Solving Human Wildlife Conflict in the Albertine Rift

Project Rationale

The huge numbers of wild animal populations in the Albertine rift pose a threat while inflicting cost to communities.

These communities affected leave at the front line of forest reserves both protected and unprotected wildlife habitats.

The human wildlife concerns include crop raiding and human life or injury when they encroach on the forest for agriculture land.

In turn, local residents develop negative attitudes towards protected areas and wildlife exacerbating the conflict and undermining conservation efforts (Di Stefano, 2004).

In the Bugoma CFR area, there has been limited effort to manage human wildlife conflict, and specifically address impacts of HWC on local communities.

Through HWC management, we believe that rural livelihoods would be better protected and vulnerability reduced.

This will be through benefits and faster community-based conservation.

Chimpanzee Trust is implementing a project entitled “Community adaptability to loss occasioned by wildlife in Western Uganda”.

The project target area are communities adjacent to Bugoma Central Forest Reserve (CFR).

The project is establishing community-led compensation mechanisms to improve the relations between affected communities and wild animals originating from Bugoma CFR and adjacent private and community forests.

The project is implementing an integrated community adaptability program which is geared to achive the following;

  • Change attitudes
  • Minimize damage
  • Compensate affected persons
  • Improve local livelihoods.

The project seeks to promote, among other interventions, growing of crops that are none palatable to wild animals; among farming communities whose traditional crops are destroyed by wild animals.

A resilent fund will be setup and the community groups will be contributing part of the profit.

This will help in growing the fund as well as help in solving the human wildlife conflict in the Bugoma area.

This project is operational in four parishes that is;

  • Kaseeta
  • Bubogo in Kabwoya subcounty
  • Bulimya
  • Munteme in Kiziranfumbi sub county

According to the project baseline study, affected farmers are those who cultivate their crops close to wildlife habitats (mainly private, community and forest reserves) within Bugoma landscape.

The affected gardens largely fall in a distance of 100m from the forest boundary.

Project Operational Area Map

Project partnerships

As per the project Charter, the Lead institution continues to be the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (Chimpanzee Trust) which is overseeing project implementation in contact with key partners and stakeholders.

The project will continue collaborating with Makerere University, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Studies- Department of Forestry.

The University has actively participated in our conservation efforts through carrying out research on our projects fro habitat restoration.

In this project the university has assigned us two Masters’ students (Chrispus Muhindo and Rachel Asaba) who will be researching the scheme.

The topics that had been agreed on previously, include;

  • Rachel’s Topic: “The impact of cropping systems on mitigating crop raiding by wildlife. The key aspect is to examine homogeneous and heterogeneous cropping systems and how they are pre-disposed to raiding wildlife.Under this topic, pilot gardens have been identified and planting planned.
  • – Chris pus’ topic: “Assessing the institutional framework (including policy and administration) for effective human-wildlife conflict management.” Chris pus is analyzing the existing framework, investigating its strength and weaknesses; suggesting ways of strengthening the framework.

Note: Rachel Asaba and Chrispus Muhindo took part in the Enterprise planning process and reporting, education and engagement of the communities.

Prof. Fred Babweteera, the supervising Professor from the University, is on the Project Steering Committee and has continued to contribute to and advise on the implementation of the project.

Kikuube District Local Government in the second year of the project has been two-fold;

  • Provide us with two community Development Officers who will play a big role in setting up the community structures. through training framers in group formation, setting up saving groups, constitution design and registering the Village groups.
  • District project support from sub county chiefs, Parish chiefs and Village chair persons in mobilization of the farmers. In- addition Kikuube District provided 1000 seedlings for communities near Bugoma Forest that were planted by 22 farmers in August 2019.

National Forestry Authority (NFA) has continued chairing the PSC meeting in Kampala and also, with a sister project, implemented concurrently with this one, they have continued to support the rejuvenation of the defunct Collaborative Forest Management Groups (CFM).

National Forestry Authority also provided seedlings to farmers in the Bugoma area under the sister PES project “Piloting a Scalable PES project to conserve Bugoma Forest, Uganda”, training communities in forestry and community development.

The partnership with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in the second year has been four-fold;

  • Charles Tumwesigye, the Deputy Director, Conservation Program a member of the PSC;
  • The UWA Community Liaison team Safari Fred and Chandiru Monica trained 384 Guarding and Reporting team leaders from 32 villages on how to handle human-wildlife conflicts in the landscape.
  • UWA has intervened in incidences of human-wildlife conflict in the Bugoma Landscape and other Chimpanzee Trust program Operational areas.
  • For insistence a child injured by a chimpanzee in the Bugoma area, was visited by officials from UWA, who also covered their medical bills.
  • UWA participated in the organization of a local stakeholder’s dialogue, in partnership with Chimpanzee Trust that was held in Hoima Town in February 2020.

The focal persons for CITES from the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Dr Barirega Akankwansa,is part of the PSC meeting and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) from the National Environment Management Authority, too, is  a member but was out of the country at the time of the PSC meeting.

Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) the lead institution that builds the capacity of private sector players had Ivan Kakooza, (the Business Advisor, Tourism) attend the Project Steering Committee meeting, providing inputs to private sector engagements,

The project continued partnering Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom (BKK) with His Majesty’s Ministers (Deputy Prime Minister, Natural Resources, and Tourism) taking part in training of farmers and also mobilising community on behalf of the project.

Addition unforeseen partnership:

In project Year 2, we established a partnership with the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) the lead institution that supports tourism and tourism players in UTB was co-opted as a member of the Project Steering Committee because the previous Project Leader heads the institution.

The project has also partnered with Greensboro Science Center, USA particularly Sara Payne, the Exhibits and Design Manager; through Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) who supported the design of awareness Posters.

Greensboro Science Center also approved a US$5,000 grant for Chimpanzee Trust to print other educational materials.

The partnership with Blank Park Zoo faced some challenges in Year II of this project, with Blank Park zoo unable to honor commitments to the project at this time due to change in staff initially and later global pandemic affecting funding for their community conservation grants.

They had committed to provide funds to buy 4 motorcycles for utilization by the project field team

Project progress

Progress in carrying out project Activities

  • Education and awareness of local communities on causes and management of Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) increased

Stakeholder’s workshop to launch the project and review activity Work plan
As scheduled, this was completed in Year 1 of the project. The meeting was held on November 23, 2018 in Hoima Town. The work plan activity was reviewed by the meeting quorum who advised alignment to avoidance and mitigation strategies.

  • Socio-economic and ecological baseline survey

This baseline survey was carried out in December 2018 and it established the status and extent of HWC, current HWC management interventions, financing mechanisms and institutional players in the Bugoma landscape.

The survey provided recommendations for feasible HWC mitigation measures, financing mechanisms and institutional arrangements to suit current context for the project area.

The information generated is guiding development of project implementation strategies and form a basis for monitoring and reporting of project impact.

  • Conduct knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) needs assessment.

Education and learning needs assessment was carried out with 32 villages engaged using participatory rural appraisal (PRA) methodology to identify avoidance and mitigation strategies gaps that the communities had.
School groups we used questionnaires to collect data on the learning needs of community. A sample of 11 Schools was also engaged by the project.

  • Education specialist workshop

3-day Conservation Education Specialists’ meeting. The meeting was held to brain storm and come with structure for education. Experts who attended included

  • Develop new conservation education materials and or adapt existing materials to address the identified needs

A Children’s reading story book on HWC has been designed, developed and printed, for use in the creation of awareness on HWC and its mitigation, using real-life experiences.

Chimpanzee Trust has engaged Project Community Ambassadors of Change who form a linkage between the community and the Chimpanzee Trust operations.

They’re at the front of any incidences of Human-Wildlife Conflict, community mobilization, livelihood implementation and creating conservation awareness.

Over time they have gained vast experience in chimpanzee conservation and habitat issues.

The Trust decided to tap into their experience to create awareness on Human-Wildlife Conflict, through developing a children’s reading book.

The book has stories on adaptation, avoidance and mitigation of Human-Wildlife Conflicts as narrated from actual experiences and incidences encountered by these Ambassadors of Change.

The children’s book is a strategy for cognitive child development aligned to human-wildlife conflicts. Our target audience is children of 7 to 13 years as this contributes to the National Curriculum.

The project through its partnership with Greensboro Science Centre and the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) designed Project Posters.

Greensboro Science Centre approved Sara Payne, their Exhibits & Design Manager, to work with Chimpanzee Trust to design educational materials for Filed Program hotspots aligned human-wildlife conflict.

In addition, with support from the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA), the Field team distributed 4500 wildlife books (titled: I protect the chimpanzees by Diane Toomey and Deborah Meyer, 2015) to 53 schools (20 project schools and 33 non-project area school in the landscape).

  • Identify, train, equip and deploy local community conservation education facilitators and champions.

The number of Local Community Conservation Education Facilitators /Champions who were 32 increased to 43 with 10 ladies brought on board in Bulimya and Kaseeta Parishes.

The project then provided a pair of gumboots and a back-pack bag to these Local Community Conservation Education Facilitators who continued working in the Community.

The project also provided these individuals with a merger amount for lunch and telephone costs for activities when they move within the communities and also mobilize on behalf of the project.

They were also provided with training materials that they would use in the communities including markers, manila papers, pens and notebooks that they distributed to the farmers would use to capture the information necessary for the project.

The school Lead Teachers were provided with a project education curriculum that would contribute to the cognitive development of children.

They also had training to build capacity in a range of wildlife and community development facets. (Curriculum attached)

  • Conduct awareness campaigns and programs in target communities using the most appropriate methods and relevant awareness materials.

The project carried out several awareness campaigns in Year 2 in the 32 Local Community Villages and 20 project Schools.

During Household Surveys in May/June 2019, the project carried out awareness campaigns in 1830 households who were educated about human-wildlife conflict adaptability, avoidance and mitigation.

The Project team also exchanged ideas with the families on the appropriate cropping regime that they could plant to minimize crop raids.

In addition to how to prevent injuries to children and women resulting from overlap in needs by humans and wildlife.

The methods used included one on one interviews, and focus groups discussions with family members. This was at the family level, the small unit the project works.

During Enterprise planning at household, village and parish level, the project team raised awareness concerning appropriate enterprises that the communities could adopt.

In the meetings held interviews and focus group discussions were used as methods.

The materials that were utilized for this included business plans for each crop.

Practical demonstrations and presentations/classwork that were provided to the community.

During the enterprise /crop growing training, Consultants were sourced and each was an expert in their field.

This raised awareness during training for the communities, with a total of 8 days of awareness per Consultant.

The methods used included class training’s, interviews, demonstrations and focus group discussions.

13440 farmers and 6 District Leaders were engaged during this period. During group formation, the Kikuube District Community Development Officers trained and raised awareness in 32 project villages.

During Guarding and reporting, 1044 farmers were engaged at this point. Class/lecture room notes were shared, practical skill demonstrations done especially by Uganda Wildlife Authority and presentations from the groups themselves.

Itohya Forest, the largest privately owned forest in the project area, 419 hectares, had encroachment and tree felling impacting on the ecology and behaviour of 60 chimpanzees and other wildlife that are resident there.

The project team held Village awareness meetings in 9 villages (7 under the project and 2 not in the project) with focus group discussions, interviews and village plenary exchanges done.

87 women and 183 men attended these village meetings. For the 20 project schools, each was engaged at least 4 times with a class cohort engaged particularly 1 class in upper primary (Level 6 last year and now in Level 7).

512 boys and 572 girls have been continually educated concerning conservation.

The methods utilized included demonstrations, focus group discussions, interviews and pre and post evaluations.

The materials used included comic books, presentations, Logos, charts and project plans.

The School Clubs were formed and each designed their wildlife aligned Logo and identified the project that they would pilot.

  • Maintain regular contact with local community conservation education facilitators and champions through monitoring and technical backstopping in the field

The project ensured that the Community Conservation Education Facilitators and Champions are continually engaged.

During Household Surveys in May/June 2019, the Community Conservation Education Facilitators and Champions supported the team in identifying highly prone households that are affected by human-wildlife conflicts and these were the ones with verification from the Village Leaders where we collected household data.

During Enterprise planning at household, village and parish level, the project team worked with the Community Conservation Education Facilitators and Champions to raise awareness concerning appropriate enterprises that the communities could adopt.

Regular contact was made to support the development of business plans for each crop.

The Champions also supported practical demonstrations site identification.

In Year 2, during all training, the Community Conservation Education Facilitators and Champions mobilise the communities and attended all trainings that the project provided to the farmers.

The training sessions included crop training, group formation, saving groups, live fence, guarding and reporting, awareness, and enterprise structuring and governance.

For the 20 project schools, the Leader Teachers who for the schools, act as Community Conservation Education Facilitators and Champions mobilized the School classes who we educated.

Continued follow up was made with the Leader Teachers with a Project Education Curriculum shared and continually discussed to support child development.

In Year II, Quarter 4, the project co-financed recording and airing for the “Ekijja Omanyiire” Radio drama. This radio drama is set to air in Year III of the project on local Radio Station, Spice FM.

  • Conduct Knowledge Attitude and Practices (KAP) evaluations at end of project implementation: Planned for Year 3

A scalable community-led compensation program developed and implemented to directly benefit 2,560 affected households and improve conservation of wildlife and their habitats.

  • Consultation meetings with potential beneficiaries on the proposed community-led compensation program.

Meetings were held in 32 villages, discussing with farmers the community led compensation program. This was carried out in January/February 2019. At the village meetings, potential beneficiaries had been mobilised through the Local Leaders and discussions were held with them. Community action plan is feeding into this.

  • Consult potential beneficiaries on viable economic activities and identify priority activities for implementation per village/ producer group.

Meetings were held in the 32 villages to discuss with potential beneficiaries the viable economic enterprises to be implemented in each of the villages.

Mushroom, soya bean, ginger onions came up as the key enterprises that could be implemented at the village level.

As the discussions were held, Village action plans on how these could be implemented were designed for each of the 32 villages.

A committee with leadership was set up to oversee each of the economic enterprises.

Also, priority activities were identified that are to be carried out at the village level with an Implementation plan developed.

As previously noted, the producer groups per village have Head Committee identified to oversee this implementation.

Parish level planning: A series of planning meetings were organized at the parish level, where community members were taken through the planning process.

Participants were then split into groups for each of the enterprises that had been prioritized.

For each enterprise, a seasonal calendar was developed that details all activities carried out starting from land preparation through harvesting to the marketing of the produce.

Activities in the seasonal calendar for each enterprise were used to quantify inputs required for each activity and assign a monitory value.

The total cost of inputs was established. The expected income was estimated and gross profit calculated.

Up to 283 farmers, some doubling as community leaders participated in the planning meetings, 28% of them being females.

Village level planning:

Enterprise plans were translated into village-level plans by way of establishing the number of farmers for every enterprise in each village as well as the area of land that each farmer intended to cultivate.

Out of this planning exercise, the total area to be cultivated under each crop enterprise in each village was established.

Farm-level planning: Farm-level planning is the core of the whole planning exercise.

This was carried out amongst farmers that intended to cultivate in a distance of 100m from the forest boundary.

The reasoning here was that most crop damage occurs within a distance of 100m from the forest boundary according to the baseline study.

More-over once the first 100m is under a none palatable crop, it will also act as a buffer to other crops that are frequently raided.

In all six crop enterprises namely Irish potatoes, ginger, onions, hot pepper, soybean and mushrooms were prioritized.

Irish potatoes and ginger were the most popular having been prioritized in three parishes each enterprise with 615 and 504 farmers respectively.

The enterprise plans entail a seasonal calendar, the plan itself, profitability analysis as well as marketing and market linkages.

The plans were later on rolled out to villages and eventually pilot farm level planning was carried out.

  • Develop economic models and business plans for priority economic activities for implementation.

The project engaged an Enterprise and Business Development Consultant who worked with the 32 Village Enterprise Head Committees.

Economic models and business plans where developed for the enterprises that were agreed on.

The economic models and Business plans developed and in place, are for ginger, onions, Irish potatoes, soya beans and mushrooms.

For example, Ginger is one crop that is none palatable to wild animals while at the same time providing farmers with a good return on their investment.

The storage parts ginger (rhizomes) are spicy and also medicinal. Ginger grows in deep fertile soils and takes 8-10 months to mature.

Planting is usually carried out at the end of the dry season just before rains set in.

Farmers have planned to plant their ginger in the two seasons.

Since this is a crop that farmers have not been planting on a commercial scale, it is advisable that they start with a small area in one season and add on in the second season.

The inputs, their cost, productivity per acre and prices of each kilogram/bag were obtained from a commercial farmer based in Kampala.

Farm gate prices rather than market prices were used to gauge whether the income was over or underestimated.

  • Train and put in place required infrastructure and institutional set-up to operate the priority economic models/ business plans.

The Business and Enterprise Consultant trained farmers in the 4 parishes and set up governance structures for managing economic models/business plans. Farmer training in crop establishment and management were held in October as set up took more time than had been planned.

Parish level farmer associations

Farmers realized the need to work together and decided to form parish level enterprise groups for each of the enterprises.

Parish level enterprise associations will be responsible for coordinating village-level enterprise activities through village-level associations/groups.

Parish level enterprise associations will be responsible for the bulking and joint marketing of farm produce.

They will also coordinate training and act as an information channel between farmers and outside partners in matters relating to a given enterprise.

Village level farmers’ associations and /groups

Farmers were encouraged and guided on the formation of associations /groups that would bring them together.

The associations would be formed at the village level comprising of all the interested farmers in all selected enterprises.

Farmers would also have enterprise sub-groups for each selected enterprise in a particular village.

Those that already had established associations were advised to consider working through existing ones if farming with the selected enterprises fits within their objectives or could add farming-related objectives.

A tool to capture group profiles was designed and shared with individuals from each village.

There were 30 groups were formed in all the four parishes with the membership of up 1,696.

In each parish, 8 associations were established corresponding to the number of villages; except for Kaseeta where only 6 associations were established as they combined a number of villages to form one association.

Group leadership positions are dominated by males with an average of only 25% occupied by females.

  • Create market linkages for products and services that accrue from the economic activities.

Market linkages were made for all the enterprises for the project.

For example, the market for ginger is so big that current production cannot satisfy it.

Ginger is mainly grown by farmers in Mpigi district in the areas of Butambala and Kyabadaza.

Ginger market is local, regional and international. Ginger bought from farmers in Mpigi currently finds its way to almost all markets in Kampala (Kalerwe, Owino, Nakawa, Nateete and Nakasero) as well as markets for major towns including Hoima.

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