Q1 Progress Update: The Volcanoes Safari Partnership Trust (VSTP) has made considerable progress in creating a permanent settlement for the Gahinga community of Batwa pygmies. A site of about ten acres of land was acquired next to the Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, and the construction of homes for 18 families (105 adults and children) is well underway. The VSTP aimed to move many of the Batwa community members into their new homes by mid-April, with the official opening of the village set for May 31. In addition to homes, a community centre will be completed soon, along with farming plots for each family. The community will spend the next three months preparing these plots to grow local food crops such as potatoes, runner beans, maize, and millet.
“The trustees of VSPT are delighted to be a recipient of the 2017 ATCF funding grant!
The funding will directly assist with the building of the Gahinga Batwa Village. The Batwa pygmies are a highly marginalized group of indigenous people who have existed in extreme poverty near the Mgahinga National Park in Uganda since they had to leave the park 26 years ago. Thank you to all the ATTA members who voted for this project. We are extremely grateful for the financial assistance awarded and the awareness that this will bring to the plight of the Batwa as well as the wider conservation-community issues around the gorilla parks." - Kevin James, General Manager
About Grantee: The Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT), established in 2009, is a non-profit organization that connects Volcanoes’ Rwanda and Uganda luxury lodges to the neighboring communities and conservation activities. The VSPT aims to create long-
term, self-sustaining projects that enrich the livelihoods of local communities, promote the conservation of the great apes, restore natural habitats and work with communities and institutions to reduce human-wildlife conflict.
Project Summary: The project will provide a permanent settlement dedicated to the Gahinga community of Batwa pygmies, a group of about 90 adults and children, who were displaced from their ancestral homeland in Mgahinga twenty five years ago and who have been living as marginalized landless squatters since then. Their ancestral land was gazetted as a national park to promote mountain gorilla conservation.
Project Nominated by ATCF Member: Volcanoes Safaris
Project Name: Permanent Settlement to Batwa Pygmies
Grant Amount: $16,500
Grantee Name: Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust