We’re wishing you the best of luck in the next step of your career.” “Our company is glad to have you, and we’re grateful for your contributions towards chimpanzee Trust. May your new position bring you much happiness and fulfillment.” “Your new team is lucky to have you on board. Farewell-Mr. James Silver Birungi
James Silver Birungi, joined the Trust in 2009 as Education Assistant / Caregiver at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, following a recruitment drive to fill gaps identified during the development of the first strategic plan of the Chimpanzee Trust 2007-2012. Silver, as he came to be fondly referred to by his colleagues, started at the sanctuary, where he worked as a caregiver, but led the sanctuary and community education program. Silver was tasked with ensuring that school and university groups that visited the sanctuary were given information to learn about the chimpanzee as a species, and the conservation of the environment in which people and wildlife live. In the photo below Silver guiding a group of students from Rainbow International School
One of his first projects was the construction of an eco-friendly toilet at the Myende Community School where the Trust had facilitated the construction of a classroom block for the school and needed toilet facilities for the students and teachers. This was an Ecosan toilet, where the waste was recycled to produce manure for the school vegetable garden. Soon he was writing environment education programs for the schools and helping the caregivers at the sanctuary improve their skills in the delivery of conservation and welfare messages to the visitors.
By 2009, Silver was the head of the Education and Community department and over the years, Silver has spearheaded the design, and implementation of many education and environmental conservation and awareness projects on the behalf of the Trust in many parts of the Country and more recently evaluating the impact of the projects.
One of the notable projects was the Change My Community program which was Silver’s brainchild and used the lessons and activities learned in the education program to inspire students and pupils to replicate such lessons in their home environments and influence positive change by building on small individual actions into larger family and community programs to improve their livelihoods, reduce impacts on natural resources like forests, rivers, etc.
Another successful project has been the edutainment program that started with community drama competitions and has grown into a multi-district radio-drama program that is into its 4th season. Silver was able to grow the education program into existing programs to build meaningful impacts in the short, medium, and long term.
Silver has also built networks with several partners at different levels, contributing to the development of conservation education and community programs in other institutions. On an International level, Silver has represented the Chimpanzee Trust at the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, the International Primatological Society, and Primate Educators Network. He is a member of the Governing Council of the Wildlife Clubs of Uganda and has trained and mentored many conservation educators within Uganda and Africa.
The Chimpanzee Trust has grown with Silver and he has been part of its 25-year journey for now 15 years. During this time, he has become part of the very fabric of the Chimpanzee Trust and whereas we are sad to see him go, we are also very excited at the opportunity he has won to further his love for community education as the new Manager – Community Conservation Programs at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – Uganda. Silver’s wealth of knowledge and skills and experience, acquired over the years, as well as his likable personality, will help him to shine in his new role and lift the profile of Conservation and his new employer locally and internationally. Congratulations and farewell- Mr. James Silver Birungi