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Archive for the ‘Uganda’ Category

Meet A Farmer: Musingo Mikhaya

August 14th, 2015

COTAP partner Ecotrust recently launched its Farmer Focus series to highlight the social impacts of its award-winning Trees for Global Benefits (TGB) programme. In this first episode, we meet 70 year old Musingo Mikhaya, a farmer from Bukuso subcounty, in the Manafwa district of Eastern Uganda. Musingo explains how he got started with tree growing and the benefits he has reaped. He shows us around his farm and shares his perspectives on life, culture and family.

Restoring His Local Landscape


Musingo is originally from Bwakoko and moved to the area with his grandfather. Though growing trees has always been a part of his life, he got invovled with TGB after hearing an Ecotrust radio ad about climate change.

The video, which has English subtitles, is in a Bantu language called Lumasaba, which is spoken by tribes on the Mt. Elgon Landscape. Musingo first explains how the area, especially along the roads around Mbale, used to be covered with millions of Mvule trees planted during the rule of Chief Semei Kakungulu in the early part of the 20th century. He notes that most of them have been cut down. He reminisces along with Jonah Butsatsa, the interviewer and Ecotrust’s Communication and Public Relations Officer, about how the many large Mvule trees once covered and shaded the road so that you wouldn’t feel the heat from the sun.

Before TGB came along, Musingo grew eucalyptus, locally known as Kimitoto. Ecotrust sent tree specialists into the district and organized meetings and trainings. He learned how crops don’t coexist well with eucalytpus, and so he started integrating banana and other crop-compatible trees like Kimiruru, Kumikihili (cordia), and Musizi (maesopsis). The trees provide shade which helps prevent heat damage to his coffee crop, and they drop leaves that provide natural fertilizer, saving him money.

How Musingo Uses His TGB Earnings


Musingo has used some of his earnings to pay school fees for the three of his children (of 24 total, from 3 wives) who are currently in school. “It has helped me so much, really. God is Great,” he says. At 70 years old, he also uses his earnings to help cover medical costs, including those from a doctor’s appointment he’s got scheduled right after his interview with Jonah.

Folklore in the Forest


Another intriguing aspect of the interview is Musingo’s deep knowledge of traditional, local beliefs associated with the many different types of trees on his land. For example, if you place the leaf of the Shishangula in the hand of a deceased person, and then lick the leaf, it will undo any curses which have been placed on them. Then there is the Kumurukhuru tree, which is a good remedy for what the English men refer to as mumps… if you gently step on it (presumably on the root, and with a bare foot) and then walk all the way home without looking back.

Musingo’s Gratitude to Ecotrust, and to You


At the 22:15 mark, Musingo expresses his thanks to Ecotrust. It should also be viewed as a thanks to everyone who has offset their carbon emissions via the TGB program:

“We are so grateful. Well first off I would like to thank them. The little we get, has reached us. Let them not get tired… they should keep helping us like this,” he says. “We thank them a lot. Another thing I like so much is that… is when you have someone watching over you, but they also have the courtesy to come and check on you. It gives you strength. I will keep on as long as I am still alive. I will keep on planting these trees. I will not stop.”

Then the video fades out with some sweet Ugandan pop music, replete with autotuned vocals…

Support farmers like Musingo


You can create income for farming families of Ecotrust Uganda’s Trees for Global Benefits project here and learn more about the project at COTAP.org/Uganda.

COTAP’s Spring 2015 Newsletter

June 9th, 2015

Due to the large number of updates, we put a simple summary in the actual email newsletter linking to this post, which contains all the details, photos, and links. Enjoy!

New and Repeat Business Customers


COTAP thanks repeat customers Restorative Formulations and World Wide Web Hosting (aka site5) and welcomes new U.S. customer Monarch Media and new Costa Rican customers Anca Médica, Hotel Giada, and Condominio La Floresta!



If your business is interested in addressing its climate impacts in a very global and meaningful way, get in touch and we’ll set up a time to explore the possibilities!



Transparency Updates


Partner Payments & Credit Retirements. We completed our February/March round of project payments and retirements, which can be seen at COTAP.org/Transparency.

Current Round. Since last time, Cotappers have offset 603 tonnes, we currently owe each project for about 150 tonnes, and we plan to start our next round of payments in mid-to-late Summer.

Annual Reports. The 2014 Uganda and 2013 Mozambique Annual Reports are now approved by the Plan Vivo Foundation and have been posted to our Transparency page. The India project’s 2014 report is under review and the Malawi 2014 report is anticipated to be under review by the end of June.

Dropbox Folder. You can now view and download all projects’ most recent documentation in one place: here. This includes each project’s most recent annual report, Project Design Document (PDD), and Technical Specifications (TS).



New Beneficiary Profile: Sinoliyamu Banda


Click on the picture to view the full profile for Sinoliyamu Banda, a farmer participating in the Clinton Development Initiative’s Trees of Hope project in Malawi.



New & Updated Interactive Data Maps for Uganda & Nicaragua


Ecotrust Uganda recently unveiled an interactive Google map for the Trees for Global Benefits project. To view individual farmer details, click on the menu icon at top left, select a region or “landscape,” and pick a farmer. A bigger version is here, and Taking Root’s updated map for their CommuniTree project in Nicaragua can be seen here



New Project Videos from India’s East Khasi Hills


COTAP partner Community Forestry International has produced several new videos about the Khasi Hills project. The main one, “When the Forest is Home,” is a 24-minute film about India’s first internationally-certified project under the United Nations REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) program. It tells the story of Tambor Lyngdoh, the charismatic project leader who has united ten indigenous Khasi kingdoms into a Federation to protect and restore the remote Khasi Hills forests in the state of Meghalaya.



Partner News & Events


Fall Stakeholder Meeting in Sweden. COTAP will be attending the Plan Vivo Foundation stakeholder event in Sigtuna, Sweden on September 28 & 29. Many project leaders will be coming together in one place for mutual learning about challenges, trends, and best practices around such things as payments for ecosystem services (PES), co-benefits, forest monitoring, and certification of non-carbon ecosystem services.

Plan Vivo Updates. The Plan Vivo Foundation’s April newsletter unveiled their new 38-page brochure about all 12 of their projects, 5 of which are on COTAP. The newsletter also describes PV’s participation in March conferences in Indonesia and Uganda, as well as notes new project applicants from Madagascar, Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia.

Ecotrust Uganda’s March Event and June Newsletter. Ecotrust’s April/May Bulletin provides many updates on their burgeoning array of partnerships, workshops, and other activities. They also recently sent out a summary of their March conference in Kampala, attended by 170 constituents and with a theme of “Improving Livelihoods and Restoring Ecosystems.”



“Adventures in Cotapping,” or Sharing Our Challenges & Lessons


COTAP received positive feedback when we shared our decision to pause allocations the Sofala project in our previous newsletter. In order to grow and succeed, COTAP must constantly experiment with promising models to see what works and what doesn’t. Here are two recent experiments where we’re learning a LOT:

Microsoft/COTAP Employee Offset Matching Program. Last Fall, Microsoft teamed up with COTAP to pilot our innovative program to leverage their donation matching program to double the tonnes offset by employees and reduce their effective rate to $4.95 per tonne. Unfortunately, Microsoft failed to make the program visible to employees, so we’re searching for a new partner for this program.

20th Poverty and Environment Partnership (PEP) Meeting. At the request of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), we created a tailored page for “PEP 20” attendees to easily offset their unavoidable air travel CO2 emissions. The theme of the event was “Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Inclusive, Climate Resilient, Green Economies.” In terms of CO2 tonnes offset, the results from this particular event have so far been modest. That said, the lessons and visibility COTAP gained from this effort are exciting and they are laying very important groundwork for future event opportunities.



View COTAP Testimonials and Submit Yours




Cotapper Sightings!


Team COTAP was representin’ on the top of Mt. Whitney on June 1st. If you didn’t know, Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states at 14,505 feet! A Cotapper was also spotted 300 miles north… at the Lost and Found Gravel Grinder in the Sierra foothills on May 30th! Click on the photo for the glorious, full-size version.



Until Next Time…


This is COTAP’s Spring 2015 newsletter. Please take a moment to share it via the links on the left. Our newsletter archive is here. If this was shared with you and you’d like to receive updates from us directly, you can sign up http://eepurl.com/eYsWc. We share updates less than once per month and when there’s big news.

Sincerely,

Tim Whitley
COTAP.org Founder

Ecotrust Uganda’s New Interactive Project Map

May 28th, 2015

Ecotrust’s recently-updated website includes an interactive Google map for the Trees for Global Benefits project. To view individual farmer details, click on the menu icon at top left, select a region or “landscape,” and pick a farmer. A bigger version is here and you can offset your CO2 emissions through this project here.

Uganda Verification by Rainforest Alliance

January 8th, 2014


On January 6, 2014, the Rainforest Alliance issued a Verification Statement for Ecotrust’s Trees for Global Benefits project, verifying the ex-ante crediting of 514,605 tCO2e expected to be generated by additional project areas since the project’s 2009 verification. Click the below image to see the .pdf, read the full audit here, and offset your CO2 emissions through this project here.

Meet A Farmer: Beatrice Ahimbisibwe

June 11th, 2012

Name:  Beatrice Ahimbisibwe
Community:  Bitereko sub-County, Rubirizi District, Uganda
Number of planted trees: 1,400
Earnings to date:  $1,183

Total earnings (based on successful project): $1,831.25
GIS coordinates of parcel(s):  Eastings 9939186, 9939194, 9939138, 9939164; Northings 831032, 831112, 831126, 831035.
Plan Vivo ID:  0001 & 0131

Beatrice was the very first person to register with Ecotrust’s Trees for Global Benefits project in 2003 and has approximately 1,400 trees on two pieces of land.  She started with a 1-hectare plot and later expanded her plantings to a second plot of 2.5 hectares.

Beatrice is a qualified secondary school teacher, who joined the project after her husband passed away at the tender age of 25.  Her husband left her with a son and daughter all under the age of 5.

In addition to educating her children, Beatrice has invested in a private primary school, which has grown to become one of the best in the area.  Many of the children that go through her school are able to get government sponsorship for secondary education.  She has also built a new house purchased household items e.g. furniture.  Above all she considers the trees her retirement security.

Beatrice is a very enterprising women who in addition to being farmer and teacher, she is also a community mobiliser who has worked closely with her local church, village council as well as village bank.

Selecting tree species and ensuring long-term CO2 sequestration

Beatrice’s key management objective for tree planting is to produce timber.  When she joined the project, she had no idea which trees were appropriate.  With a bit of training from the project as well as consideration of available seedlings, Beatrice decided to experiment with a number of timber tree species, selecting those known to mature early and known to grow well on her neighbors’ farms.  Further, Beatrice has ensured long-term sequestration by being conservative on the amount of land she dedicated tree planting so as to not compromise land needed for food production and other agricultural activities.

In her own words…

“I have benefited a lot from carbon payments.  My investments on the farm, private school, new house would never have been possible without the carbon money.  However, there are other benefits which even if I had money, I would not have been to able; the respect and recognition I have received at both national and international levels from the several workshops where I have been invited to speak, the knowledge about the different trees and their values as well as the leadership skills.”

Beatrice’s message to Cotappers

“Work with us to make our world a better place, you will offset your CO2 emissions and we will improve our livelihoods.  There are many more farmers who would like to join the project if only we know that there are carbon buyers that will make it possible for them to join.”

You can read more about the Trees for Global Benefits Community Carbon Project, and support it by offsetting your CO2 footprint to it, at COTAP.org/TFGB-Uganda.