I am Mustafa Gerima, based in Northern Uganda’s Yumbe town, I'm working in collaboration with Muslims Declare to raise awareness
about the plight of the Shea Nut tree and funds so we can regenerate areas that have suffered deforestation.
The past years have seen wanton deforestation of the Shea Nut butter trees in my community. This propelled me into becoming an activist from a biology teacher in my community to protect these trees as they are listed as vulnerable in the IUCN list.
Known as Kumara in our local dialect it is a huge part of my community’s identity where we use it as baby oil, medicine, nutritious fruit and use its oil for cooking. It has also sustained us for generations as fuel as my ancestors used it only for domestic purposes.
Trees are cut down by individuals from outside my community which are then sold as charcoal in bulk for commercial purposes. This has
led to the drastic reduction in the Shea nut tree in my community. In August 2019, I decided to walk to Kampala trekking over 520kms to
the Ugandan Parliament to raise awareness of the plight of the tree. And in February 2020 I advance my cause by walking 664 km from the
Ugandan parliament Kampala to UNEP headquarters in Nairobi in record time of 19 days.
Due to the pandemic, I had to rush back as the
lockdowns took effect.
I am currently working on regeneration of areas that have been decimated by deforestation, my target this July with Muslims Declare is to plant 200 trees to commemorate the annual day, to empower women in my community by giving them an income and inspiring the next generation of tree protectors in my community.
How the funds will be used:
Each seedling from preparation to caring for it until it can be left on its own costs USD 10. All seedlings are sourced from my community
with members taking part in the nursery prep and care
Raise awareness in my community about the importance of conserving the trees
Lobby for the establishment of a Shea nut oil processing factories in the Shea belt so as to give the locals market for selling the Shea nuts to the factory and hence get more money they would have otherwise got from cutting down the trees for charcoal business.
Thank you for your donations, we will keep you up to date with the project.
Watch my speech at the UNEP offices in Nairobi here
UNEP link for the walk click here
News articles that have covered my work: