Bwindi Batwa


Until very recently the Batwa forest people lived as hunter gatherers in the Bwini Impenetrable Forest. The Forest is home to giant gorillas which are a valuable tourist resource. The Batwa were forced out of the forest to reduce the risk of disease transmission from humans to gorillas. They were given no land or support by the government and depend entirely on goodwill. They struggle to adapt to their new conditions.

Bwindi Batwa community, South-Western Uganda 

CIBC (Community initiatives for Biodiversity Conservation) is one organisation which attempts to help the Batwa people. They are leading the project supported by Bees Abroad. The Batwa present very special challenges. They struggle to live in the ‘modern’ world, exhibiting similar difficulties to those of native Americans and Australian aborigines.

Location

The project is located at the entrance to the Impenetrable Forest which is now a National Park. The forest straddles an area in South-Western Uganda bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The park attracts tourists who are interested in the lives of the Batwa people, and provide this community with an opportunity to sell honey and bee-related cosmetics.

Bees Abroad Actions

In 2017 we gave materials to make hives, protective clothing and essential beekeeping equipment. Three small apiaries have been established and training is ongoing. We provided initial training and have subsequently paid for a local man to visit our long-established project in Kasese for comprehensive training, he is now helping the Batwa community.

Further Actions

Because the opportunity to earn money from tourists is an unexpected bonus, we will be teaching the Batwa to make candles and cosmetics earlier than planned. When the initial hives are fully productive, materials to make more will be provided. We also hope to be able to expand the project to include more Batwa forest communities.

Project Facts at a Glance

Until very recently the Batwa forest community lived as hunter gatherers in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – home to giant gorillas. Now evicted and without land or financial support they depend on goodwill. Working with our local partner CIBC we are establishing apiaries in three small Batwa communities.

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