Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), with support from the Investing in Forest and Protected Area for Climate Smart Development (IFPA-CD) project graduated 80 youths in practical skills to improve their livelihoods. In a statement issued by Hangi Bashir, Head of Communication, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the graduation ceremony was held yesterday, August 4, 2023, at Seyeya Courts Hotel in Kagadi town.
The UWA Executive Director, Sam Mwandha, said that UWA recognizes that the livelihoods of communities near protected areas have to be improved in order for them to see tangible benefits of wildlife conservation. He urged the youths to put the skills acquired to use for not only their benefit but for the benefit of the communities they come from.
“We have built your capacity by giving you skills, and we have given you equipment to use to change your lives and be productive citizens.”
“Please put the skills and equipment acquired to use and be good citizens who contribute to the social economic development of the country. The government strategy of social economic transformation requires people with skills to be the drivers of transformation in their communities,” he said.
Mr. Mwandha reiterated the important role that communities play in wildlife conservation stressing the need to strengthen the relationship between UWA and communities.
The Kagadi District Chairperson, Ndibwani Yosia, appreciated UWA for realizing that communities are key stakeholders in wildlife conservation and coming up with interventions that improve their livelihoods. He urged the beneficiaries to be good examples so that UWA can be motivated to help others.
The objective of the IFPA-CD project is to improve sustainable management of protected areas and increase benefits to communities from target protected areas in response to COVID-19 impacts.
The beneficiaries of the training were selected from the 3 protected areas of Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, and Toro-Semuliki, as well as in the hotspot region of Kagadi district. They were trained in motorcycle repair, sculpture, tailoring, metal fabrication, and phone repair.
A second set of interventions involved training 15 collaborative resource management (CRM) groups in honey packaging and marketing, 6 CRM groups in wood craft design, and 60 CRM group members were trained in soap and candle making.
The graduates were awarded certificates and equipment to use according to their respective skills acquired.