Uganda loses close to 73,000 hectares of forest cover annually, which according to some experts, has been the country’s biggest climate threat. At the centre of deforestation is the lucrative charcoal trade. An estimated 95 percent of Ugandans depend on charcoal and wood for cooking and many people in Uganda are making a living from this trade, also known as the ‘black gold’ trade. The lucrative charcoal trade is not only wreaking havoc on forests but also on its most famous inhabitants, the rare gorillas.
Collecting data and creating awareness
With the phenomenal growth of mobile technology in the last ten years we are, more than ever, able to reach out to many people in countries most affected by deforestation, like Uganda. TTC joined hands with WWF’s Earth Hour and Trac FM to combine mobile technology and radio to address the impact of this major environmental problem. Trac FM involves people in monitoring service delivery in their community through radio polls. Responses to the polls are instantly visualized in the radio studio so talk-show hosts can discuss the real time data with their guests and give feedback to listeners on what is happening on the ground. Poll results were published in newspapers and magazines in Uganda. This successful multi-layered campaign, in which many organizations, citizens and media outlets in Uganda collaborated, was the first of its kind and is a great example of a joined effort to fight deforestation.