UNDP: Catherine Nabutsale is a force to be reckoned with. A primary school teacher in the Sironko district of Eastern Uganda on the slopes of Mount Elgon, Catherine manages a classroom with 150 5-8 year olds. She is also the Chairperson of the Sangaasana Women’s Collective.
Established in 2003, the Sangaasana Women‘s Collective has 40 members (25 women, 5 men, and 10 youth).The group started by making crafts and rearing poultry as a source of income to enable their children to go to school. “It is women who work hard around here to make sure that children can go to school and that we can improve ourselves,” notes Catherine.
The group is similar to many rural women’s associations throughout Africa, but what sets it apart is its innovative way of reducing deforestation through the utilisation of unfired bricks that do not require a wood-fuelled kiln. Preventing deforestation of the slopes of Mount Elgon is important in a changing climate, in which scientists predict more intense rains with longer dry spells in between. By actively preventing deforestation, slopes with healthy forest cover allow water to infiltrate the ground, maintaining soil fertility, preserving groundwater supplies, and preventing erosion, thereby helping the region’s communities adapt to climate change.
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