The project, “Enhancing Forest Tenure and Governance in Uganda” was designed by the Ministry of Water and Environment through the Forest Sector Support Program in 2014. The project aimed at securing forest tenure rights for the Community Forest Owners and Private Forest Owners through registration ad declaration of their forests. With support from DFID through FAO, the project got funding for implementing the interventions suggested in three districts of Uganda for one year (2015). The project areas were Masindi, Lamwo and Bushenyi Districts. The Forest Sector Support Department together with the Uganda Forestry Working Group of which Tree Talk Plus is a member implemented the project.
Tree Talk Plus was assigned the responsibility of implementing the project activities in Lamwo District and in particular AgoroAgu Landscape.
Summary of engagements
- Community groups and Private Forest Owners were financially and technically supported to develop Forest Management Plans through sensitization/ awareness raising meetings, capacity building and continued field monitoring. Sensitization issues discussed included among others; conflict resolution, land matters in relation to forest management, understanding the process of forest registration and declaration and Community Forest Management. Communities were made to understand their forest tenure rights and how best they could strengthen them through registering and declaring their forests,
- A drama skit on forest tenure and governance was developed and translated into Luo, a language spoken in the Agoro-agu landscape where the project was implemented,
- A poster entitled, “Forest tenure in Uganda was designed, printed and 3,000 copies disseminated encouraging community members to know their tenure rights to register their forested land to and to manage forests better. 3,000 bumper stickers carrying similar messages were also distributed to stakeholders.
- Live and recorded radio talk shows and spot-messages on forest tenure in Uganda,
- 3,000 copies of a policy brief on forest tenure in Uganda were developed and disseminated this gave approaches, results and recommendations about the project and highlighted major issues in in forest tenure.
- The communal system of land tenure in the north largely prohibits the forest dependent communities to exercise their ownership rights. This is because it is based on a strong clan leadership, which emphasizes that ownership is for all clan members.
- The Land Board no longer issues the Certificates of Customary Land Ownership. This therefore means the land has to be registered under the freehold system of land ownership,
- The field visits to other areas by the participants to see how similar activities are executed elsewhere is a powerful tool in promoting sustainable forest management,
- Print materials like posters and stickers are more embraced by the learned whereas talk shows were an effective way of delivering messages to local farmers.
- Land is considered a property only for men in the northern region. Only 15% of over 150farmers engaged were female, and none of these went ahead to try and develop management plans.
Thoughts for future engagements
- There is need to promote other income generating activities such as bee keeping to reduce pressure on forests from which the natives seem to derive all their livelihood.
- More women are required as natural resources managers as they are the primary users. Future engagements should encourage women to be given rights to own land under such customary arrangements.
- REDD+ Communication and Awareness Raising project (2016 – 2017)
Tree Talk Plus has supported the development of communication materials for the REDD+ process in Uganda.
Concerns addressed by the project
In 2016 Tree Talk Plus was contracted by the Ministry of Water and Environment to run a communications campaign for REDD+ Participatory structures. The key questions faced by experts communicating REDD+, and which are therefore similar for the Ugandan case include raising awareness to ensure an inclusive and informed consultation and participation by relevant stakeholders and the provision of comprehensive, accurate and timely information about REDD+. The identification of existing participatory structures and/or formation of participatory structures require effective communication. Secondly, these structures need to be equipped with the necessary information to support future communication efforts on REDD+. This task for Tree Talk Plus work under this project is to address this concern as Uganda prepares itself for REDD+.
Objectives of the assignment
The overall objective of this assignment is to:
- Develop and produce communication messages and tools/materials;
- Provide support to the three NGOs in disseminating communication messages and raising awareness within their scope of assignment and geographical locations.
The specific objectives of this assignment were;
- Contributing to the communications undertakings for undertaking capacity building of participatory structures for REDD+ in Uganda
- Enhancing awareness of various stakeholders on REDD+ issues through;
- Identifying the target audience of all relevant stakeholders that the REDD+ Strategy formulation process should target so that they can be consulted and so that they can effectively participate.
- Developing key communication messages and packaging them into appropriate multimedia forms for ease of dissemination through appropriate channels.
- Communicating to the stakeholders on Uganda’s preparations and outcomes for “becoming” Ready for REDD+.
- Developing a Uganda REDD+ brand including a REDD+ poster or brochure and related electronic media.
- Designing and implementing a Communications monitoring and evaluation framework to assess the effectiveness of messaging and communications for this phase and future phases of the program.
- Approach and methodology
Tree Talk Plus’ task was to support the strengthening of Uganda’s Consultation and Participation structures to support the consultation with stakeholders and enhance full and effective participation of stakeholders in Uganda’s REDD+ process through communication and raising awareness.
The methodology was guided by the Development Communication Theory that stresses the need to communicate positive developmental programmes with due consideration of the ecological, political, economic, social and cultural/religious needs. Berlo’s S-M-C-R Communication Model informed the methodology. The model (Figure 1 below) guides that the SOURCE develops the MESSAGE that is transmitted along a CHANNEL to the RECEIVER that interprets the messages based on the individual’s communication skills, attitudes, knowledge, and social and cultural system.
The REDD+ components/issues/options guided the development of the messages for the regions where the partnering NGOs are operating. The partnering NGOs including the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Wildlife Conservation Society and Environmental Alert (IUCN, WCS, and EA) priotised the issues/options within the different regions. These formed the bulk of issues for which communication messages were developed, packaged, translated, and transmitted/disseminated through various channels back to the regions where the participatory structures exist.
The current campaign is too narrow, only focusing on formulated participatory structures for REDD+. For this campaign to assume some level of success it has to piggyback on communication initiatives of stakeholders already working on climate change and REDD+ related activities. Communication materials may therefore be shared beyond participatory structures.
REDD+ concept is new and is still evolving. There are capacity gaps even in NGOs at national and regional level that could play a role in disseminating messages and engage in discussing REDD+ issues. This makes it eminent to focus communication campaigns majorly on access to information explaining the process and its need to all stakeholders.
In Uganda, REDD+ implementation will differ from region to region hence a need for a comprehensive communication strategy covering all communication requirements for different regions for proper awareness.