Schools take on the responsibility to plant trees to control winds
In 2011, a dark cloud befell Kolonyi Primary School in Mbale City, when heavy winds blew off a roof of one of the classroom blocks.
It was a normal school day while children were playing during lunch break when the incident took place.
The strong winds blew off the classroom roof, blew it and accidentally fell on two children. They sustained injuries.
One of our Project Officers Mr Yusuf Makabuli working with Salem Uganda one of the partners of Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise (METGE), was in the vicinity and witnessed this incident. He ran to the rescue of these children who were wailing in pain.
He rushed the injured children to the nearby hospital. While debris fell on some of the children who were in the classroom but did not sustain injuries.
Thanks to the good samaritans. The classroom roof was replaced for the learners to continue learning.
As a long term solution, according to Mr Makubuli they advised the school to plant indigenous tree species along the boundaries to act as wind breaks and some fruit trees in the compound like mangoes and jackfruit. When the season is on, the children can eat the mangoes and jackfruit during break time.
From the teachers present then, they narrate if some trees were not planted around the school the winds would have blown off almost all the roofs of the school blocks.
Over 5000 trees according to Makabuli have been supplied to Kolonyi Primary School. The first lot was planted in 2008 and 2009.
After this incident according to Ms Mulerengi Joy, the head teacher Kolonyi Primary School, they began planting trees as a serious mitigation to occurrences such as wind.
“We have planted trees given to us by Salem-Uganda and indeed they have acted as wind breaks to the strong winds and heavy storms. We have planted some fruit trees like mangoes and jackfruit. A pupil who has not carried something to eat at break time, may have a mango or jackfruit to eat,” says Ms Mulerengi.
Pupils of Kolonyi Primary School planting trees in the school compound.
According to Ms Mulerengi some trees have survived and others have been destroyed by animals especially when pupils go on holiday and there is no one at school to chase away the animals. But they are looking at ways of protecting the planted seedlings by constructing a temporary fence until the trees mature to a level that they cannot be destroyed by animals.
“We are thankful to METGE and the implementing partner Salem Uganda for the job well done to provide free tree seedlings to plant. We have sometimes used the trees for shade and conduct classes. Not because we do not have enough classrooms, but we sometimes want to enjoy the fresh air outside the classroom and the learners enjoy it,” she adds.
The classroom block roof replaced by good samaritans when the rain blew it off in 2011.