© 2019 METGE

Buanini village development
09/10/2018
Story by ILO secondee Neil White from the IPO, Newport, UK.

Bunanini was an early rcecipient of the Mbale Tree Programme investment, and METGE have been continuing that support.

They were vistied recently by Jon Townley from the Wales for Africa project, to get an update on progress. It was a chance to see whether they were achieving the targets and whether new project ceilings needed to be set.

There's been an additional push on constructing Lorena stoves recently, with around 20 added locally. More are being commissioned in the next few months.

The phenomenal growth rates achieved by tropical trees in Uganda's climate have transformed this village area almost beyond recognition. It's not without some problems, with some areas too closely planted for the tree types. Further development, and thinning over time, will improve that. Overall the space is very well managed.

The tree nursery are has been extended by the SAO (Share an Opportunity) project managers and the capacity for supply has been effectively doubled.

The next challenge facing the community is the construction of Lorena stoves. While these stoves are more associated with North Western Uganda, they have been slower to take off in the Eastern Regions. Farming and cultural practices are slow to change.

Project managers began the process through  a few demonstration models in willing households and these have gradually attracted greater attention. The overall benefit is that these constructions are considerably more efficient than the traditional three block stoves. Based of a jet stove model they consume significantly less firewood and burn at higher temperatures, and for longer. This means that there's a community benefit in lowered fuel consumption, which has been a major sustainability issue in tropical areas.

As, traditionally, cooking tasks fall to women, we were keen to understand whether the stoves had brought tangible improvements. We were able to discuss this with local women and get some encouragement that this was taking some of the labour out of housework. It's also  healthier than the highly polluting, lung damaging alternative.

The overall village area covers around 4 sq km. And, following the closing addresses, Jackson - the village chairman - committed to ensuring the nearby roadways and currently bare areas would be planted over the next few months.,

Added to that, we understood that the stoves had been seen as a  success and there are already demands for more of these to be fitted. This echoes METGE'S mission for 'healthier and safer communities'. Something we can recommit to with confidence  in supporting Buanini for years to come .