A total of 178 Million shillings is set to be spent in the districts of Kisoro, Rubanda and Kanungu with the sole purpose of uplifting communities bordering Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks through wealth creation and Conservation.
The revelation was made earlier this week by, Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Trust (BMCT) officials during a stakeholders’ meeting held in Kisoro district.
BMCT Administrator David Mark Mwine explained that, as an organization, 178 million shillings has been set aside for the financial year of 2021-2022.
Mwine further noted that Communities bordering the two national parks in the three districts of Kisoro, Rubanda and Kanungu will be supported with projects including piggery, cattle (heifer) rearing, Irish potatoes, apiary, tree planting and energy saving stoves.
He further noted that 40.2 million shillings will be directed to communities living in the areas of Bukimbiri, Muramba, Nyabwishenya, Nyundo, Rubuguri and Nyarusiza sub counties.
“It is our desire that communities bordering the major national Parks in this region to benefit because Tourism plays a vital role in the development of this country, therefore, we are only trying to give back to the communities,” Mwine explained
BMCT was established back in 1994 to conserve Mgahinga Gorilla and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks (MGNP & BINP). The two critical forest habitants provide a home to half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas in South Western Uganda.
Mwine explained that BMCT has invested over 12.5 billion shillings to the same communities since the organization was started. He noted that through collaborative efforts with Kisoro district Local Government and other key stakeholders, communities will continue to benefit.
Kisoro Tourism Officer Richard Munezero noted that many Organizations had to pull funds towards communities bordering the two national parks because of Covid-19 however BMCT managed to secure some funds, which was no easy task.
Kisoro Deputy Resident District Commissioner Dan Ndikumwami said Government greatly values communities bordering the two national Parks because they are the first and last defenders of nature.
Ndikumwami noted that such projects that boast livelihoods and have a component of conservation are welcomed because equity and sustainability are guaranteed in the long term.
Beneficiaries speak out
The Nyarusiza sub county Chairperson, Nsabimana Erasmus called on the communities to always protect and conserve the environment adding that partners like BMCT have more reason to work with Kisoro residents because of their willingness to support new ways of life that include conservation.
Nsabimana further stressed that National Parks, not only bring in foreign exchange but they also contribute to the ecological system of Kisoro.
Other participants vowed to work closely with the district and BMCT for the success of the projects.