Wednesday, 02 March 2016
SENCATA’s FSC activities on track
On a recent field-visit, Annah Agasha Project Manager at the FSC Africa Regional Office in Uganda, took a closer look at the Ssese Island Nature Conservation and Tourism Association (SENCATA) project activities and discussions with SENCATA’s project managers. The main objective was to evaluate the association’s progress on its 2015 SHF project activities.
Located in Kalangala district on Kalangala Island, one of the main islands on Lake Victoria, in Uganda, Sencata, an association, with 71 members won their SHF grant in 2013. The association aims to achieve FSC certification and the grant was secured to help them undertake forest inventories for four forests, to develop four management plans for integration into FSC certification, and to implement aspects of the business and management plans.
Reports, observations and discussions with SENCATA managers indicate that SENCATA is on track with project activities and objectives. Awareness has been raised of sustainable forest management to over 200 participants and a community nursery has been established where over 4 000 tree seedlings were raised and distributed to community members, to enrich individual natural forests.
By the time of the field visit, four individual forest inventory draft reports were in place and were scheduled to be finalised in December 2015 or early January 2016. This information will enable the development of management plans. The association has also built partnerships with key organisations such as WWF, which offer technical support in certification as well as additional financial support.
SENCATA also collaborate with National Forest Authority (NFA), and an MOU between the two is underway. The association’s SHF project was one of the sites where FSC National standard was field tested. Members of the association who participated, were enthusiastic to learn more about FSC principles and criteria as they went through them, and they expressed need for more information and training.
Asked what lessons they had learnt from the project activities undertaken so far, two members of the association noted that it was important for them to continue working as a group to achieve their goal of certification. Stephen Kizza, the association’s secretary recounted that he had acquired skills in reporting and budget management. Stephen noted that the first report they submitted to FSC was not very good as they had wanted, however, with discussions and regular guidance from Joachim, Stephen’s skills improved greatly. ‘I promise, the 2015 project report will be super’ Stephen said. Joachim Meier-Dörnberg is the Manager of the SHF at FSC International.
Stephen further noted that most of their activities planned for the project were on track, and they were working smarter, to further improve their record keeping, recruit more members into the association and deliver on some of the project activities that were behind schedule, for example, Demarcating forest boundaries with pillars and live markers to mitigate illegal activities, ensure tenure and contribute to the livelihood of adjacent communities.