Wherever There Is a Gap, Let Us Plant a Tree

I am privileged and overjoyed in leading my team – partnering with you, our longstanding hosts – to this symbolic launch of a tree-planting initiative.

It is an initiative that will see us plant thousands of trees across Busoga kingdom over the next three years. At Eskom, we are not your usual business where it is all about work-profits, work-profits. Our business attitude is tethered firmly on responsible corporate behaviour and care for our environment.

Indeed, one of our five core business objectives is ‘enhanced environmental management’. I wish to state here that the movement towards a deeper commitment to environmental protection, through planting new trees and taking care of the existing ones, is rapidly increasing all over the world. Rather than allowing to be left behind, we, at Eskom, have in fact chosen to lead, where we can, this movement locally.

At the global level, trees and forests are closely linked with weather patterns and also the maintenance of a crucial balance in nature. Unfortunately, the statistics on forest cover for Uganda point to a bleak future. The destruction of forests and other woodlands is on a steady increase. This is occasioned by, among other factors, rapidly increasing human population and the related human activities for survival.

There must, however, be concerted efforts to sustainably use this natural resource without depleting it. Indeed, while on one hand you have all watched, with horror, the devastation of our neighbours in the Bududa area if we look around some parts of the country, we can now see that some trees have been planted where the ground was previously bare.

That is commendable but, a lot more should, and can, be done. As Eskom, our modest contribution to this noble, but uphill, initiative is to sink close to 30,000 trees within a three-year period across the vast Busoga kingdom.

Today, as we launch this drive, we are sinking over 8,000 trees on this hill, Igenge alone. The entire project, whose objectives include encouraging all of us in the respective communities to conserve and protect the planted trees, shall cost over Shs 75 million – net of overhead administrative, implementation and monitoring costs.

This project speaks to the core of our strategic business objective risk and environmental management as well as the infinite quest of our corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Like the kingdom of Busoga, Eskom is, and shall remain, committed to bettering the environment in which we all live and work, if we must survive, even thrive.

While we are partnering with RUTI association to do the actual planting of trees, we encourage each one of us to do like the right honourable speaker and I, and all these distinguished guests, have done – get down and dirty yourself and plant a tree posterity will thank you.

In Uganda, I have been told that one of those appeals we are most reluctant at heeding is one to plant a tree wherever you see a hole in the ground. I am here to add my voice and lead by action wherever there is a gap, let us fill it up with a tree.

That is the only sure way we can guarantee the future of this great heritage that Busoga is, our beloved country Uganda, and our motherland Africa.

Kyabazinga afuvuwale! Mwebale eino!

The author is the managing director of Eskom Uganda. This was her speech at the launch of the Eskom-Busoga tree planting initiative at the Busoga kingdom headquarter grounds on November 5, 2014. The event was presided over by Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.

Source : The Observer

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