This is a trip to experience real Africa. A mixture of volunteer work, meeting and interacting with local people and helping disadvantaged communities. Learn about Ugandan culture and history by living it. Later experience the incredible natural beauty of the country by going on safari.
Volunteering is an excellent way for not only give back to society but also to learn new things in life and about different cultures. Sharing your knowledge and skills, helping under-privileged people to achieve better and bringing smiles to people in need and support makes volunteering an intellectually rewarding experience. As an old saying goes “If you give a fish to a poor man, you feed him for one day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for lifetime”. This is one of the reasons why we focus more on skill development and learning while planning and organising our volunteer programs.
Besides all the benefits that our programs bring to local people, it also gives volunteers an opportunity to gain new experience and learn about different cultures. And as our experience shows there is no better way to connect with people than selfless giving and working with them in day to day life.
Uganda is known as the “Pearl of Africa”. That makes it a very attractive destination, and the country is now living a great period of tourism growth. The tourist industry is growing each year, and contributes a great deal in the development of the country. But that fast development does not only have positive points: Sometimes it does not fit with the basic environmental requirement, and does not benefit everyone.
Trek Africa Eco-Tours has launched the Sustainable Living Initiative Centre (SLIC), whose major focus is the preservation of nature and the involvement of the local community in tourism. All our outdoor activities include a tree planting component to conserve and preserve the environment.
Trek Africa Eco-Tours seeks to work in partnership with local communities to enable them generate sustainable improvements in their livelihood through the development of their own tourism related enterprises, while also contributing to the protection of their physical and cultural environments.
Among the key activities of the Centre will be the establishment of tourism and conservation related micro-projects in the communities bordering Protected Areas. The program will involve tourists and the international community in general willing to help, as well as the local community. The Centre offers trainees a Sustainable Living experience, involving displays, demonstration and workshops. These will include various energy sources, wind technology, organic farming, how to make biogas, and other technologies. Trainees will be involved in both theoretical instruction and practical construction of alternative energy units, both at the centre and in their home villages.
The Sustainable Living Initiative Center was established to promote awareness of environmental issues, and specifically to promote the use of simple technology to minimize negative impact on the environment and conserve natural resources in Uganda. Through conservation and sustainable use of resources, communities will be assured of livelihood with minimum conflict with Protected Areas management.
Trek Africa is working with Non-Government Conservation and Community Organisations involved in activities that promote sustainable development.
Trek Africa is also engaging with agencies under the Uganda Government including the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Uganda Wildlife Authority (which manages the Protected Areas); National Forest Authority (which manages the National Forest Reserves).
A key activity of SLIC is the Indigenous Tree Preservation Program. Some of these trees have medicinal value, others are disappearing and are difficult to replace. The idea here is to involve tourists in preserving these trees through tree planting. A contribution will be made to the community both financially and also in conservation.
Principles of the Indigenous Tree Preservation Program:
The program is based on the direct relation between tourists willing to help and the local community. By planting a tree, a donation is made. Donors are informed of the use of each dollar given, and can, at any moment see the results of their participation.
Participants give USD 30 to SLIC. The money is used as follows:
Every year in Uganda, a lot of trees are cut to respond to the great demand of wood for new construction and wood fuel, and also the need for cleared land for agriculture. Our forest cover was so huge that people seem to think that it is an endless resource. But if we do not pay attention, the deforestation could reach a dangerous level, and have a negative impact on the ecosystem.
By participating in this program, you will sponsor a tree, and make sure that our team will take care of it so that it grows. The different trees proposed were chosen because they are getting rarer each year or because they are very fragile and need good care to grow.
Uganda is one of the poorest nations of the world. In spite of Free Universal Primary and Secondary Education (UPE and USE), people are spending a great part of their income to send their children to school. For some people it is very hard to pay for the books, note books, and basic materials to study. The Scholarship will target the needy but those who excel in various disciplines.
SLIC is already working with Nyakabungo primary School in Kanungu District to provide a scholarship to the children in need. The program was started in 2014 and five children have already received scholarships. It is a good beginning, and we are now looking to diversify the incomes for the scholarship fund. That is the reason why we linked the indigenous tree preservation program with our scholarship fund. The amount of a one year scholarship is USD 500, so for every 20 trees sold we can give a scholarship to a child.
Educating the Children
The children will benefit from the program through the scholarships. But as they are the future of Uganda, we want them to appreciate the importance of natural resource and conservation management as they grow up. Trek Africa will set up a schools’ Environmental Club in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. The program will organize some activities and classes on the theme of Nature and Environment. The school clubs will visit our sites to participate in the planting, and to give care to the trees sponsored by donors. The purpose is to train them so they will be able to, and will wish to, plant trees by themselves.
By participating in that program, you will get a certificate. Through that document, you will be able to get information about the project, to see your tree and to visit any of the schools participating in SLIC if you visit. To help us recognize your tree, we will put a little plaque at its base with your name on it. You will then be proud to own a tree in Uganda, and overall to participate in our idea of sustainable development of Uganda.
Deforestation is a global problem, and here in Uganda it has already happened. Our aim is to ensure that it is stopped. If you would like to sponsor a tree, or find out more about the project, please feel free to us at www.trekafrica.co.ug any time.
Thank you for participating in the program.