing Uganda and Africa as a whole are going to require an intentional and concerted effort to try and build a more sustainable ecosystem, and we appreciate My Tree Initiative and the community of Kawempe for joining hands with us as we work to restore the area’s green cover. This demonstrates Absa’s ongoing commitment to being a visible force for good in our communities,” said Robinah Mukasa Kamuntu, Absa Bank Uganda’s Head of Communications and Citizenship.
A report released last year by AirQo – a Makerere University project that monitors air quality – indicated that pollution levels recorded in the Kampala Metropolitan areas were 10 times higher than the tolerable limits, with Kawempe recording an Air Quality Index score of 155 in October 2021 against an average of 99.
Trees help to lower temperatures and decrease the risk of harmful pollutants like ground-level ozone that commonly spike on hot days in urban areas.
Badru Bakojja, the Deputy Mayor of Kawempe Division appreciated the bank and its staff for being a part of the journey to help green Kawempe while also improving the community’s diet and nutrition by offering fruit trees.
He added that it was very encouraging to have Absa and different non-government organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) complementing the efforts of the Government and Local Government towards the provisions of services in the communities.
Enjer Ashraf, the Executive Director at My Tree Initiative, said, “Climate change is a constant threat to food security and greatly increases the severity of poverty, especially in sub-Saharan countries like Uganda. Our mission is to encourage the youth to stand up and make decisions that have an impact on their lives and environment. We appreciate partners like Absa for lending such a strong helping hand to our efforts through this educative and fun experience with the children and community of Kawempe.”
My Tree Initiative (MTI) is a Ugandan youth-founded non-profit organisation dedicated to combating climate change and contributing to global well-being through environmental action by enriching people’s lives through trees and encouraging communities to green their lifestyles.
The initiative has planted over 1,260,000 trees and greened 173 schools over the past five years.
According to Global Forest Watch, an online platform that uses cutting-edge technology to provide data and tools for monitoring forests – Uganda lost 967,000 hectares of tree cover, equivalent to a 12% decrease in tree cover.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the other side says that thoughtful tree planting is one of the ways that the country can mitigate the knock-on effects on biodiversity and climate, reduce GDP losses from natural disasters by two-thirds and almost halve the resulting fiscal gap.
Absa’s Kamuntu added, “As a business, we are committed to delivering on our ambition to play a positive shaping role in society and the communities within which we operate, towards Uganda’s growth and sustainability.”