Before the war broke out in Congo, I was living a comfortable life. My father was working as a medical doctor and a pastor. But all this changed when the war broke out; we lost everything and had to flee to Uganda.
My family and I resettled in Kyaka II refugee settlement, but the new life was nothing like we knew before. We couldn’t afford even the basics, and as a result majority of my elder siblings were not able to continue with their education. Fortunately, my family successfully managed to support me until I completed my secondary education but had no means to support me further.
In 2012, I heard about the DAFI scholarship program through a friend, I applied and was among the successful applicants. I was selected by Windle International Uganda formally (Windle Trust Uganda) to pursue a four (4) years course, in “BSc. Conservation Forestry & Product Engineering” at Makerere University.
While at the University, I cofounded Makerere University DAFI Students Association (MUDASA) where I served as the Vice President and Secretary General from 2012 – 2013, the President from 2013 – 2015 and Legal advisor from 2015 – 2016. During my tenure as the MUDASA President, I managed to visit most of the refugee settlements during outreach trips. It is then that I realized that environment in all settlements was degrading, and there was need to conserve and restore them, given that the refugees entirely depended on small scale farming.
After graduating in 2016, I founded an NGO called Live in Green Live in Wealth Youth Initiative (LGLWYI) as a way of giving back to the community. The primary mission of the NGO is “To Eradicate Poverty, Food insecurity and foster high quality life for people while safe-guarding the long term environmental sustainability”.
Since then, LGLWYI has been implementing an Agroforestry (Increase Green Cover) project in Kyaka II Refugee Settlement with funds from UNHCR under Youth Initiative Fund. I have created jobs for Ten (10) Youth and I have mobilized and formed 24 youth groups (each group containing 30 youth) who sensitize the public about preserving the environment and hiring land from OPM to grow fruit trees.
LGLWYI has one of the largest tree nurseries in Kyegegwa district, nurturing over 50,000 seedlings per planting season. The seedlings nurtured include Pine, Eucalyptus, Mangoes, Citrus, Coffee, Passion fruits, Paw Paws, Avocados, Jackfruits and Guava trees. They are distributed to individual farmers, schools and churches free of charge as a way of eradicating poverty and conserving the environment.
In 2018, ACTED-Uganda, donated a Greenhouse (14m by 25m) to LGLWYI which enabled the organization to increase the number of seedlings raised per season from 50,000 to 80,000.
During the lockdown, my team partnered with the district health sector and VECs in Kyaka II, to mobilize people and sensitize them on how to keep safe from Covid-19 by distributing face masks.
In 2021, I was listed among the top 100 African youth with brilliant ideas, under the Land Accelerator Africa 2021 program by World resources institute based in the US. With this nomination, I won 5,000 USD.
I also recently signed a contract with JESE (Joint Environment to Save the Environment) for a 2-year project titled, “Promoting inclusive natural resource management among refugees and host communities”, that is funded by the EU (European Union) and implemented by OXFAM. The project’s aim is to restore the degraded environment in refugee settlements and improve the livelihoods of the refugees and host communities through promoting fruit farming.
My future plan for LGLWYI is to replicate the project to other settlements mainly Rwamwanja and Nakivale refugee settlements to create more job opportunities for the youth and promote environmental conservation.