Mehedi Hasan

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About Us

Who We Are

The Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST) is a not-for-profit conservation organization established in Uganda in 1999 to conserve biological diversity and enhance social welfare by promoting innovative and sustainable environmental management. We deliver conservation finance “where it matters most” – to thousands of smallholders undertaking restoration as a business in rural communities. We deploy conservation incentives in ways that enable ECOTRUST to consider investments that others can’t. We deliver conservation finance through innovative community structures and solutions that attract additional capital from private sector to invest in the green opportunities represented by landscape restoration as a business. We make innovative restoration investments that promote climate resilient solutions on a commercial basis and crowd-in private sector finance by playing an intermediary role and undertaking leadership in marketing environmental services. We have developed a valued niche in conservation finance drawing lessons from our flagship Trees for Global Benefit (TGB) program – a carbon-offsetting scheme under the Plan Vivo System. 

Our vision is “Climate Resilient Communities and Sustainable Landscapes”. Our mission is to “conserve biological diversity and enhance social welfare by promoting innovative and sustainable environmental management”

Our Core Values

We undertake value-based development. The work we do is driven by a set of core values. We honor them in our decisions, express them in our relationships, and act consistently with them in our work. We state them in the present because values are lived not legislated.

We are accountable to ourselves, to the organization, and to the people we work with at all levels. We are stewards of all resources entrusted to us. We plan for and manage them responsibly

We value people, and our success is based on building TRUST with all the key stakeholders. We are transparent in all our dealings, and because of this, we have built business relationships of trust that guarantee the meeting of expectations of all our core stakeholders

We are people of high integrity. Our word is as good as a contract. We operate in such a way that when people think about character, honesty, and integrity – they think about ECOTRUST. We are dependable and reliable.

We strive for excellence in everything we do recognizing that excellence is about doing our very best in everything. We are always critical of ourselves and looking for ways to do and be better. We are committed to being creative, innovative, dynamic, and resourceful; and to use our knowledge and experience to make a difference

We are a matrix organization. We recognize that Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM). We embrace diversity and build upon everyone’s unique abilities. We reward the team while also rewarding individual excellence.

Strategic Objective 4

Build a Strong, Effective and Efficient organization of choice in delivering a triple-win biodiversity, climate Change and sustainable livelihoods’ outcome “where it matters most”

ECOTRUST has grown significantly over the past 22 years of existence. We are a small but robust and complex organization “punching way beyond our weight”.  Over these years we have developed many positive attributes that we seek to sustain and consolidate over the next strategic period.  We do this aware of the weaknesses and threats that seek to draw us back but chose to focus on our strengths and opportunities. SO4 will invest in building the financial resilience of the organization to ensure sustainability. SO4 will invest in automated systems and a strong workforce that will lift the organization to new visibility and professional levels over the next period. SO4 will invest in building strategic partnerships and consortia that will lift the organization to new levels of resource mobilization and a broader projects portfolio. SO4 with support professional participation in key national and international biodiversity, climate change and sustainable processes to deliver ECOTRUST positions and views on sustainable approaches that deliver impact where it “matters most” SO4 will consolidate the overall TGB business model and the blended financing approach that has built the flagship Trees for Global Benefit program into a program that defines ECOTRUST value. The key result areas under SO4 will include:

SO4 will support the building financial assets including a true Endowment Fund (EF); growing the land trust and grant management business lines; and further capitalizing the Quasi Endowment. SO4 will also support resource mobilisation to grow annual turnover from US$2m to US$10 over the next 5 years; and increase the share of public financing in the annual budget to 50% 

SO4 will support project proposal development and fund raising to grow project portfolio to 50% budget share. SO4 will support the establishment of a Technical Associates Program for strategic recruitment and retention of a reliable and stable workforce to support program expansion. SO4 will support policy and expert engagement to raise ECOTRUST professional visibility at all levels and build partnerships and consortia for enhanced resource mobilisation.

SO4 will support the already on-going system automation in finance, monitoring and evaluation and performance measurement and appraisal. This will be complementary to the already advanced cloud computing systems linked to Office 365.

SO4 will support the on-going process of establishing an Advisory Council as the topmost governance structure of ECOTRUST. SO4 will support further development, documentation and sharing of the ECOTRUST impact narrative. SO4 will support the internalization and implementation of the new strategic plan and the development of a Business Plan for rolling it out over the next five years. SO4 will support the growth of all business lines and the overall restoration as a business model in ECOTRUST programming. SO4 will support the business development approach across all landscapes. SO4 will support a robust risk management system over the next five years

Programme Locations

ECOTRUST operates across Uganda with a focus on three main landscapes: Queen Elizabeth National Park landscape and Murchison-Semliki landscape in the Albertine region of South-Western Uganda, and the Mount Elgon Landscape in Eastern Uganda. These are all landscapes of global biodiversity significance, but they are also hot spots for climate change induced disasters – especially floods, mud slides and changing weather patterns that result in frequent and unexpected droughts and changes in rainy seasons.

Our Busines Model

Over the last 17 years ECOTRUST has developed a valued niche in conservation finance – raising and managing capital to support land, water, and resource conservation – through the establishment of investment mechanisms that activate one or more cash flows generated by the sustainable management of an ecosystem. We have established a niche in restoration as a business – balancing reforestation and livelihoods.

Part of the cashflow remains with the ecosystem to enable its conservation, while part is returned to investors. ECOTRUST operates a blended business model that combines private financing with public financing as well as internally generated revenue. The different resource mobilization operations have been grouped into 8 business lines. Each business line contributes to the key ECOTRUST result areas (KRAs). The strategy has been to have each business line break–even and any surplus used to capitalize an ECOTRUST Endowment Fund composed of several Trust Funds. Figure 1 below shows the overall ECOTRUST business model that links its niche in conservation fine to its key result areas (KRAs) and to the business lines that operationalize the KRAs. The KRAs will change to strategic objectives over the next period.

Our Strategic Position

We are Strategically Positioned – ECOTRUST is a rapidly growing organization with a dynamic and complex business model. Over the last 20 years, ECOTRUST has positioned itself strategically in the thematic and operational space in order to deliver optimally and compete effectively at both national and international levels.

 Within the thematic space – ECOTRUST has designed interventions that address the nexus between biodiversity, climate change and sustainable livelihoods in an integrated manner as opposed to a single thematic focus. These thematic areas are interlinked through conservation finance and environmental outcomes.  This is the niche that ECOTRUST has strategically embraced through its flagship Trees for Global Benefits (TGB) program. TGB is a landscape reforestation program with a PES-based incentive for participating tree growers that has grown into a large not-for-profit commercial carbon sequestration operation – that has transformed ECOTRUST into a kind of conservation-based social enterprise. Drawing lessons from TGB, ECOTRUST has established key strategic pathways that sustain its competitive advantage. These pathways have enabled ECOTRUST to establish a complex and unique value proposition that will propel it many years into the future as the leading NGO in delivering market-based incentives promoting restoration as a business in Uganda and across the globe.  

Our Strategic Outlook

These elements define how ECOTRUST intends to position itself in the broader sustainable development arena in order to remain competitive within a specific market and thematic segment. The elements also define the unique vehicles or approaches to growth that ECOTRUST intends to pursue based on its unique experience, while allowing for the innovation and dynamism that has become synonymous with the organization. 

These elements represent the key success factors and value proposition that ECOTRUST is presenting to its key partners and stakeholders, and to the rest of the world, over the next strategic period. They define the character of our2022-2026 strategic plan.

We will sustain a lean and efficient structure through automation to optimize operational efficacy and scaling out

We will maintain Landscape Restoration as a Business (RAAB) as our unique approach to conservation to build climate resilient communities and sustainable landscapes 

We will sustain a thematic nexus between biodiversity conservation, climate change (Adaptation &  Mitigation) and sustainable livelihoods in all our programmes.

We will continue to deliver conservation finance where it matters most – to smallholders in landscapes of global biodiversity significance.

We will build financial and physical assets and grow the endowment fund; and diversify income sources to sustain the blended financing model.

We will scale out and scape up Restoration as a Business (RAAB) through a business case development approach in all landscapes.

Through Professional joint ventures, consortia, partnerships, and professional engagement in national, regional and international policy processes.

ECOTUST will be the leading agency in Uganda in delivering market-based incentives to smallholders to build climate resilient communities and sustainable landscapes.

Accountability, transparency, integrity, creating value, pursuit of excellence, teamwork – We will honor them in our decisions, express them in our relationships and act consistently with them in our work

Always critical of ourselves and looking for ways to do and be better; Committed to being creative, innovative, dynamic and resourceful; Use our knowledge and experience to make a difference; Hire the best people and maintain a collegial environment that allows us to be nimble and responsive

The Evolution of ECOTRUST

2001 - 2020

ECOTRUST was a transformation of the then paralegal Grant Management Unit (established in 1997 under a bilateral agreement on Action Program for the Environment -APE) between USAID and Government of Uganda. The company was registered as both a Trust (Trustees Incorporation Act CAP 148 – 20th January 1999) and a Not for Profit (25th June 1999) as a mechanism for;

Two Decades of Innovative Conservation Financing

2001 - 2020

ECOTRUST has over the last 20 years evolved into a fully self sufficient organization, championing the conservation agenda in Uganda.

Transformation of a USAID grants management unit into ECOTRUST

1999 to 2003


Creation, registration & Incorporation through the transformation of the Grants Management Unit of the Action Programme for the Environment, funded by USAID

This marked the start of the grants programme, through cooperative agreement entitled ‘Establishment of an efficient funding program for Biodiversity and Environment Conservation’ between ECOTRUST and USAID through which $ 4.05 million in grant support was disbursed to several CBOs and NGOs in Uganda.   This served as some kind of a sinking fund to enable ECOTRUST establish itself
2001 - 2003

 With support from WWF, ECOTRUST established the Land Trust programme by  purchasing 35ha of formerly degraded land, which it has now been converted into a privately managed reserve, The Rwenzori Gateway

Diversification of the Conservation Financing Business to include Payment for Environmental Services

2003 to 2008

2003 - 2004

Design & Piloting of Trees for Global Benefits in Mitooma and Rubirizi districts as a cooperative carbon offsetting scheme linking smallholder farmers to the voluntary carbon market, with an initial grant support of UKPounds 10,000 from DFID and commitment from Tetra Pak UK to buy all the credits for the initial year

2005 - 2007
US$222,000 from NEMA/World Bank EMCBP II in grant support to Implementation of Priority Environment Aspects of the District Development Plan targeting districts in Eastern (Sironko, Pallisa, Mbale, Manafwa, Tororo, Kumi) and Western (Kibaale, Hoima and Kyenjojo) Uganda
2006 - 2008

 Grant Award worth US$450,000 from USAID under the PRIME-West programme  facilitated the negotiation and implementation of nine Collaborative Management Agreements between the National Forest Authority and the communities around Budongo and Bugoma Central Forest Reserves.  This enabled the scaling up of Trees for Global Benefit to the Budongo Systems’ Range

2006 - 2008
Agreement with Geolodges to establish Equator Snow Lodge
The first 3rd party audit on Trees for Global benefits was conducted in 2008 by Rainforest Alliance

Turning PES into a commercially viable, private sector driven conservation financing mechanisms

2009 to 2013

2010 - 2012
US$200,000 from USAID STAR Programme to manage small grants in support of small tourism infrastructure development 2010 t0 2012.
 A grants management agreement between US$600,000 from US Forestry Services and ECOTRUST to manage grants in support of Uganda Wildlife Authority tourism development in 2012.
Partnerships and Capacity building support from US$50,952 from USAID WILD North programme , Grant Award worth US$80,000 from CARE International in Uganda, A sub – award worth US$40,000 from  US$56,000 from the National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) as well as Several joint consultancies with Ecoagriculture Partners, ICRAF, ASARECA etc
2009 - 2013
Commercialisation of TGB – Long term Commitment by  Max Hamburgerrestauranger AB agreements, gave ECOTRUST the confidence to invest in project expansion, to include a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Rwenzori Mountains), which is currently responsible for more than 60% of all emission reduction certificates issued to the project annually
Carbon Bank: Support from UNDP Africa regional Office, ECOTRUST designed and launched the carbon Bank as some type of revolving fund that enables expansion by providing the initial payments to the farmers before their carbon credits can be commoditised. The Bank uses the market to recoup investments, expand participation and diversity
PES Facility: Established with support from UNDP Uganda Country Office to diversify the PES scheme by enabling rewards for Watershed services.  With this support from UNDP, ECOTRUST developed a model demonstrating how through careful design, Payment for Environmental Services can deliver tangible benefits for farmers and other parties involved.
The first Title of Communal Ownership in Uganda was awarded to Ongo Communal Land Association.  The accompanying management plan was developed with support from Myclimate – a Swiss Foundation.  Additional support was received from  USAID & SRJS
The second 3rd party audit on Trees for Global Benefits was conducted in 2013 by Rainforest Alliance

Evolution into a Blended performance – based Financing Model that delivers conservation & livelihood outcomes

2014 to 2018

ECOTRUST marked the One Millionth Ton of Carbon Dioxide sequestered by Ugandan Smallholder farmers under the theme, eradicating poverty one ton (of carbon) at a time
ECOTRUST designed and Launched the ECOTRUST Endowment Fund as a strategy to providing a financial foundation for ECOTRUST, giving it added stability, a greater degree of independence and enhanced ability to achieve its mission.  This has been designed as one fund with facilities for true and quasi donor directed as well as Board directed facilities.  The target is to have a principle of USD10million and currently, the fund stands at USD4.5 million
Joined the Shared Resources, Joint Solutions Partnership, an advocacy programme to promote food security, water provisioning and climate resilience amidst oil exploitation and forest degradation challenges in Uganda.  Globally SRJS is led by Netherlands Committee of IUCN and in Uganda it includes IUCN UCO, NAPE, AFIEGO & ECOTRUST)
The third 3rd party audit on Trees for Global Benefits was conducted by Environmental Services Incorporated

Building Partnerships for Conservation

Groups supported by ECOTRUST

Village Savings & Loans Associations​

Community Based Organisations Supported by ECOTRUST

Kasese District
Bududa District
Manafwa District
Mitooma/Rubirizi Districts
Masindi District
Mbale District

Collaborative Forest Management (CFM) Groups

Meet Our Team