The indigenous Batwa traditionally lived as hunter-gatherers in the forests of Uganda, which provided them with food and shelter, but creation of the Mgahinga National Park, home to the critically endangered mountain gorilla, resulted in their eviction. Families were left homeless and without land, and have since faced abject poverty. Following the success of an analogous project in Rwanda, the Gorilla Organization has been addressing the needs of the indigenous communities through a project that began in late 2007.
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Registered Charity in England and Wales (1117131)
With fewer than 750 individuals remaining, the mountain gorilla is critically endangered. Creation of the Mgahinga National Park has helped to protect the gorillas, but led to the eviction of indigenous Batwa communities that lived in the forests. Plunged into extreme poverty, and with no homes or land, these communities were forced to rely on the forest for resources including food, water and medicines. Alongside local partner the Ugandan Organisation for Batwa Development in Uganda (UOBDU), the Gorilla Organization started to address the needs of the communities through agricultural training, educational support and health and social awareness. The aim of the project is for the communities to grow sufficient food to feed themselves, and to improve their socio-health conditions. This will, in turn, reduce their dependency on the gorilla forest. The project is benefiting almost 100 people in six communities. Land has been hired and the communities have been learning and implementing basic farming techniques, growing a variety of crops including cabbages, cassava and cauliflower. Storage of crops reduces spoilage and means the communities benefit from their yields for longer. A social worker is educating the beneficiaries on health and hygiene issues, such as the importance of a balanced diet, further contributing to their overall wellbeing. Annual funding provides: - agricultural inputs, including tools and seeds - materials for construction of crop stores and pit latrines - operating, HR and travel costs including project salaries, rent and fuel
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