COVID-19 and chimpanzee conservation in Uganda

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, chimpanzee conservation has been disrupted as well as the way of conducting businesses.

We recieved a COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant which has enabled us to creat awareness for chimpanzee conservation.

Our focus has been in the districts around the chimpanzee conservation corridor especially in Hoima and Kikube districts of Uganda.

There was a sudden need to increase awareness on the risk of zoonoses and Covid-19 provided a great opportunity, however, we had to think of new ways to create awareness as the villages meetings and focus groups could no longer gather.

The farmers were also struggling from losses caused by the pandemic. Lockdowns and travel restrictions cut off access to markets, closure of businesses that were buyers and consumers of their produce, causing huge losses to the farmers.

The Trust applied for an won a rapid response grant to mitigate these losses to offer farmers we worked with, a lifeline.

Seed for the subsequent season was provided to 320 farmers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, in our areas of operation, around the Bugoma Central Forest Reserve, home to over 650 wild chimpanzees, as well as many other endangered species.

250 farmers were provided with Irish potato seed and 70 farmers with onion seed. These were monitored every month to evaluate the progress of their farms and the effectiveness of the inputs provided.

In the past month, farmers started harvesting and replanting. However, due to the reduced rains in some regions, the harvest, for some, was not as good as that for the previous season.

Many opted to replant and share seed with their neighbour, as they yet again expect the second season of the year, to have a bumper harvest. With this development, we expect the eventual beneficiaries to double, at least!

The Parish Associations we formed last year, have facilitated this development.

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