Empowering Farming Families

Tree of Life helps Northern Ugandans to reduce poverty and deforestation. The project also creates jobs for graduate young men.

Trees Planted

By 2022, 100,000 trees will have been planted specifically for charcoal production. This fast-growing tree grows back from the stump after being cut down. Replanting is not necessary!


Charcoal Production

The harvest is burned in a kiln that generates 30-40% more yield than a traditional kiln (10-15%). This gives higher quality charcoal and less waste.

Families Participating

By the end of 2023, we hope that at least 150 families can participate in the training program.


People in Northern Uganda are still feeling the effects of the civil war that raged in the 1980s on a daily basis. The region is lagging behind the rest of the country when it comes to economic opportunities. Many orphans lack education. Now that they are adults, it is difficult for them to find work.

In addition, large amounts of trees are cut down in Uganda for the production of charcoal, which people need for cooking. Illegal logging of unsustainable forests is hurting the impoverished farmer. If the current trend continues, there will be no more forests by 2050. In addition to the rising wood price, this indirectly threatens the chances of survival in this region.

Statistics Uganda

There are many orphans in Uganda due to the violence of war


Most of the children are now adults and are looking for a livelihood


Due to the long-term consequences of the war, it is difficult to build a livelihood, especially in Northern Uganda


94% of Ugandans use firewood from unsustainable sources

The Charcoal Project

We plant 100,000 fast-growing trees on 26 hectares, suitable for the production of charcoal

The forest needs maintenance, this creates jobs

In the future, this project can serve as a demonstration farm

Families receive training and seedlings to plant on their own land

To Work

Partner organization Hope Alive has purchased a piece of land that is used for forestry. Three graduate young men, Brian, Robert and Jovi, have received training at the Kijani Forestry Farm (also a local partner).

They have learned to take care of trees and how to cut them properly. In addition, they have learned to dry the wood, burn charcoal and plant trees.

Interested (farming) families can be trained and provided with resources to plant new trees on their own land.

 Building the Future Together

  • The land has been prepared for planting and the first trees have been planted!

  • During the course of 2023, we hope to further expand the training farm together with Hope Alive. In 2022 several buildings were constructed. From a “hotel” for insects to a barn for the pigs.

  • The trees will be harvested in 2025. They are then ready for charcoal production. With the help of a “smart oven” a higher yield is achievable (30-40%) instead of 10-15%. The kiln provides higher quality charcoal and less waste.

In the coming years, the project will continue to produce charcoal using the wood harvested from the demonstration farm and the participating families. In addition, other projects have been started, such as keeping piglets, growing crickets for consumption and providing business training. With the support of Faunawatch, a beekeeping course was given and 30 families received a beehive.

The goal is for all of this to create a more diverse income stream for families.

Did you know…

Does planting trees improve the overall health of the soil and reduce erosion? This will have a positive effect on people’s regular agricultural activities.

A possible future follow-up project is the distribution of energy-efficient stoves in the region? This also contributes to the health of the families and reduces the pressure on the forests.


    Gertjan and Kate Flikweerd work for Hope Alive, a local partner of Tree of Life. Gertjan is responsible as supervisor of the project. He and his family live in Gulu.

    Robert, Brian and Jovis: three Hope Alive students who graduated with agricultural degrees also form part of the team. They are in charge of the project on a daily basis. They collaborate with other students, staff and members of the local community.

    In this video (in English) Gertjan gives a tour of the project!

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