Equity Bank, Mwirians join hands to restore forest cover on Mwiri Hill with 43,000 indigenous trees

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Equity Bank in partnership with the Kenya High Commission and Million Trees International has embarked on a tree-planting campaign that will see over 43,000 indigenous trees planted on the slopes of Busoga College Mwiri hill, including 10 acres of orchard.

The project is supported by Equity Bank to the tune of Shs85 million.

The three-phase project was officially launched during a tree-planting exercise at the school led by the Kenya High Commissioner to Uganda Maj. Gen George Owinow and Equity Bank Executive Director Elizabeth Mwerinde Kasedde.  Also joining were members of the Old Boys Association, members of the school, officials from Million Trees International and the neighbouring community.

Speaking at the roll-out exercise in Busoga College Mwiri, Ms Mwerinde said, “At Equity, we are very keen on promoting sustainable finance by concentrating on People and Planet as we conduct our business. To conserve the environment, Equity has partnered with several organisations to promote various forestry initiatives to encourage the adoption of sustainable solutions for preserving natural environments.”

Kenya High Commissioner to Uganda Maj Gen. George Owinow said the initiative will contribute towards addressing climate change. It is also an opportunity to engage young people in environmental conservation as well as provide the community with an opportunity to earn an income through tree planting and maintenance activities.

Million Trees International, which had previously partnered with Equity Bank in conservation activities in Kasese encouraged the students to embrace the culture of conserving the environment. “It is true that Uganda’s Forestry cover is gradually increasing having decreased from 24 percent of 1990 to 8.9 percent of 2017. This is attributed to the commitment of multiple stakeholders doing tree growing across the country,” said Dr Jibril Semakula Owomugisha, Founding Director of Million Tree International Organisation. 

Busoga College Mwiri sits on the slopes of Mwiri hill. The slopes of the hill on which the school was built were once a forest but have over the years been degraded due to encroachment by farmers and commercial activities. These human activities have left the hills bear and prone to erosion.

The reforestation of Mwiri hill is part of the wider Equity Group target to plant 35 million trees across the six countries it operates in. Its technical partners will provide technical support including the Identification of hotspots that require urgent tree cover or rehabilitation of degraded forests; mapping out agro-ecological zones and identification of suitable tree species for planting; identification of high-quality tree seedlings stocks across the country; and support by partner and staff at local levels to supervise the proper planting and maintenance of the trees.

Through its Energy and Environment pillar, Equity Bank supports the transition to clean energy that reduces reliance on wood fuel, charcoal, and fossil fuels like kerosene as a source of energy.

To reach a larger scale and create more impact, the Bank also created an energy loan dubbed Equi-Green Loan available digitally via mobile network and at branches. The loan supports the community and institutions to access clean and affordable energy for use.

Equity is also working with farmers to support them in purchasing both indigenous tree seedlings and fruit trees.

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