This past Friday, 252 civil society groups and NGO’s across the continent gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa for the highly coveted One Africa Award.
This year One Africa Award, a prize that celebrates organizations that take action to end extreme poverty and preventable diseases particularly in Africa, gave $100 000 prize money to Kampala based forest Advocacy Group SWAGEN (Support for Women in Environment and Agriculture).
SWAGEN is a 3000 member based organization of women who use indigenous knowledge to mitigate and improve environmental and sustainable development policies that directly affect communities that are dependent on forestry. This initiative started 23 years ago. By then only 30 women fought to respond to a national policy that restricted access to forestry through vigorous negotiations. Through this, they have established a working forest management system used through indigenous knowledge.
Currently, SWAGEN works in Rwoho National Tropical Forest in Uganda, and is part of the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests, and works with UNFAO Committee on Food Security and further holds a special consultative status with ECOSOC (the United Nations Economic and Social Council).
Through the $100 000 prize money, SWAGEN can now expand their roots to other forest communities in Uganda, ensuring that generations to come will not suffer the burden of deforestation.