Uganda – Climate change awareness creation and adaptation for improved livelihoods among rural communities

  1. Title of your Project

Climate change awareness creation and adaptation for improved livelihoods among rural communities

  1. Name of organisation

Association of Uganda Professional Women in Agriculture and Environment (AUPWAE)

The programme officer coordinates the project at the organization level. AUPWAE works with government officials at the sub-county to coordinate the activities at sub-county level.  Implementation is also at three levels, organizational level, district level where the district environment officer implements and at sub-county level where the women groups do the implementation.

  1. Location of project

Community: Nakigo and Bulamagi in Iganga and Buyengo and Busedde in Iganga district
Province: Jinja and Iganga districts
Country: Uganda

  1. Project duration

Project started: January 2010
Project finished (if applicable): June 2010

  1. Contact information

Name of contact person: Dr. Harriet N.Muloki
Name of organisation: Association of Uganda Professional Women In Agriculture and Environment (AUPWAE)
Detailed address: P.O.Box 11432 Kampala Uganda Plot 4a Kimera Road Ntinda
Phone: +256 392 898 597
Website of your project (if different):

  1. Summary of practice

Climatic Change Awareness Creation and Adaptation for Improved Livelihoods among Rural Communities. Iganga and Jinja Districts, Eastern Uganda funded by AFRICA-ADAPT

Project goal:

To contribute to the improved livelihood of rural households areas.

Project purpose:

Improvement of food security of smaller holder farmers in Iganga and Jinja District through creating awareness about causes and effects of climate change while motivating them to mitigate and adapt to the changing climatic conditions.

Project Objective:

To create awareness about the impacts of the present climatic changes and adaptation measures among 4 farming communities and 16 schools in Iganga and Jinja Districts by May 2010.

Problem statement

Although Climate change and its effects have taken root in most parts of Uganda including Jinja and Iganga districts, the proposed project areas, there is general lack of knowledge by the policy makers, private sector and rural communities about its causes, effects, mitigation and adaptation measures. Climate change has been demonstrated through periodic prolonged drought, unreliable rainfall patterns and unusual high temperature.Variability in type, amount and frequency of rainfall has affected agricultural productivity and the nutrition of many households. Evidence exists of severe droughts, with associated famine. In 1993/94 over 1.8 million people were affected due to lack of food, water, and inadequate pasture for livestock (EA, 2007). The same incident was repeated in 1999 and 2007.( PEAP 2004; UNWD, 2005).  Presently severe drought has occurred in Uganda leaving 3.5 million people at the risk of starving. On the other hand, annually there occurs severe rainfall in other parts of the country which results in flooding resulting in destruction of crops and disruption of communication networks. In 2008, 800,000ha of crops were destroyed due to flooding in North Eastern Uganda and this has resulted in food insecurity which has lasted up to today.

Deforestation in Uganda has been rated to be 3% by World Bank and loss to be about 80,000 ha annually by National Forestry Authority. It has been estimated that 73,000 ha are lost from private land, which means the damage has been greatly caused by activities of the rural communities due to ignorance about the effects of their activities and that they have direct implications on their food security, health and economic status.

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) of Uganda has identified Jinja and Iganga districts to be the worst deforested areas yet they form the major watershed that water Lake Victoria. Unfortunately farming communities in the area continue to cut the trees and clear bushes in favor for agriculture which is clear sign that they are ignorant about the causes of the present climatic changes. The major crops grown in the area are sugarcane, maize, rice and potatoes. The communities are not aware of modern agro forestry methods which can make the mentioned crops be grown together with trees. As such large areas continue to be cleared to make room for the crops. Trees act as water catchments and absorb carbon dioxide which is the cause of the soaring temperatures so clearing of trees has led to the recent rainfall shortages and thus famine and also the recent global warming.

The issue of climate change cuts across different categories of people, including policy makers at district and sub-county level who are supposed to enact laws to conserve the environment. However these people do not have enough information about climate change and this inhibits them to make favorable policies in all sectors which would lead to climatic change mitigation and adaptation.

Since the young generations are the farmers and policy makers of tomorrow and today what they see is degradation of the forests, bushes and swamps, it is important that they are made aware of the issue of climate change so that they start early to adapt to effects. In addition children are effective information disseminators; it is envisaged that children in the target schools will be able to inform parents who are not part of the target group as they will be sensitized about climate change.

Targets  include :   Farming communities in the two districts.

Progress to date

AUPWAE is working with four women farmer groups in four sub-counties of Bulamagi & Nakigo of Iganga and Busedde & Buyende  in  Jinja districts. These sub-counties were identified by district and sub-county leaders as the mostly affected with deforestation. In these sub-counties there is a lot of sugar cane growing which require that big chunks of land are cleared to enable tractors plough. The communities sign agreements with Kakira Sugar works to plant sugar cane for a minimum of three years as out growers.


  • 80 women members of four groups were sensitized using participatory approach about the climate change impacts and adaptation measures.
  • Presently the groups are using the knowledge gained to develop drama as a tool to sensitize school children and community members on issues of climate change.
  • AUPWAE has organized and held four  round table discussions with the four sub-county leadership in each of the beneficiary sub-counties in the project area
  • AUPWAE is running Radio Spot kits on Nile Broadcasting Services a local FM. These are being aired four times a day to create awareness about climate change to the audience estimated at 20,000 people.


Because of AUPWAE’S intervention, the following can be declared as success stories;

  1. One woman member of the groups sensitized by AUPWAE had signed an agreement with Kakira Sugar works and had offered her land to plant sugar cane for three years. The contract had run for one year but after realizing the reasons why her family was suffering hunger she went back and cut down the sugar cane plantation and she has planted food crops and requesting AUPWAE to provide her with fruit trees to plant intercrop with the other crops.
  2. The leadership in all the four project sub-counties agreed to incorporate climate change interventions in their respective sub-county development plans for the next financial year, starting 01 July 2010. In Uganda under the decentralized programme, sub counties are the lowest local governments, they receive funds from the central government and running their individual budgets. To AUPWAE this is a success since implementation is at sub-county Level. The following are some of what was agreed on as action plan.
  3. Support communities to plant trees especially fruit tress.
  4. Support establishment of tree nurseries at parish level.
  5. Support agriculture department to train communities to harvest ground water runoff to irrigate crops during dry season and to dig contours in the gardens for soil water conservation.
  6. Support the sub county community development officers to train communities to construct energy saving stoves.
  7. Set byelaws for each community member to plant at least one tree per month during the rain months.
  8. Nakigo officials agreed to set up a mother garden for drought resistant varieties of cassava and maize on the sub-county headquarters land.
  9. Context/Approach description

The main economic activity of the people in the area is farming, growing of crops such as sugarcane, maize, paddy rice, bananas, beans and coffee .Sugarcane, Maize and rice growing led to clearing of large expanses of land consequently causing degradation of swamps and forests in the districts.

Land holdings in the sub-county are small (average 1ha) so growing tree on a large scale is not possible option is agroforestry.

Creation of awareness about climate change, its impacts adaptation and mitigation measures to district and sub-county leadership will lead to making decisions to integrate climate change inteventions  in the different sectors. When the communities are aware of the causes, impacts and have thought of possible interventions then they can purose to implement adaptation and mitigation measures.

  1. Community involvement
  • Sensitize farming communities organized in groups;  since 80% of farming work is done by women, these women will get the message , implement adaptation technologies on their farms, pass on message to other women in their area informally.
  • Use entertainment (drama and songs) to pass on the message.
  • Getting audience’s views about climate change by using participatory methods.
  • Involving policy makers in the discussions i.e. district and sub-county leaders and making it
  • Sensitizing school children to be used as information dissemination agents to the parents.
  • Use popular local fm radio to disseminate to larger audience.
  1. Results & Lessons learned

9.1 Results

These are the expected results

  • Awareness creation will be created among the following groups of people

4 women groups, each with 20 members

160 district and sub-county leaders

16 schools with a total of 8000 pupils

800 women and men farmers

Approximately 20,000 Listeners of popular local FMs

  • Slowing down the deforestation process
  • Climate change discussions being included on the agenda of district and sub-county meetings
  • Planting of trees by farmers
  • Adaptation measures on farms implemented
  1. 2 Critical Success Factors
  • So far involvement of sub-county leadership in mobilization of the communities
  • Using the community women group members to sensitize the communities.
  • Working with local radio stations

9.3. Transferability 

The fact that the women groups will be trained to standard performances, they will be encouraged to put up those performances in other sub-counties but for a fee so that they are able to sustain themselves. The district leaders who will be involved in the discussions will be expected to disseminate the information in other areas. The schools will also be encouraged to develop drama in the theme and show performances to other schools.


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