Hi. I am the ITF Chief Execuitve and I am running the London Marathon for the first time to raise funds for our partner in Uganda, Masaka and District Landcare Chapter (MADLACC). For me this will be a big personal challenge. The last time I completed a Marathon was nearly five years ago in 2014. This will be my third Marathon and my first time running the biggest Marathon in the world.
ITF has supported MADLACC since 2012 and they do excellent work promoting agroforestry to improve livelihoods and combat poverty. They have an innovative approach, working through schools to reach out to the community and engage pupils, teachers and parents. Tree nurseries have been introduced into the grounds of the participating schools and junior Land Care Clubs established in order to teach the children about the importance of trees, as well as good tree nursery management. 20 teachers were trained in agroforestry techniques and the schools encouraged to plant some of the seedlings from these nurseries in their grounds. The remaining seedlings were given to parents of the students to plant at home. 15,143 trees were planted in total as part of this project.
Participating schools noticed some significant benefits from their students learning new skills outdoors. Butale Primary School reported an improvement in academic performance after taking part and has since become a learning centre for 4 other schools. They have also seen an improvement in the students’ nutrition since growing fruit, this has been especially beneficial for students who need a good diet to support HIV treatment.
Children have been able to plant trees at home with their parents; one parent who has benefitted from this is Mike Lwanga. Before being part of this project, many seedlings were too expensive for Mike to buy and plant on his farm. When MADLACC started working at the school that Mike’s four children attend, he received 56 seedlings to plant on his family’s land. He has now planted Avocado trees, Albizia trees to shade his coffee crops and Calliandra trees, which will provide fodder for his livestock.
I am raising funds to support MADLACC's Tree Planting for Poverty Reduction and Improved Livelihoods project, which is an extension of their work. The project aims to plant over 38,000 trees with local communities and to engage more school children in learning activities related to tree planting and care. The trees planted in schools will provide the school children with fresh fruit and vegetable leaves to improve their nutrition. It will increase tree cover in school grounds, as well as on surrounding farms and households. It will also have a positive effect on the participants’ livelihoods, as trees will be planted that improve soil fertility along with fruit trees, leading to increased crop yields. My target is to raise £100 for every mile of the marathon; a total of £2,600.