Traversing the northern districts of Uganda, one can’t help but notice a wide range of different tree species but the most noticeable is the shea nut tree that is endemic to that region. It is known for it’s numerous uses that range from butter, cosmetics, medicinal and locally in the northern part of Uganda, for cooking oil. This tree stem also has the best wood for lighting and produces the best charcoal; being the reason it is facing extinction.
72 year old Emat Idah, a caretaker of Otikori borehole rehabilitated by co2balance says she grew up harvesting firewood from the shea tree as it was the best for use. The firewood was mainly used to purify water fetched from the river for the many people in her homestead. Over time, the wood around became scarce and they had to move longer distances to look for this particular species.
In 2000, Otikori borehole was drilled to provide clean water so that they only had to look for little firewood. This was a pleasant surprise but didn’t last long as the borehole broke down. Efforts to get it fixed were futile. In 2013, co2balance rehabilitated the borehole and since then has been doing planned annual maintenance and reactive repairs to ensure that it is in constant use.
Idah, as the caretaker now protects this borehole as a major lifeline because she knows what it means to go searching for water and unfortunately, unsafe water like in the past.
For every borehole in use and providing clean water, a few trees are saved and it’s a gateway to combat climate change.