COMMUNITY CENTERED CONSERVATION PROJECT.
JGI in Uganda Implementation of the Community Centered Conservation Project was made possible by the generous support of the WYSS Foundation in partnership with National Forestry Authority and Kasongoire Community Development Association (KACODA). The one year project from January – December 2015 was implemented in six villages of Kasongoire, Kisagura, Nyakyeju, Waipacu, Kyabijwenge and Kimanya within Kasongoire Parish.
A population of chimpanzees inhabiting a forest fragment in Kasongoire Parish, Budongo Sub County, Masindi District was coming under increasing pressure from the human community through deforestation. These riverine forest patches in Kasongoire Parish form a corridor that links wildlife to greater Budongo, Kasongoire and Kasokwa Central Forest Reserves (CFRs). These forests were heavily depleted but still harbored wildlife including chimpanzees, and other primates. The fragments also acted as a source of water and food for surrounding communities. Local practices and resource use had resulted in the degradation of riparian forests in this area. The threats to this forest patch arose from intense deforestation for agriculture, and as mechanism of getting rid of the wildlife. This caused human-wildlife conflict over the few remaining forest resources. This conflict had been amplified by incidences of chimpanzee attacks on humans. As part of a possible solution, JGI together with Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) with funding from WWF held an interactive meeting with the locals in that area and discussed the problem as well as identify possible solutions. This meeting was convened with the main objective of understanding the human-chimpanzee conflict in Kasongoire; and identifying possible actions towards resolving the aforementioned conflict. Participants at the meeting discussed the human-great ape (chimpanzees) conflict and identified possible solutions and among them was the development and dissemination of awareness and sensitization programs on human-wildlife conflict and coexistence in Kasongoire parish and others. PROGRAM RESULTS/ ACTIVITIES. 1) Improve KAP through environmental education and engagement (i)Baseline Appraisal of Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices A baseline survey was carried out at the beginning of the project with specific objectives to;
- Assess the level of environmental knowledge and attitudes towards the environment;
- Assess level of conflict between humans and wildlife especially chimpanzees in the area;
- Identify possible livelihood support options for the community.
A cross-section survey design was used to conduct this baseline study because of its simplicity, low cost and ease of operation. The survey considered household heads, local leaders and the youths as eligible respondents. Purposive/Judgment sampling was used to select the survey villages which were identified by local leaders as the most vulnerable to human wildlife conflicts. Four (4) of the seven (7) target villages were selected for this baseline study. For operational convenience, a total sample size of 106 household heads (34% Female) within the target project area was selected. Self-administered questionnaires for Rural Rapid Appraisal (RRA) were used whereas structured interview guides were used for the Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRA). Analysis of the data collected showed that level of environmental knowledge was high (88.7%), probably due to previous education & awareness activities implemented in the area. Attitudes towards environmental conservation and coexistence with wildlife stood at 75.7%, while 50% of the respondents exhibited good environmental practices such as tree planting. The final project evaluation will assess whether or not there are any improvements in the level of knowledge, attitudes and practices among the target community members. (ii) Development of Materials for Community Education Materials for community education were developed including three sets of posters and the community handbooks including a booklet entitled “All About Me” about Chimpanzee behaviors about safety precautions for living in harmony with Chimpanzees. Content for these books was provided by community members – especially elders- who had been staying with chimpanzees for more than 50 years in the area. Through a meeting, best practices for human- Chimpanzee coexistence were documented and a handbook for children was developed and translated into two(2) local dialects . (iii) Dissemination of Community Messaging and Education Materials Dissemination of community messaging through interactive meetings was conducted in all the target seven villages in Kasongoire Parish. The meetings targeted school children and community groups. (iv) Dissemination of Environmental Education in Area Schools Sensitization campaigns started with four major Primary Schools in the area reaching out to more than 1000 school children. School children and women are the most vulnerable groups to chimpanzee attacks. As such, children were sensitized on the best practices for living in harmony with chimpanzees. (v) Dissemination of Environmental Education Community groups Women, out of school, youth and household heads were the main target during this campaign. Village to village sensitization meetings were carried out in seven villages reaching out to 1,466 community members (38.9% Female). The meetings aimed at raising the level of knowledge and awareness about sustainable natural resource management. The meetings also aimed at increasing community tolerance towards wildlife in the area. The main theme of the campaign was “Living in Harmony with Chimpanzees”. Chimpanzees were identified by community members during the baseline study as the most destructive through crop raids and human injuries. A team of JGI staff and locally trained educators carried out the campaign. Videos on chimpanzee behaviors, interactive discussions and Music Dance and Drama (MDD) were among the methods used to disseminate the awareness messages. &