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Lake Mburo Community Receives Funds As Uganda Celebrates World Tourism Day

world-tourism-day-uganda-2016On 27 September, 2016, Uganda celebrated World Tourism Day and the Uganda Wildlife Authority -UWA expended about US$52,000 (which is approximately 175 million Uganda shillings) to the communities neighboring Lake Mburo National Park as a 2014-2015 revenue-sharing fund.

These celebrations held in Mabara town at Kakyeka Stadium were presided over by the Prime Minister of Uganda -the right Honorable Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda on behalf of President Museveni. The prime minister was accompanied by Professor Ephraim Kamuntu – the Minister of Tourism Wildlife & Antiquities, as well as Godfey Kiwanda -Tourism State Minister.

The Prime Minister said that 20% of the country’s gross income each year is got from tourism and just last year there was an increase from US$660 million to an entire US$1.35 billion

He added that Uganda as a country has a number of tourism resources among which are 50% of Africa’s total bird species, 54% of the world’s mountain gorillas, about 600 species of reptiles plus fish as well as 1249 species of butterflies, different water bodies, the beautiful snow covered Rwenzori Mountains, national parks, as well as a central forest reserves all to boost the country’s economy. He went on to thank the team using social media for enabling the general public to remain updated with the events that were involved in this year’s celebrations.

These funds are going to be used to put into operation the various local projects so as to empower these communities and also improve the people’s standard of living. Among the projects include building of water dams, opening-up access roads to the communities, as well as supporting substitute sources of income to poaching, such as poultry keeping, livestock, cultural entertainment as well as crafts.

In accordance with the Chief Park Warden of Lake Mburo National Park -Mr. Asa Kule Musinguzi, these funds are also going to: help provide piped water to Byembogo cell found in Sanga Town council, fence the valley tanks that were built with help from AWF-USAID within Rurambira / Nyakashashara sub-county, as well as construct Akatooma community Primary School among others things.

The 2000 Uganda Wildlife Act mandates the wildlife agency remit 20% of the park entry revenue collections with the local governments touching the park boundaries per annum.

Lake Mburo national park on average receives 26,000 visitors each year and generates roughly 200million shillings as a compulsory 20% revenue-share to the communities or local governments neighboring the park under Section 69(4) of the Uganda-Wildlife-Act Cap 200 of the year 2000. This is yearly paid to frontline communities and used to implement the approved projects in accordance with guidelines of revenue sharing.

The UWA Publicist Jossy Muhangi, said that they expect the end result of the different implemented projects  to improve the livelihoods of the locals as well as lower human-wildlife conflicts which may be regarding any given wildlife protected area.

To create a good relationship between the respective frontline communities, the community leaders, as well as the management of the protected area, as well as to contribute to the development of the respective districts, the guidelines of revenue sharing mandate that these projects are incorporated within the respective development-plans and the funds are paid through the local district to guarantee reliable monitoring by the local leadership. However, the top most goal of these revenue-sharing-programs is to obtain community support to conserve wildlife.

Jossy Muhangi went on to say that the Uganda-Wildlife-Authority has as well launched into bettering visitation to Lake Mburo national park through accepting more investment within accommodation facilities, building Enyemebwa Centre specifically for cultural tourism, as well as giraffe translocation to the park.

UWA comprehends the challenges that these communities face mainly in Kiruhura district due to the existence of wild animals roaming the land, and a lot of efforts are currently being applied to use different strategies to make sure that this problem is with time overcome.

Although not limited to these, the strategies include trans-location, habitat management; sport hunting, setting up conservancies, motivating able people to take on wildlife ranching, as well as deploying a specialized team to deal with problem animals.

In 2015, UWA trans-located 15 giraffes to Lake Mburo National Park from Murchison Falls National Park to increase the diversity of wild animal species within the park and also to biologically control the park’s Acacia tree species.

We hope that these funds will be used appropriately and for the rightful purpose to improve the livelihood of the local communities.

For more information about Tourism in Uganda, visit adventureugandasafari.com