Community Action Planning for Natural Resources Management in Agago District, Northern Uganda
In Agago District (Northern Uganda) the decimation of natural forest and wetlands is on the increase. This trend, which is also found in other districts in the country, is attributed to several causes. Trees and shrubs are cut for firewood and charcoal production and woodland cleared for farmland. Wetlands are encroached upon for crop farming, especially during the dry season. Over the years, the District Local Government (DLG) and partners have invested considerable efforts in curtailing natural resources loss. They have been less successful than they hoped, possibly because of the limited involvement of local communities in the planning of interventions.
Under the WASH SDG program in Agago District, RAIN (a brand of Aidenvironment) has introduced an approach to natural resources management that places local communities at the heart of planning and implementation. Through Community Action Planning (CAP), communities reflect upon the status of natural resources in their area, identify issues and causes, are given guidance on determining solutions and implementation options (including roles for themselves, the local government, and other stakeholders), and are empowered to lobby for action from duty bearers.
Following a methodology developed for the project, CAP sessions were held in mid-January 2019 in the sub-counties of Lapono and Piamol in Agago District. In participatory approaches communities defined what they consider a “natural resource” and identified problems (which included charcoal burning, cultivation and grazing in wetlands and marshes, deforestation and uncontrolled dumping of industrial waste) and potential solutions. The solutions included tree planting by all households, the formulation of byelaws to be enforced by the community themselves, and joint planning of the utilization of wetlands, marshes, and grasslands. The sessions were moderated by officers from the DLG. This created the opportunity for dialog and the exchange of information and knowledge between communities and district officials, which is otherwise difficult-to-arrange because of limited resources.
The process will be continued in the coming months: issues and solutions will be prioritized, and a division of roles and steps toward implementation of the solutions further defined.
Akwanga, Akwanga central and Alomur villages in Piamol Sub County developing their community action plan and for advocacy for natural resources protection and conservation