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Ministry of Water and Environment (MoWE) Forest
Sector Support Department (FSSD) department has a mandate to monitor all tree
growing in the country. Tasked with this mandate, there was a big gap in the ability
to have a representation of the tree growing coverage in the country.
A needs assessment exercise was thus conducted at the department, and a course in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) was recommended for the department, to improve forest cover reporting for the department.
This course instructs on how to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present spatial or geographic data. It has been a saviour for the department. Most staff did not know what GIS is and how it can be used to improve reporting. Now they all understand the GIS component and appreciate how it eases their work in reporting forest coverage developments in Uganda.
“Most of the time when we went to the field, we just came back with word reports without any physical evidence to back it up,” Irene Nanyondo, a forestry officer with the Ministry of water and environment mentions. “After this training, we now endeavor to carry GPS equipment and report using maps,” she adds.
This implies that the department is now closer to where they envision it. A one stop center for all forestry coverage needs.
The department has also now set up a GIS unit that is fully functional although faced with a few challenges such as lack of up to date equipment.
Charles Byaruhanga, the principal Forestry officer intimates,” there is a big change in our work after this training. Now we can use this knowledge to collect data and report on the data.”
Joseph Agaba, the FSSD department Economist and also training beneficiary, is very appreciative of the training they received. He feels the training was very essential for them by nature of the work they do in forestry cover reporting. “We were unable to produce maps to report on our work. But now we can easily produce maps, based on GPS points which has greatly improved our reports quality,” Joseph mentions.
Recently after the Bududa landslide saga, the department was requested to provide aerial imagery of the area which they were able to provide. The local government after noting the very vivid reports provided by the department, requested the department to source for a trainer to also train them in geographical information systems.
‘’We are really very great full to the SDHR project that ensured we got this training.’’ And for all the trainings they have offered us, we appreciate. Adds Charles. ‘The trainer that trained us in GIS was very knowledgeable and we commend Enabel for sourcing the best trainers to train us,’’ Joseph concludes.