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CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change poses an existential threat to Uganda, intensifying socioeconomic inequalities and endangering ecosystems. The consequences are particularly dire today, where 2.3 billion people rely on traditional cooking methods to prepare meals, resulting in approximately 3.7 million deaths annually (Wambi, 2023), making it the third leading cause of premature death. In Uganda lone, over 20,000 lives are lost each year. Women in particular, bear the brunt of these challenges, facing adverse health effects from harmful smoke inhalation.

Additionally, the danger of plastic waste compounds these issues, posing additional threats to public health and environmental integrity. Improper disposal of plastic waste contaminates water bodies, soil, and air, contributing to ecosystem degradation and threatening biodiversity. The spread of single-use plastics exacerbates these concerns, further straining waste management systems and worsening pollution levels. Notably, poverty remains a central driver of these challenges.

Get Water Uganda has addressed these intertwined challenges through her multifaceted approach that integrates sustainable solutions in environmental protection, waste management, and education among 20,069 households in the five sub-counties of Busime, Buhemba, Buhehe, Lumino and Majanji through

Tree planting activity: GWU's commitment is evident in her ambitious tree planting schemes that emerges as an influential tool for fostering environmental stewardship. Beyond being a mere conservation endeavor, tree planting interweaves seamlessly with SDG 13-Climate Action. This involves a few steps such as;
• Community engagement and education to raise awareness about the benefits of fruit trees through training sessions and field demonstrations.
• Site assessment and planning for suitable areas
• Selection of the right fruit tree species, here GWU collaborates with households to select tree species that are well-suited to local environmental conditions and compatible with existing crops and livestock and trees that provide multiple benefits, such as nitrogen fixation, fruit yields etc.
• Access to resources and support: GWU provide households with access to quality tree seedlings and technical assistance and collaborate with local sub-county agricultural officers for further support
• Monitoring and Evaluation sessions where we track the progress and outcomes as indicated by fruit yields, fertile soil, biodiversity and household livelihoods.
• Knowledge sharing and peer to peer learning among farmers to encourage the adoption and spread of fruit tree planting practices within the villages.

With this, GWU has not only enhanced biodiversity but also assisted to stabilize soil, improve water retention, and provide shade for crops, thus enhancing agricultural productivity and resilience to climate change

Education and awareness campaigns: SDG 12 calls for increasing awareness and building capacity for sustainable consumption and production practices. Educating individuals, businesses and communities about the harmful effects of plastic pollution and promoting sustainable alternatives supports progress towards this goal, hence GWU aligns with SDG12 through her successfully awareness sessions and trainings about the detrimental effects of plastic pollution. This has led to widespread adaptation to collection of plastic waste from the villages of Lumino, Buhehe, Busime, Majanji, and Buhemba sub-counties and ignited a groundswell of support for responsible waste disposal practices hence a significant reduction in plastic waste across these communities.

Sustainable waste management initiatives: SDG12 emphasizes the efficient use of resources and the reduction of waste generation, including plastic waste. Managing plastic waste aligns with the goal of promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns by minimizing resource use and environmental impacts. Through community led waste management initiative, GWU established and empowered 12 local plastic collection groups to take lead in waste management efforts including plastic waste collection, sorting, recycling, promotion of the use of recycled materials, hence creating employment opportunities and reduction of plastic waste in the community.

Furthermore, GWU has reformed waste management practices at household level through self-dug/innovative composite pits equipped with dual compartments, dedicated to segregated plastic collection and organic waste decomposition

The decomposable waste is not only nutrient-rich manure in household vegetable gardens but also enriches soil quality and stimulates economic prosperity through enhanced crop yields. This holistic approach not only mitigates environmental degradation but also fosters socio-economic resilience, exemplifying our commitment to fostering sustainable communities

Expected Outcomes: Through a sequence of interventions, GWU envisions a cascade of positive outcomes. These include a notable reduction in single-use plastic consumption, enhanced recycling rates, increase in household income from sale of fruits and reduction of respiratory diseases.

The initiatives also aim to optimize resource utilization, foster better decision-making processes, increase community involvement, strengthen partnerships, and increase resilience to environmental challenges. Ultimately, these efforts aim to initiate a profound culture shift towards sustainability, with enduring positive impacts on both the environment and society at large.

Targeted direct beneficiaries
• 20,069 Households
• 12 Plastic Collection Women groups

Indirect beneficiaries

• Plastic Recycling companies
• Small scale entrepreneurs (plastic collectors, transporters)
• Global Community
• Gold standards community

Looking ahead, GWU is steadfast in her commitment to broaden its impact to combat climate change and environmental degradation, Future strategies entail the expansion of plastic collection groups, scaling up recycling infrastructure, expanding educational programs and community engagement to mitigate plastic waste, alongside the establishment of new partnerships with governmental and non-governmental entities, recycling companies and entrepreneurs, increasing tree planting efforts and organize study tours, knowledge exchange events where households can share experiences, lessons learned and best practices. GWU remains firm to environmental stewardship, commitment to innovating and leading by example in addressing the pressing environmental challenges of our era.