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Infomation on community walks

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A view from the Buwatha community trail, center is part of Rukoki Falls, & left is tourists enjoying the Rwenzoris

 

Further to this, Mr. Hunwick has sent out proposals to raise funds for the construction of a Health Centre at Bunyandiko as it is very difficult for the local community to have easy access to health care and many people lose their lives needlessly. The proposed health centre is approx 780 metres height above Kilembe township.

 

All these projects give direct benefits to the community and create an atmosphere of unity and co-operation between Rwenzori Trekking Services/Backpackers Hostel, the community, and Uganda Wildlife Authority.

 

Repair of the bridge at Masule through proceeds from the community walks plus a generous donation from the Northampton Scouts UK.

The bridge crossing to Masule was in very poor state and many of the timbers were completely rotten. The community asked if it was possible to assist in repairing the bridge as there had been many accidents and there was a fear that the bridge would collapsed. It was then that Mr. Hunwick organized for a committee and later the formation of a CBO (NDCA) so as any money handed over for community projects could be accounted for plus it is the community themselves who are responsible for carrying out development in their area . With the addition of a 200 from the Northhampton Scouts in UK the project was organized and the community gathered to participate in the repair work.

The bridge after repair - new timber and new wire netting on the sides

Handover of spears and wire snares used to trap animals in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. The local people are hopeful that tourism will replace the income once gained from poaching.

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If you are interested in doing some volunteer work at one of several schools we are working with in the Rwenzori Mountains please contact John at Backpackers or Rwenzori Trekking Services rwenzoritrekking@gmail.com

An oasis just 2 km from the city centre

Rwenzori Community Projects - Kilembe

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Kyambogho Primary School as it was before

Teacher with baby on her back taking class in Kyambogho Primary School

Laying the foundation Kyambogho School

Kyambogho Primary School as it is now. This year we hope to plaster the wall & install windows & doors

Ready to put the iron sheets on Kyambogho Primary School

 

Empowering the Community--Community Development Projects

For more than 25 years Mr. Hunwick has been active in building sustainable community projects for the benefit of communities. A holder of a Diploma in Premaculture (Sustainable Agriculture & Appropriate Technology) he believes the community is an important part of protecting and developing the Rwenzori Mountains National Park and that the community should directly benefit from the park.

The ethos behind his drive to unite the community is:

Show the community that the National Park is of value to all members of the community

Give the communities direct benefits from tourism ie. Community trails, construction of schools and health centres up in the foothills adjoining the National Park

Provide employment and business opportunities to the community

Build a relationship between tourists and the community so as they, the community, value the presence of tourists in their area.

By adding value to the National Park the community will then see the reasons why they themselves need to protect the National Park and stop poaching and cutting of trees/timber.

Some of the projects Mr. Hunwick has implemented is giving out seeds of Arabica coffee to each village LC1 and assist them to start their own coffee nursery, and distribution of vegetable seeds so as the community gets quick returns while waiting for coffee trees to mature.

RTS designed and developed community trails with direct involvement of the community in Kilembe Sub County.

Rwenzori Trekking Services/Backpackers Hostel has initiated a number of projects in co-operation with and for the local communities:

These include;

Development of community trails and campsite

Major repairs to the bridge crossing to Masule

Ongoing construction of three classrooms at Kyambogho

Distribution of Arabica coffee seeds and development of coffee nurseries in eleven villages (LC1) adjoining the national park

Distribution of vegetable seeds to all eleven villages and boundary committee members adjoining the national park within Kilembe Sub County, proposed construction of a health clinic at Bunyandiko

Community Walks: During the month of July 2007 Rwenzori Trekking Services collected 5,585,000/- (five million five hundred and eighty five thousand shillings) from community walks organized on behalf of the community in Kilembe Sub County with 94 tourists climbing the Buwatha trail and 59 tourists climbing the Rukoki trail. This is on top of the 3 million shilling already received by the Nyamwamba Community Development Association for trekking done March to June 2007. Community guides, porters, cooks (local women), and camp fees paid to the LC1 Chairpersons Buwatha & Bunyandiko are paid from this money and the balance paid to Nyamwamba Community Development Association every three months.

 

At present there are two trails, which at a later stage will be extended to include trails to Kyarumba, Kyondo and Nyakalengija.

In addition to surveying and designing the trails, Rwenzori Trekking Services has provided financial assistance and training to members of the community so as they have the skills to run and operate the trails and the community campsite. RTS has also provided the cooking items necessary for the preparation of food. We are keen to employ both men and women as guides and have already implemented training of community guides in first aid, identification of birds, description of trees and plants, talking about local agriculture practices and crops, visiting members of the community and talking to the tourists about everyday life in the community. Local women have gained self employment and business through preparing evening meals and breakfast for tourists staying at the community campsite.

A CBO has been set up with all members of the community as it’s members and is registered as Nyamwamba Community Development Association or NCDA.

UWA staff have be involved in every step of our setting up NCDA as a community organization to ensure that the community see UWA as a partner in development with RTS

Construction of three modern classrooms at Kyambogho Primary School.

By organizing groups of World Challenge students to participate in construction of the school by providing some funds and also participate in its construction, carrying bricks, mixing sand and cement so as the community better realize that tourists are interested and willing to assist in the development of their community. The community participated by providing bricks which were made by the local men while the women carried sand from the river far below using sacks straped across their foreheads. In addition to contributions made by the World Challenge students World Challenge Expeditions UK raised an additional $4,000 (6.8m Ug Shs) over a three year period to complete the school and build a community centre as part of a sustainable project.

 

Rwenzori Trekking Service/Backpackers Hostel has given the Kilembe Hospital three diagnostic machines to build the capacity of the hospital. There is a great need to update the facilities at the hospital in Kilembe and Rwenzori Trekking Services is committed to assisting where ever possible so as to give better health services to the local people and to provide equipment/facilities so as Kilembe Hospital is better placed to handle emergencies or backup for our rescue teams.

 

Support of UWAs anti poaching program

In response to UWA’s community conservation program RTS recently facilitated a function whereby 85 former poachers handed in their spears, snares and traps. During the hand over ceremony UWA promised the people alternative incomes but in fact it is RTS who has provided these jobs and income generating projects. As such we have fulfilled the task of being a firm partner in development by implementing policies which assist in conserving the environment both within and outside the Rwenzori Mountains National Park.

 

By-Law governing burning of charcoal and environmental issues:

One of the main incomes of Kilembe has been from charcoal burning most of which was done on the boundary of the National Park so as people could supplement trees cut outside the park with trees cut inside the park. This was an enormous problem as those in authority even went so far as to sanction it by turning a blind eye as to what was happening and no doubt were gaining.

Mr. Hunwick embarked on a sensitizing the LCs and the people on the benefits that could be gained for the community by the development of community walks should they protect the forests not only within the park but also on the fringes outside the National Park. At first people were skeptical as they had never gained from tourism nor had they seen any organization which had contributed to community development.

Rwenzori Trekking Services/Backpackers Hostel has been instrumental in convincing the local people and the Sub County councilors on the benefits of preserving the environment both for the benefit of the community and in development of sustainable tourism in the area. This by-law is now in place and bans the cutting of trees for charcoal burning in areas adjoining the Rwenzori National Park.

This was achieved by organizing community meetings to discuss the pros and cons of charcoal burning and proving to the community that tourism is more valuable to, and will bring benefits for many years to come.

This is an great achievement and one which should be modeled in other areas so as to preserve the fragile environment, stop poaching within the National Park and provide the community with alternative incomes. See attached copy of the by-law

 

Cultural Development: - Backpackers Hostel has acquired a building in Kyanjuki for use as a cultural centre and craft shop where local people particularly women may participate. Here tourists will be able to watch cultural activities such as dancing; learn how to play various cultural music instruments and be part of the community.

 

These projects are indicative of our commitment to local development and working together, as the saying goes in the local language for the people of the Rwunzuru - “Baghuma” (bavuma) meaning ‘for all the community’.

Above is the view of the southern sector of the Rwenzori Mountains from Kilembe. To assist the local community earn income from tourism John Hunwick of Backpackers Hostel provided the community with ideas, provided financial assistance, training and guidance in setting up community walks in the Kilembe area.

The bridge before repair, old and rotten and causing many accidents

New timber to repair the bridge

The community making repairs to the bridge with the women on the other side preparing lunch for the workers. Note the smoke

World Challenge students fron UK working on construction of the Kyambogho Primary School. Again this year 2008 more teams will continue the work