In a unique partnership between Wales and Uganda, the Size of Wales Mbale programme passed its ten million milestone when climate change activist Leah Namugerwa and first minister Mark Drakeford simultaneously planted trees on two continents.
Size of Wales plants ten millionth tree
The Size of Wales Mbale programme has passed its ten million milestone as climate change activist Leah Namugerwa and Wales’s first minister Mark Drakeford plant trees on two continents. The ambitious Mbale tree planting scheme, which is funded by the Welsh government’s Wales for Africa programme, plants trees in the heavily-deforested region of Mount Elgon region in eastern Uganda. It is also supported by the Welsh government’s Plant! scheme, which plants two trees for every child born or adopted in Wales – one in Wales and one in Uganda.
The trees will provide local communities with fresh fruit, shelter and an important source of income
Climate activist and student striker Leah Namugerwa, 15, planted the 10 millionth tree in a special ceremony in Uganda.
At the same time, Wales’ first minister Mark Drakeford planted a “twin tree” in Bute Park, Cardiff. He was joined by children from Cwmcarn Primary School’s Eco team.
As well as fighting climate change – one of the biggest issues of our time – fast-growing trees protect local people in the Mount Elgon region from the effects of soil erosion, which can cause deadly landslides.
The trees also provide local communities with fresh fruit and shelter and an important source of income.
The tree planting took place as Wales and the world celebrated the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl Child.
Leah Namugerwa is one of a new generation of young, female climate change activists, blazing a trail alongside fellow activist Greta Thunberg. Her work campaigning for tree planting and a ban on single use plastic has begun to have a significant impact across Uganda.
She was joined by 600 children from Makunda Primary School and the members of the Sunu Women’s Group, planted more trees to celebrate the project and its plans to plant 25 million trees by 2025.
Mr Drakeford said: “The Mbale tree planting programme has been a great success, helping the most vulnerable Ugandan communities adapt to climate change.
“Tropical forests absorb nearly a fifth of all man-made CO2 emissions, making them crucial in stabilising the world’s climate.
“Planting trees in Wales and Uganda is vital in helping to tackle climate change, and helps the children of Wales feel a personal connection with their environment.”
Elspeth Jones, director of Size of Wales, said: “The planting of the 10 millionth tree in Uganda is an enormous achievement.
"The programme has been working towards this point for many years and immense passion has been invested by a lot of people in both Wales and Uganda to make this happen.
“We are all extremely proud to see these trees being planted today to mark this amazing milestone. We hope that many people from all over Wales will visit our tree in stunning Bute Park and use it as an opportunity to learn about this wonderful project and the importance of trees in tackling the climate emergency.
“We’re really excited about the next stage of the project, which is to plant 25 million trees by 2025 – anyone who wants to support this effort can donate to plant a tree in the project via the Size of Wales website.”
About This Article
Who are “Size of Wales” and what do they do?
On the charity’s website it states —
‘An area “the size of Wales” is frequently used to measure the rate of forest destruction. Through Size of Wales, we are turning that negative use of the country’s size on its head.
Thanks to the brilliant support of Wales, Size of Wales successfully reached the target of helping to protect 2 million hectares of forest (the size of Wales!) in 2013. Soon after, we decided the obvious next step was to double this impact, and aim to protect an area of rainforest twice the size of our nation!
Size of Wales encourages the people of Wales to help tackle climate change by taking simple positive actions. We work with schools and businesses to raise funds for forests and raise awareness of the importance of forests in tackling climate change.’
What do Size of Wales do?
‘We bring people in Wales and beyond together to help protect four million hectares of tropical forests, helping to reduce deforestation as part of Wales’ response to the challenge of climate change. We also raise awareness about how vital tropical forests are for us and our climate as well as for the wildlife and people who live in them.
We work in schools and colleges to engage children and young people in understanding and sharing responsibility for the protection of the world’s forests. We work with businesses, government and communities in Wales linking them with specific tropical forest areas, helping them to raise funds for the projects working to conserve those areas and doubling their fundraising efforts with our match fund.
Since launching in 2010 Size of Wales has supported 2.4 million hectares of tropical forest and supported over 43,000 people from forest communities. Right here in Wales, we have inspired over 32,000 children and young people on rainforest and climate change issues and reached millions of people in Wales and across the world with our message through our press, radio, television and social media work as well as quarterly fundraising campaigns.’