In the last 2 years, 122 projects were supported in the districts of Kanungu, Kisoro and Rubanda. This was intended to improve the well-being of people around BwindiImpenetrable National Park (BINP) and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (MGNP) by supporting the diversification of income generation to improve livelihoods for women and men while at the same time promoting conservation of the two National Parks. Building the confidence of local commnunities and gaining their understanding and support for conservation, is the foundation for ensuring the lasting protection of these ecosystems. BMCT in 2014/15 – 2015/16 supported communities around BINP and MGNP with income generating projects to supplement their household needs. These projects ranged from agricultural, livestock and consevation.
The projects were selected through use of sensitisation meetings, writing of proposals by comunities, submit them for vetting at LCII (LC11 chairpersons, Secretary for women, Secretary for production, Community Development Officers and Parish Chief) and LCIII(LC3 chairperson, Sub-county chiefs, LCSC members, Community Development Officers (CDO) and BMCT) respectively. They are further verified by BMCT staff and Local Council Steering Committee (LCSC) together with government representatives to ensure that they are in line with government development priorities. Finally the projects are disbursement of funds to support implementation of the selected projectsconducted.
Agro inputs such as potato seed, animal breeds, tree seed, spawns, agro chemicals, animal drugs, pumps, drums, watering cans, jerry cans, hoes, pangas, rakes, polythene bags, knives, rolls of thread were procured and supplied to beneficiaries for implementing the following 122 projects.
Lessons Learnt from Community Projects
- Livelihood projects have strong impact on conservation for example during monitoring, one of the beneficiaries from BujembeTwebeiseho Group, Murukore village, Mpungu parish, MpunguSubcounty, said “we use money from the sale of honey to pay for household needs or invest it in other livelihood activities such as growing potatoes rather than engaging in illegal activities in the park. This helps us not to be tempted to go back to the forest as we used to do.
- One farmer named Asiimwe Richard of Rushekye village, Remera parish, BukimbiriSubcounty received one heifer. Previously he was more involved with growing potatoes. He is able to milk 10 litres per day earning 7,000 shillings per day and uses manure from cows for growing potatoes. There is increased income and nutrition at household level. As a result the farmer has managed to buy another heifer from money we got from milk and sale of potatoes. He is currently engaged in vegetable growing. About 14 community members benefited by getting cows and all of them have started selling milk.
- Good cultural practices and sale of manure from goats and cows has increased income and food production at household level as evidenced by the increase in harvest from irishpotatoes. For example, in NyagisenyiMwakaMusha - Muhire group, Nyagisenyi village, NyarusizaSubcounty harvested 45 sacks of potatoes, and sold 30 sacks earning 3,000,000 shillings. Members have been able to share 1.5m, save 1.5m, and replanted 15 sacks of irish potatoes this season.
- Another group KagogoMashaho Farmers Association of Kagogo –Mashoho village, IkumbaSub county has harvested 30 sacks of potatoes from 10 sacks they received from BMCT thus earning 4,500,000m from the sale of the potatoes.
- There is improved nutrition of community members because of increased vegetable growing at household level because of use of manure from goats, pigs, sheep and cows.
Number of people supported in 2014/15 and 2015/16 financial year.
Figure 1: Number of individuals supported with community projects 2014/15 and 2015/16
(1,090 males & 1,287 females; N=2,377)