Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) gave UGX 3,388,186,504 to areas around Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area (BMCA) in the Kegezi region in southwestern Uganda.
UWA is a government body concerned with conservation and protected areas mainly national parks and game reserves among which are the Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Areas (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park)
The cash handover ceremony was presided over by the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Col. Tom Butime, presenting the revenue cheques to leaders of the Kisoro, Kanungu, and Rubanda districts.
The function was attended by the board of trustee members led by the Chairman Dr. Panta Kasoma, Uganda Wildlife Authority senior staff led by acting executive director John Makombo and the top leadership of the three districts.
Butime described that local communities living next to these resources do not only keep guard of them but also suffer the cost of conservation.
“It was therefore for that reason that government gives back a portion of the revenues from the Park to appreciate the role of the community in protecting wildlife resources,” he said.
John Makombo, UWA’S executive director, explained that since 2005, the authority had been disbursing revenue to Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area.
Makombo said, “With this disbursement of UGX 3.388 billion, UWA will have shared ugx 11.052 billion with the district local governments and this makes one-quarter of revenues released to all communities around UWA managed protected areas.”
The ED pleaded with the district leaders to ensure that the funds are appropriately used to have an impact on the ground particularly amongst the communities that suffer the cost of conservation.
While speaking on behalf of district leaders, Kasyaba Stephen Rubanda district chairperson thanked UWA for the great partnership and collaboration with communities that surround BMCA.
He pledged to continue cooperating strongly with the institution to ensure communities protect the wildlife but also feel the benefit that accrues from its protection.
UWA is supposed to give back 20 percent of its annual park entry collations for a constitutional grand grant to communities neighboring the national parks under the revenue sharing scheme.
The revenue sharing scheme is meant to strengthen partnerships between local communities, local governments, and the management of the wildlife areas leading to sustainable management of wildlife resources in protected areas.