AfroMaison 2nd project meeting summary (Uganda,10-16 Oct 2011)
Scenery of Rwenzori AfroMaison study area, Uganda. [Lake Saaka, Fort Portal]
The second AfroMaison Project meeting has been hosted by Mountains of the Moon University in Uganda between 10th and 16th of October. Twenty two delegates travelled from their respective home counties to the Makerere University Biological Field Station (MUBFS) a remote research facility in Kibale Forest situated in the Rwenzori Region, the Ugandan case study area for AfroMaison.
Balanites wilsoniana rare tree
Opening words were addressed by the Vice Chancellor of MMU, Prof. John M. Kasenene, who situated the importance of natural resources management research for the natural environment in Uganda and more specifically for the Rwenzori Region. As many parts of Africa, the region is blessed with a remarkably rich natural environment hosting a very rich biodiversity in its tropical forest, wetlands, mountain forest, lakes and savannas. This environment is however at risk. The natural resource dependency of the population is high and the population is increasing rapidly. Uganda has a decent policy framework and has adequate laws and institutions, nevertheless implementation of these is challenging leading to further degradation.
The Mountains of the Moon University was founded as a not-for-profit Community University to promote research and to form educated professionals to address these and other regional development challenges. The university is unique in Uganda as it was conceived and founded by leaders in the local community in western Uganda. This will enable the university to fully engage with other regional stakeholders to seek maximum integration of the AfroMaison research into the regional natural resource management frameworks.
The main objectives of the second project meeting was to further the development of the
conceptual framework which will be linking the various work packages and will be guiding the implementation of the research activities in all case studies. The framework which is being proposed is designed to encourage effective stakeholder engagement and strengthen integration in natural resource management planning.
Based on the framework discussion work plans for each case study have been produced linking to the tasks in various work packages. And initial steps were taken to come up with a joint assessment framework for the selection of tools for (1) restoration and adaptation (2) economic incentives and (3) spatial planning.
A capacity building session was conducted by the WP6 leader (PIK) who introduced us in the theory and practice of scenario development with a practical exercise focussing on the Rwenzori region case study.
Bigodi wetland sanctuary path
The field visit took us to the Bigodi wetland sanctuary a highly successful eco-tourism attraction in the Kibale Forest area operated by the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED), a registered community based organization (CBO) with over 80 fee-paying members. A significant fraction of association income has been used, and continues to be used, to fund Bigodi Secondary School and numerous related community projects. KAFRED is a member organization in the Kibale Forest Coalition for Conservation Education (KFCCE).
The peaceful environment of the Kibale forest and the chimpanzee visits were found to be a perfect scenery for a productive project meeting.