Human-Wildlife Conflict is one of the biggest problems faced by farmers living within the chimpanzee corridors in the Albertine Rift corridors of Western Uganda. The Chimpanzee Trust is implementing a project to mitigate the effects of this conflict, brought on by man’s destruction of wildlife habitat.
The project, funded by the UK Aid’s Darwin Initiatives program, is working with 32 villages surrounding the vulnerable Bugoma Central Forest Reserve, home to over 650 chimpanzees and a host other indigenous flora and fauna. The project shall empower the communities in this area, to set up agro-enterprises resilient to the effects of wildlife, and build reserves, in organized community-based farmer groups, to sell their produce collectively, add value and cover loses that may be occasioned by wildlife.
As part of the activities of the project, 256 village farmer groups have been formed and 384 leaders from these groups have been trained in the establishment and management of Village Saving Groups (VSGs) under the project. The VSGs play a critical role in bringing financial services to rural communities. This training was conducted by the local Community Development Officer, a Government employee responsible for helping community form and sustain community development projects etc.
Community leaders learned skills of; group formation, group dynamics, sustainability, the making of a constitution and the registration with the Local Government. VSGs help build community networks that discuss their problems and devise their own solutions. The groups meet weekly and contribute shares to the saving groups.