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In Commemoration of World Forest Day 2024: An Earth Volunteers Movement

We can create a more sustainable future for future generations by encouraging cooperative action and giving communities the tools they need to take responsibility for their natural resources.

One of the largest successful event Earth Volunteers have ever collaborated on.

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A revolutionary concept began to take root from a phone call in February 2024, thanks to the vision of One World Tree Planting founder Mutabazi Ronald. Who brought a plan to hold a marathon in the Bwindi Forest’s impenetrable jungles, a jungle that has one of the richest mammal faunas in all of Africa with 120 species. It also has animals, including Elephants, duikers, buffaloes, golden cats, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, black-fronted duikers, yellow-backed duiker, clawless otters, side-striped jackals, civets, numerous bats and rodents, etc

The marathon name he brought to table was “Run for Native Trees,” with the intention of bringing people together around a common commitment to environmental restoration and the protection of our species because they have been generating revenue from tourists across the globe each year. 

Despite daunting logistical challenges, a determined group of Earth volunteers embraced the call and agreed to drive it with a collective resolve to make it work. It’s unbelievable to say, but at first we were never bothered by its location.

Bwindi Forest, with its majestic canopies and rich biodiversity, stands as a symbol of the resilience and life Mother Nature can offer if we take care of it. Recognizing its significance, the community rallied behind the cause, which demonstrated the unwavering dedication the people from western Uganda have to the preservation of nature.

With just 24 hours’ notice, over 434 people, including community representatives and students from 13 different schools, gathered at the starting line very early in the morning, eager to participate in the marathon and contribute to the reforestation efforts. 

The event surpassed expectations, with over 130 trees planted. This was very small because there was a lack of communication from the team that transported tree saplings. They arrived very late, but we had speeches delivered and cultural performances showcasing the community’s unity and commitment, and winners from different categories, right from age 8 to adults, received a certificate, a t-shirt, and fruit trees that they could plant at their homes; even earth volunteer representatives came out with medals.

Winners Medal (1)

The success of the Bwindi Marathon reviewed the transformative power of collaborating with the community for good causes, especially conservation efforts. People love it and are ready to do their best when it matters. It also highlighted the potential for grassroots initiatives to catalyse meaningful change and foster a deeper connection to the natural world.

In parallel, Earth Volunteers received a second invitation to participate in a tree-planting event at Kyambogo University in Kampala. Despite logistical challenges, the team rose to the occasion, planting over 600 trees and extending gratitude to committed volunteers for their tireless efforts.

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Nonetheless, there are obstacles in the way of successful community-based conservation. Complexities in the East African setting, such as unfavourable laws and policies, call for an all-encompassing strategy to support community-driven management.

Important elements of this strategy include capacity building, enabling legislation, policy reforms, and flexible local institutions. Furthermore, sustainability depends on giving priority to action research in order to define changing roles and duties within cooperative frameworks.

In the end, the active participation of local communities determines the effectiveness of conservation programmes. We can create a more sustainable future for future generations by encouraging cooperative action and giving communities the tools they need to take responsibility for their natural resources.

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