The wealth of Africa is its natural resources, so they say. However, every development scholar would tell you, true wealth is in people.
Mr Joseph Masembe, who has spent years teaching and inspiring youngsters to plant trees and protect their green environment jealously, got a rude awakening when he took off time during the Covid-19 break, to visit a couple of forests.
“Our planet has had a good time during the Covid-19 lockdown. We don’t celebrate the pandemic, but I am glad many people have woken up to appreciate the environment more as well as their means.of livelihood,” Masembe said.
Forests, are some of natural resources that have benefited from the slow down in industrial activities and Masembe said, he was amazed most by what’s happening Bugoma Forest Reserve, in Hoima district.
Bugoma has been in the news with claims of destruction beyond imagination. However Mr Masembe captured a video, shared on his and Little Hands Go Green social media pages, says, most people around the reserve Forest, were very poor.
“As a leading Environment activist, I took a nature walk into the Bugoma Forest Reserve. The Peace an Serenity there is amazing, the locals are languishing in poverty and the story being told is very different from what I found on the ground!”
Mr Masembe, the champion for the children green fest in Kampala, said, he would wish to see an empowered people around Bugoma Forest because in their poverty they cannot protect the forest.
“The poor cannot save the environment, actually poverty is a threat to the environment. We need sustainable development program to uplift these communities around forests from the edge of life,” Masembe said.
Masembe also reassures all budding Environmentalists and the citizens that contrary to the falsehoods being spread, Bugoma Forest is still standing. Whereas there has been encroachment from loggers and cattle pastrolists in some aread of the forest it is still standing firm.
Empowering the communities around the forest will ensure its lifeline for posterity. Masembe who was initially worried by stories of factories in the forest, also visited the Kyangwali area where a Sugarcane Plantation is in the offing and was glad to see that it is not in the forest area.
“If the stakeholders involved can communicate better but most importantly help the locals and uplift them from their destitution, then we can have confidence that this heritage, our natural resource will be passed to the next generation”.
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