In 2008, a tree-planting charity called the Size of Wales set off to plant a new tree in Wales for every baby born or adopted in order to offset carbon emissions. After reaching its national targets, the scheme extended its efforts to Mbale, a hilly, heavily deforested area of Eastern Uganda that was rich in biodiversity.
Now, every time a child arrives in Wales, two trees are planted — one at home and one in Mbale. So far, over 15 million trees have been planted in Uganda in three years as part of the development now known as the charity’s ‘Plant!’ scheme.
Each baby receives a certificate made of recycled paper as proof of their contribution to this incredible environmental feat that’s expected to restore millions of hectares of forest in Uganda. The country lost 31 percent of its forest cover between 1990 and 2010 as a result of illegal logging and climate change-induced disasters.
To further tackle deforestation, free tree seedlings are distributed to local people in Uganda to be planted on community land. In addition to that, the charity provides material support such as fuel-efficient stoves, as well as advice and help for other nature-focused livelihoods like bee-keeping.
Since it took off in 2018, the partnership has positively impacted about 16,000 people across 10 villages in Mbale. Now, with 15 million trees successfully planted, the aim is to continue planting trees in Uganda at a rate of three million a year in order to support community resilience in the face of environmental challenges.
“The Mbale Trees initiative is an example of what can be achieved when nations work together to combat climate change,” says Julie James, Minister for Climate Change in Wales. “Our pledge to plant three million more every year for the next five years will deliver substantial benefits, not just for those within Mbale, but it will have a considerable global impact on climate change.”