Refugees from the Oruchinga Refugee settlement in Isingiro district have joined locals in the fight to save Lake Rwamurunga from degradation.
The project is divided into activities beginning with land clearance, soil treatment, pitting, and planting trees.
Lake Rwamurunga is found in Rwamurunga Village Kajaho Parish in Kikagate Sub County. The project has seen more than 1,500 trees planted around the lake
The project dubbed Lake Rwamurunga shoreline restoration is supported by The Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project -DRDIP focusing on addressing the impacts of the protracted presence of refugees on the hosting communities.
The 200 Million US Dollar Project in Uganda is funded by the World Bank and implemented under the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
Abdu Kamoga, the District Environment officer says the need for this project of saving Lake Rwamurunga to be sustained, both the locals and refugees have been guided that the buffer zone should be 100 meters from the highest watermark.
He says the refugees have been allowed to plant grevillea and bamboo in the 50 meters belt noting that in the future when the trees are grown, they will not allow activities that cause siltation to the lake and eventually the buffer zone will be doing its ecological function.
Patrick Mugisha the field Environment officer for World Voices says other areas that will be worked on include the restoration of Busheeka open sand Quarry, Rulongo B Sand Quarry, Ruhoko wetlands Restoration and Nyarugugu wetlands restoration among.
Shallon Nyangoma the community facilitator says in the process to save the environment through the Sustainable Environmental Management Project refugees have benefited and improved their livelihoods.
Nyangoma says the project pays both the refugees and the locals who are part of the program to plant trees and also allows them to grow vegetables like tomatoes and cabbages along the shores of lake Lwamurunga.
Silagi Munkatabara, a Rwandese refugee says they have always been hit hard by drought and their gardens dried up because of the changing climate.
She says the project has not only benefited saving lake Rwamurunga but earned them a better living through the livelihood project.
Denis Mushabe, the Chairperson of Rwamurunga Lake Shore savings group says apart from the savings to improve livelihood they have decided to join in the efforts to save the environment.
He says they have decided to halt any activities like sand mining, lake shore cultivation and are following the guidelines set by the environment officer for the buffer zone.
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