This week I am going to update you on the Batwa Cultural Values Project following a recent pre-training workshop in Kisoro. The Batwa Cultural values project, which runs in Semuliki, Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks, aims to integrate Batwa cultural values into conservation. It is run jointly by four organisations: FFI (Flora and Fauna International), UWA and UOBDU (United Organisation for Batwa Development in Uganda), with ITFC heading-up the research.
On the Batwa Trail – pointing out culturally important forest plants
So far, the research has been done by ITFC, but this pre-training was the start of handing-over the monitoring and evaluation work to the Batwa-UWA sub-monitoring unit. This training focussed on teaching the Batwa (and UWA’s Community Conservation Rangers – CCR’s) about the tool – a questionnaire – ensuring that they understood all the questions and also getting their input on the questions. Their input helps ensure that the questions are meaningful, relevant, realistic, and cover all the necessary topics.
Also in attendance was NTV (Nation TV) Uganda. FFI had invited them to film a positive story about the Batwa following a negative piece that they run, which gave a poor image of the Batwa and their situation in Uganda. NTV visited the Batwa Trail in Mgahinga with a group of Batwa, they also covered the training and part of the meetings (specifically the conclusions), filmed the 3D maps that were developed by the Batwa, and interviewed a number of key individuals including the FFI country director (Dr. Arthur Mugisha), Medard Twinamatsiko (ITFC’s Social Scientist), the Batwa Cultural Values Senior Project Manger (Pamela Wairagala) as well as a Eric, a Mutwa representative.
The workshop went well and there was a good, positive outcome. Frederick noted that the CCR’s and the Batwa representatives worked well together and formed a good rapport in their groups. Everyone was happy with the questionnaire and, thanks to a diverse input, the questions are now ready for data collection to begin in the next quarter, and then to continue every three months from then.