Stanbic Bank Partners With Roofings Ltd To Plant 15,000 Trees

Stanbic Bank through its Corporate Social Investment (CSI) flagship programme ‘Stanbic National Schools Championship’ has partnered with Roofings Group in a tree-planting initiative dubbed ‘Forever Forestry Initiative’ aimed at protecting and conserving the environment.

The partnership will see the two entities plant over 15,000 trees in over 200 schools across the country.

The ‘Forever Forestry’ initiative with the tagline ‘A seed today, A forest tomorrow’ is a flagship CSI initiative of Roofings Group housed on an acre of land with a dedicated team that has the capacity to produce up to 1,000 seedlings a day.  

While announcing the partnership, Ms Barbara Kasekende –Stanbic Bank Uganda’s Corporate Social Investments Manager noted that the bank had tailored its CSI arm to focus on sustainability and environment transformation across its projects.

She said, “The Bank’s Corporate Social Investment projects are to foster sustainability within communities with a focus on Social, Economic and Environmental (SEE) goals as we seek to ensure shared value in societies and the environment in which we operate. Promoting tree planting is one such initiative which seeks to promote conservation of the environment through the Forever Forestry Initiative.”

She continued, “We believe the youth demographic as the majority in our nation and communities can be used to create impact through environmentally friendly projects such as tree planting with a hope to groom them into responsible citizens in their various communities who know the value of environmental conservation. I am happy to state out of the targeted 15,000 trees, we have so far planted 4,000 trees and will continue to do so until the target is completed.”

Roofings Group contributed seedlings worth UGX 60 million to enforce the regreening project across the nation through schools.

Nashila Lalani, the Executive Director Roofings Group said deforestation statics are alarming. According to recent studies conducted by Africa Natural Resources Institute, forest cover loss has now increased to an estimated 200,000 hectares annually an estimated equivalent of 500,000 acres of land.

She says it has become apparent through research that we need an immediate and combined course of action to save our environment.

“Roofings group is passionately driven towards protection and conservation of the environment through its Forever Forestry Initiative. The name doesn’t leave any secret to the explanation. We want our beautiful forests to thrive,” She added.

While commenting on the partnership with Stanbic Bank, Nashila said, “Roofings Group’s strong partnership with Stanbic Bank gives us the opportunity to reach a vast majority of the community across the country through our contribution of 15,000 seedlings worth ugx 60 million. We are therefore facilitating the Stanbic National Schools Championship program in regreening hundreds of schools which in turn provides environment stability.”

Stanbic also recently partnered with UBL on the ROOT campaign to create awareness on tree planting to fight deforestation in a bid to foster sustainable development and save the environment.

“Sustaining our environment is a priority for us and we do not take these partnerships lightly. Engaging the youth and making them apart of these initiatives will certainly take us one step further to enforcing shared responsibility.” Kasekende concluded.

Speke Resort, Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Lure Customers With These Offers

The tourism sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the global travel restrictions imposed by world governments as they prevented travellers from spreading and contracting the virus that has left almost 8m people hospitalized worldwide.

Uganda, with a tourism sector dependent on foreign travellers, and with an almost non-existent domestic tourism base, is struggling to get back. Government and sector players are devising means to re-energize their businesses.

And following the partial uplifting of the COVID-19 lockdown, service providers like hotels and resorts are now eying the local market. To lure local clientele, they are coming with affordable packages and tariffs.

One such entity remodelling their business is Speke Group of Hotels who through their twin resorts – Speke Resort and Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort – has lined up affordable promos, packages and tariffs to attract guests.

Management at Speke Resort indicated that they have committed their resources to observe the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene and implemented a number of additional measures to ensure safety and well being of guests.

 Below we look at some of the promos which despite of the ongoing health risk of COVID-19 pandemic can be exploited by anyone looking for the adventure and thrill of life.

Horse Riding At The Equestrian Centre

Horse riding is a new adventure that Ugandans have embraced well and are willing to take whenever the opportunity arises. Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort’s equestrian centre is offering discounts for interest quests.

At the moment, you can enjoy 20 minutes of a pony ride for at the cost of Shs30, 000; a one hour hack at Shs55, 000; private lessons for 30 minutes at Shs50, 000; shared lessons for 45 minutes for 2 people at Shs50,  000 each; group lessons for 3-8 people for 45 minutes at Shs40, 000; special lessons for 45 minutes (10 rides) at Shs320, 000 and photoshoot for 15 minutes at Shs80, 000

Boat Rides at The Marina

The beauty of the two sister resort hotels is enhanced by the proximity of the beautiful Lake Victoria. On the side of the five-star accommodation, conference facilities, restaurants and bars, the resorts boost of some of the liveliest aqua-sport beefed by different boats for boat rides.

While at Speke Resort you can enjoy canoe water safari including a 30 minutes canoe ride at Shs40, 000, a 1-hour canoe ride at Shs80, 000 and a 1-hour harrier ride at Shs330, 000.

If the canoes don’t offer you the extreme thrill you want, the speed boats are available. You can choose a formula speed boat ride for 1 hour at only $240 or the proline speed boat for 1 hour at $240.

Fishing Trips

 Fishing on the calm waters of Lake Victoria is an adventure that you should refresh and calm any mind that is has been busy making important decisions. The silence as the hooks laylow with their baits can be the moment you need to think straight.

You can hire a canoe to go fishing for 4 hours at a cost of Shs235, 000 or 8 hours for Shs380, 000. You can also opt for the high-powered canoe for 6 hours at Shs500, 000 and or the proline speed boat for 1 hour at $240.

Weekend Accommodation Special

The two resort hotels are also offering good deals on accommodation on weekends – Saturday and Sunday.

At Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort, you can spend the night in the Executive Room (2 guests) on full board at Shs987, 000; bed and breakfast at Shs793, 950; room only at Shs671, 500.

The Executive Suite (2 guests) full board is at Shs1, 722, 200; bed and breakfast is at Shs1, 477, 300 and room only at Shs1, 279, 800. The Presidential Suite (4 guests) full board is at Shs2, 701, 800; bed and breakfast at Shs2, 263, 350 and room only at Shs1, 967, 100.

At Speke resort, the Deluxe Single Room (1 guest) full board is at Shs549, 050; bed and breakfast is at Shs474, 000 and room only is at Shs398, 950. The Deluxe Double Room (2 guests) full board is at Shs742, 600; bed and breakfast is at Shs588, 550 and room only is at Shs450, 300.

The One Bedroom Suite (2 guests) full board is at Shs742, 600; bed and breakfast is at Shs588, 550 and room only is at Shs450, 300. The Superior Room (2 guests) full board is at Shs987, 500; bed and breakfast is at Shs793, 950 and room only is at 617, 500.

The Presidential Cottage (4 guests) full board is at Shs1, 967, 500; bed and breakfast is at Shs1, 599, 750 and room alone is at Shs1, 378, 550.

Spend A Million

You can win free pony rides for children if you spend Shs1m at Nyanja and Lake Terrace restaurants.

Dad's Day Out

You can take your dad out on Father's Day at Speke Resort and Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort. And while there, if you spend Shs450, 000 at Lake Terrace or Nyanja Restaurant, you get complimentary lake shore fishing for the family, complimentary pony rides for the kid on the same day of visiting the resort. You also get complimentary glasses of wine.

Chimpanzee Sanctuary Fund Gets Sudhir's Shs10m Donation

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary has received a Shs10m donation from businessman Dr Sudhir Ruparelia to help in the feeding of Chimpanzees.

The donation was received by Joshua Rukundo, the Executive Director of Ngamba Island who lauded the businessman for the generous contribution.

He said the donation will cater for the wild animals facing a tough time due to the COVID-19 lockdown and rising water levels.

“On behalf of the management of Chimpanzee Sanctuary $ Wildlife Conservation Trust (Chimpanzee Trust) and on my own behalf, we would like to acknowledge and send our sincere appreciation for your generous contribution of UGX 10,000, 000 towards the feeding of chimpanzees on Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary,” Mr Rukundo said.

Rukondo said they have been at a breakdown state since they could no longer raise the Shs26m needed to feed the 50 chimpanzees every month.

“These funds will go a long way to ensuring the survival of the rescued and orphaned Chimpanzee in our care, as we navigate the effects of lockdown bought about COVID-19 global pandemic.”

Ngamba Island is a project of the Chimpanzees Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT), established in 1997 and provides a home for over 50 orphaned chimpanzees to live out their lives.

Ruparelia Foundation, the charity arm of Ruparelia Group has for long been supporting chimpanzee conservation efforts on Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, as part of its efforts to support education and conservation of the environment and wildlife.

Tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia was last year recognized for becoming a guardian to ‘Ruparelia’, a baby chimp at Ngamba sanctuary. This was in honour of Sudhir Ruparelia’s long time support to the sanctuary.

Speke Resort Turns To Social Distancing For Meetings Ahead Of Reopening

Hotels in Uganda are gearing up to return to full operations after two months of the countrywide lockdown caused by the COVID19 pandemic.

But to be able to do this, the government has asked them to observe the laid standard operating procedures that protect staff members and customers against the virus.

In response, Speke Resort and Conference Centre Munyonyo has come up with a strategy that shall see its clients meet at the luxurious conference centre while assured of their safety.

The resort hotel famous for its top-notch conference facilities has laid out options for delegates at meetings to effectively implement social distancing.

Speke Resort, located only 12 km from the centre of Kampala, situated in an idyllic setting at Munyonyo on the shore of Lake Victoria, is situated in an idyllic setting at Munyonyo on the shore of Lake Victoria.

It offers the ultimate in luxury accommodation and leisure facilities together with the finest conference and business meeting location in East Africa.


Kabira Country Club Reopens With Promotional Offers

The hospitality sector is slowly returning to normal after months of the countrywide lockdown triggered by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with a number of hotels reopening their gates to serve their clients.

Kabira Country Club in Bukoto has announced that it has resumed full-scale operations following the partial lifting of the lockdown by President Yoweri Museveni giving hotels and restaurants a leeway to reopen.

To serve their clients better, Kabira Country Club has come up with enticing promotional offers. The affordable offers are on accommodation. The cost to stay in the studio room will be Shs395, 000 and Shs525, 000 for a one-bedroom suite.

The three-bedroom penthouse will go for Shs950, 000. These offers come with a welcome bottle of wine and breakfast.

“The health and welfare of both you and our staff is our first priority. That's why we have taken precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus within our premises. All our staff are following the guidelines issued by the ministry of health and will ensure your safety too during your stay here,” the hotel said.

Kabira Country Club is the leading boutique hotel in Kampala, with a world-class restaurant, gymnasium, accommodation and a heated swimming pool. It is also the perfect hotel for a relaxing getaway and venue to hold special events, weddings and business meetings in Kampala.

Speke Resort Adhering To Strict Health Guidelines As It Reopens

In his latest address to the nation regarding coronavirus (COVID 19) held on 18th May, President Yoweri Museveni offered a number of measures to guide the country in the easing the lockdown that gripped the country in the past two months.

One such advisory was to let hotels and food restaurants to open for business as long as the clients observe social-distancing and other standard operating procedures like washing hands and sanitizing.

And following that presidential guidance, Speke Resort and Conference Center Munyonyo has announced that it is now open for business. “We have utilized this time to implement detailed measures to prepare ourselves to welcome you back whenever you feel safe and confident to travel and meet,” the hotel said.   

“Our team is leaving no stones unturned to ensure your visit to our resort is safe, by adhering to strict health and hygiene guidelines. We have implemented a number of additional measures for your safety and wellbeing when you stay with us,” it added.

This means that you can now visit Speke Resort comfortably without any fear of health risks as long as you take personal caution.

The award-winning Speke Resort recently announced it had come up with a strategy that shall see its clients meet at the luxurious conference center while assured of their safety. The hotel resort mapped out several sitting options for delegates in future meetings to effectively implement social distancing as the new order.


COVID-19: La Cabana Restaurant Reopens But Guests Must Wear Masks, Sanitize

The havoc caused by COVID-19 pandemic has been duly jotted in modern-day history books and will live on forever. And as the world emerges from the pandemic wrecks, humanity is being cautious. 

As Ugandans come out of the two months-long lockdown, businesses and services providers in the hospitality sector are counting their loses and emerging stronger to serve their customers.

Located at Speke Apartments Wampewo Avenue, La Cabana Restaurant, which is part of the Speke Group of Hotels, announced that it has opened its doors and ready to serve guests with their rich Brazilian, Chinese, Indian and continental cuisines.

“We have taken measures to ensure the safety of both our guests and staff.  We can’t wait to see you again at La Cabana and looking forward to hosting you again soon,” Dr Sudhir Ruparelia, the proprietor of La Cabana Restaurant said.

“We are ready to make you happy with the best items from our menu,” he added.

La Cabana Restaurant said that for customers to access the restaurant must wear mandatory masks, go through temperature checks, use sanitizers and observe social distancing. The restaurant premises undergo a 24-hour disinfection process.

La Cabana, multi-cuisine bar and restaurant at Speke Apartment last year won itself the prestigious Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor in recognition of their good services rendered to and recommended by customers.

La Cabana Restaurant is Kampala’s premium and ritzy churrasco grill restaurant in Uganda. It offers all sorts of meat accompanied by well-prepared salads and an assortment of drinks in an environment that oozes class.

While it is largely and famously known for its exotic way of preparing meat, it also caters for vegetarians. La Cabana also has a great bar where the perfect blend of cocktails is the barman’s speciality.

Hotels Start Opening For Business As Uganda Rises From COVID-19 Lockdown

The hotel industry in Uganda and the larger tourism sector have been hit hard by the COVID19 pandemic and have courageously embraced the two months-long lockdown.

With all means of transport grounded, borders closed and Entebbe Airport closed, President Yoweri Museveni on the advice of ministry of health closed many businesses including hotels as a measure to curb coronavirus.

As the country rises from the ruins of the pandemic, many hotels are opening up for business. This week, Speke Group of Hotels, a chain of hotels owned by Ruparelia Group, announced that they are ready to open up some of their hotels.

Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, the chairman of Ruparelia Group, said they have taken measures to ensure the safety of both guests and staff. As a requirement, hotels need to observe SOPs and guidelines as provided by government. 

Some of the hotels and restaurants owned by Speke Group of Hotels that are now open and ready to serve their guests include Kabira country club, Speke Apartments Wampewo Avenue, Bukoto Heights, Boulevard Apartments, Speke Apartments Kitante and Speke Resort Munyonyo.

Dr. Ruparelia said Speke Hotel, Forrest Cottages and Dolphin Suites Bugolobi, the other establishments owned by Speke Group will also open soon.

The Ruparelia Group runs some of Uganda’s largest and finest hotels and resorts serving both the luxury and budget market.

The Group offers the ultimate in luxury accommodation, leisure facilities and the finest conference and business meeting venues in Uganda, along with related businesses including a rafting company and a radio station that has for years rocked the airwaves in Uganda.

CSOs Protest Eviction Of 5 Fishing Communities On Lake Albert

Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) is leading 23 other civil society organizations protesting the impending eviction of 10,000 occupants of several landing sites on Lake Albert in Hoima and Kikuube districts.

The CSOs in a press release shared Thursday revealed that the eviction is reportedly premised on the directive of President Yoweri Museveni to stop inward migration through Uganda’s porous borders.

According to the CSOs, security operatives in Hoima reportedly led by the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), the District Internal Security Officer (DISO), the District Police Commander (DPC) and a UPDF commander have gone to several landing sites asking residents to vacate within three days or else face eviction.

The affected villages include Sebigoro B and Nkondo 1 in Kabwoya Sub County, and several villages in Kyangwali sub-county including Kyenyanja, Osusa, Busigi, Kyabasambu, Nzuzu A&B, Kiina and Kachumbe. There is already a heavy UPDF deployment across the affected areas.

It is alleged that the authorities claim that the above villages are illegal landing sites, which must be vacated immediately. Tens of thousands of people have been affected, and some have already voluntarily left in fear of an assault by the army.

The CSOs are now calling upon the government of Uganda to immediately take the following actions to protect the vulnerable communities and stop human rights violations:

  • The president through the Nakalema office should investigate the errant officers in the army and Hoima District Security officials and cause their prosecution for violating people’s rights, Presidential Directives on COVID19 and ministry of lands directives on land matters.
  • The Natural Resources Committee of Parliament of Uganda should investigate the officials behind the evections and recommend to the Minister of Lands to ensure the protection of land rights of the affected communities.
  • The Bunyoro MPs should urgently bring the matter before Parliament for discussion as a measure to protect the vulnerable communities.
  • Uganda Human Rights Commission should also fully investigate the security and other people behind the evictions and ensure that the affected get redress.
  • The Hoima District Land Board should clarify the ownership rights of the communities most of who have lived on the affected land for over years.

The Independent Magazine, via URN, Thursday reported that more than 200 fishermen who had been evicted from landing sites on the shores of Lake Albert were stranded.

The fishermen and their families were evicted on Thursday from Songagagi and Nana landing sites in Kigorobya and Buseraku sub-counties, Hoima district. They pitched camp at Hoima landing site football playground in Buseruka sub-county.

According to the fishermen, Uganda Peoples Defense Forces-UPDF soldiers ordered them to vacate the landing sites. The soldiers later demolished their houses.

Meet The Endangered Fruit Tree Of Africa

By Lindsay Cobb

Across Africa and into India, the Middle East and all throughout the tropics lives a massive shade tree. It can climb to more than 100 feet tall and it's expansive, sturdy branches hold recognizable feather-shaped leaves, providing shade and food to humans and animals alike.

The abundant fruit can take more than a decade to finally appear on new trees, but the sweet bean-shaped pod is a popular snack and ingredient for many. It's called the tamarind tree, and it's both culturally and environmentally significant to its native Africa.

Tamarind pods are typically cooked with rice and used in fish dishes. When I lived in Senegal while serving in the Peace Corps, a friend of mine would regularly visit a nearby tamarind tree, we'd shake the (at the time) small tree and snack on the sweet pods that fell. The leaves are also known for their medicinal uses and many tribes across Africa regard the tree as sacred.

Beyond its cultural importance, tamarind has a role to play in the health and vitality of the landscape, biodiversity, and environment. Tamarind can thrive on dry land while providing plenty of shade and establishing a strong root system that enables the hardy tree to survive over 100 years. Like any native tree, tamarind is part of a healthy African landscape.

Unfortunately, tamarind is rapidly disappearing from parts of Africa, including where I first fell in love with the tree – Senegal. In 2019, I attended the National Day of Trees Celebration in Senegal and was devastated to hear that tamarind has been nearly eliminated from what is known as the Peanut Basin.

This region of West Africa is focused on monocrop intensification of the peanut plant. At Trees for the Future we frequently talk about the harms of monocrop agriculture – one of the most noticeable threats of this agriculture method is the need for the farmer to clear all of their land to make room for that one crop. In the Peanut Basin, farmers are cutting down tamarind trees young and old to make room for peanuts.

Those that are not being intentionally removed from the landscape are falling victim to overgrazing. I remember traveling with an old friend and fellow tree planter Badara Ndao years ago when we witnessed the problem firsthand. A young livestock herder, who had climbed up a tamarind tree, was using a machete to chop the branches to feed to his cattle, goats, and sheep below.

I witnessed Badara bravely stand up to a stranger to protect this tamarind tree. There were words exchanged as the herder climbed out of the tree but held onto his machete. At that moment I saw the courage it takes to be an environmentalist on the front lines. The young herder never did hand over his machete, but Badara protected the tamarind tree that day.

Unfortunately, Badara and other environmentalists can't be there for every tamarind or threatened tree species and over the years the harmful practices have taken their toll. There are entire sets of native fruit trees being lost throughout the Peanut Basin – baobab trees, bush mango trees, and a handful of other species that aren't commonly known outside of west Africa.

The world is losing flora and fauna at a frightening rate. Many of us may think of endangered species as animals, but the plants and trees are paying the price of harmful practices as well. Last year, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released a report which found more than a million plant and animal species are currently at risk of extinction. A

s a lover of fruit, it breaks my heart to see monocropping farming techniques wiping out fruit trees from entire landscapes. But in the face of such daunting reports, I think we can all channel a little of Badara's bravery. We don't have to standby and allow harmful practices to continue.

Sustainable farming practices like Trees for the Future's Forest Garden Approach allow native species like tamarind to thrive. In fact, we're putting practices in place throughout our Senegalese programs to encourage farmers to replant the tamarind tree in an effort to rebuild what has been lost.

We can make choices that support sustainable farming and land management, so that future generations can live in a healthy, stable world and we can make sure they're able to enjoy the little things in life, like enjoying a sweet piece of fruit on their way home from school.

Lindsay Cobb is the Marketing and Communications ManagerTrees for the Future

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