Facilitating Collaborative Management of Protected Areas
Building Networks for Community led Conservation
ECOTRUST with support from various partners (USAID, WWF, CARE, JGI), has been involved in the establishment and strengthening of Community – based institutions that provide a sound interface between local government and civil society , promoting coordination and networking amongst local stakeholders and building locally owned and shared advocacy positions and strategies. The community – based monitoring model has in particular proven its potentials in strengthening community awareness, in solving local conflicts, being a voice for communities and a bridge to local government.
Empowering Communities to Participate in Protected Area Conservation
ECOTRUST with support from CARE International (REPA programme), USAID (Prime West Project) has been working in the Districts of Kasese, Kabarole, Hoima and Masindi to Strengthen Stakeholder Involvement in Natural Resource Management. ECOTRUST has to date facilitated total of sixteen community groups to enter into co-management arrangements with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the National Forest Authority (NFA). Five of these groups have entered into resource user agreements with UWA while the eleven have signed Collaborative Forest Management agreements with NFA. These agreements detail the regulations for different resource use patterns, roles & responsibilities of all the different Stakeholders, offences and penalties to offences.
In addition, the participating communities were facilitated to form Community – based Organisations (CBOs) that are legally registered and are able to engage local and central government departments to negotiate for their rights in natural resource management. Furthermore, the process also ensured that roles, responsibilities, rights & returns are explicitly made known to all Stakeholders thus creating a transparent atmosphere where everybody knows the rules of engagement. Resource use agreements encourage the Communities to be responsible for the resources they benefit from. The agreements create a win win situation of sustainable management of the natural resource while improving livelihoods of the Communities.
Community – Based Business Development
At ECOTRUST we believe that conservation initiatives are only sustainable if they make business sense to the communities involved. We therefore invest in adding value to the benefits accruing from the participation in natural resource management through enterprise development and also reduce the costs of conservation through problem animal control measures. ECOTRUST builds the capacity Community groups to develop and implement business plans. The Business Plans to ensure sustainability of the enterprises beyond the project “life”. Furthermore, groups are supported to develop partnerships with private sector for market access i.e. Build and provide market networks and linkages for various products.