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Local economic development through gorilla tourism


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This presentation by the Local Economic Development Through Pro-Poor Gorilla Tourism project team provides a summary of the key activities and results of the project.

Different parts of the presentation were given by different team members including Dilys Roe (principal researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)); Peter Nizette (Responsible Tourism Partnership); Medard Twinamatsiko (Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation and Mbarara University); Kakuru Phares (Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Trust); and Alice Mbahayi (International Gorilla Conservation Programme).

The presentation was made at the project wrap-up workshop held on 3 April 2019 at the Protea Hotel, Kampala. The meeting was opened by British High Commissioner Peter West, and closed by the CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board, Lilly Ajarova.

The meeting also included personal testimonies from a number of individual enterprises involved in the project – Ride For A Woman, Change a Life Bwindi and Bwindi Specialist Guides – and from their expert trainers: Johnnie Kamugisha from Uganda Safari Guides Association, and Sanaa Gateja from Kwetu Africa.

The meeting was attended by a wide range of tour operators, lodge managers, community organisations, NGOs and researchers. As well as drawing the project to an end, it provided the audience with an opportunity to purchase some of its products – Bwindi baskets and Bwindi honey – and to find out about new Bwindi walking trails.

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Local economic development through gorilla tourism

  1. 1. 1 Local economic development through tourism at Bwindi End of project workshop 3 April 2019 Funded by: UK Darwin Initiative Implemented by: IIED Responsible Tourism Partnership IGCP ITFC/MUST BMCT Golden Bees Kwetu Afrika Lets Go Travel
  2. 2. 2 Author name Date Dilys Roe, IIED Peter Nizette, Responsible Tourism Partnership Introduction
  3. 3. 3 Origins in 2012 research project • Conservation “unfair” • Costs outweigh benefits • Little revenue and few jobs from tourism • Tourists come to see gorillas only
  4. 4. 4 Key questions 1. Does the current non-gorilla tourism offer at Bwindi satisfy tourists and tourism businesses? 2. Can skills of poor people living close to Bwindi forest be developed to improve existing products and services and/or to develop new ones? 3. Will improved products and services result in increased sales to tourists, tour operators and lodges? 4. Will increased sales of local tourism services and products affect household incomes and, if so, what difference will this make to local livelihoods? 5. Will increased income from tourism improve local attitudes towards national park conservation?
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  7. 7. Local economic development through tourism at Bwindi The project aimed at stimulating a process of change in quality of goods and services that: • Adds value to the typical 2-night gorilla tracking package • Creates new and relevant product such that 1 extra night becomes a viable option for tour operators, • Increases local & retained revenue from tourism expenditures, and • Creates linkages between communities in the supply side to lodges and tour operators – on the tourist delivery side. Thereby; • Creating positive economic impact & livelihood change, • Contributing to poverty alleviation, • Improving local peoples’ attitudes to conservation, and • Reducing threats to the forest biodiversity where gorillas are the icon species.
  8. 8. The POWER of the TOURISM ECONOMY … …its value chains and linkages • To make better places for people to live • To make better places for people to visit Investing in value chains and market linkages = as important as ‘other’ more tangible investments! Also requires ongoing ‘maintenance’ and resourcing – for sustainability of impact
  9. 9. The POWER of the TOURISM ECONOMY … …its value chains and linkages  Investing in people and their livelihoods = positive economic IMPACT!  They deliver the goods and services  Enhance the visitor experience  Generate positive word-of-mouth  = more business – for them too!
  10. 10. Many small changes + market linkages = big differences – to livelihoods and experiences • ACHIEVED in 18 MONTHS – MARKET READY PRODUCT – invested (only) ±20% of budget • Three new weave designs & techniques for baskets – unique to Uganda • More than 30 lady weavers trained through 6 x 1 week ‘Train-the- trainer’ residential and follow up. Orders for 50. Payment in solar. • Product differentiating label – leveraging higher prices and margins – for weavers and handicrafts entrepreneurs • Apiculture training – ex-poachers - honey shop – sales to lodges – Bwindi Honey • New tourist product – walking trails – a ‘people’, culture and landscape compliment to gorilla tourism – Batwa authenticity • Advanced guides trained • Agronomist ex-poachers training – market gardens business • More than 300 families – 1,800 people – positive impact
  11. 11. Beyond gorillas: local economic development through tourism at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Overall project socio-economic impact results Medard Twinamatsiko, Peter Nizette, Julia Baker, Henry Mutabaazi, Anna Behm Masozera and Dilys Roe
  12. 12. Characteristics of household survey participants Key characteristics Before project HH survey After project HH survey Total number of respondents 496 455 Type Project beneficiaries n/a 321 Others within their community n/a 134 Gender Women 57% 58% Men 43% 42% Ethnicity Batwa 18% 10% Other ethnic groups 82% 90% Location* Rubuguri 29% 27% Mukono 24% 23% Nteko 22% 20%
  13. 13. Products uptake - lodges and tourists • Numbers of tourists visiting, and purchasing from, the enterprises we worked with increased (by a factor of 10 in some cases and at least tripled in all cases) • Most lodges started to buy local produce from the market gardening initiatives and honey shop - signing of contracts, recording transactions etc • New and improved products have started reaching regional and international markets eg Design Africa-South Africa
  14. 14. A case of lodge-enterprise linkage “There is a new lodge in Ruhija called Agandi Uganda Eco- Lodges. They gave us an order to make laundry baskets, bin baskets and also serving baskets using the same design. It's an order of over 50 baskets. The ladies are very excited and they have already started weaving. I have already given them part of the payment so they are not out of pocket for the materials. They will be paid more than double for these baskets than the other, lower quality old design, ones. I think he would have paid more if the ones in my shop had the labels on them. I have sub-contracted the laundry baskets to Kyarisiima and her ladies on the Rushaga/Rubuguri side because I wanted to meet the October deadline for the orders.”
  15. 15. A case of product uptake by lodges “This project brought some linkage between us and the lodge managers. They can now approach us whether we have local products to sell or not. They have been buying majorly- vegetables and honey. They normally give us orders in advance and we supply them. On some days however, you may find we do not have enough products to supply them. This is a challenge to the continued engagement because they sometimes think we are unreliable” (A poacher-turned market Gardener, Bwindi Southern Sector)
  16. 16. Products uptake by tour operators Explore: Myself and a couple of others in the group chose to spend an afternoon learning to weave with the lovely women at the Ride 4 a Woman charity in Bwindi. I would highly recommend this. It was a very relaxing afternoon spent chatting to, and learning about the locals.”
  17. 17. Products uptake by tour operators Matooke Tours: “I think the guided trails are fantastic and it seems that you managed to solve all challenges which we as tour operators face when introducing new products to our itineraries. We are in contact with Paul and have already made a few bookings with him for the coming months. Although the deadline for our programs for 2019 had actually already passed, I did manage to still include one of the walks in one of our group trip itineraries for next year (for one of our biggest partners in Germany). Hopefully, we will be able to send 6 or 7 groups to experience the guided walk in Rubuguri.”
  18. 18. Reasons for increased products uptake Among the handicrafts enterprises and others, leaders think that products uptake was facilitated by; – Producing quality, standard and new fashion products and services-raffia, Raza, Rushashara baskets, Bwindi honey – Introduction of a marketing label - the Forest Friendly label – Collaboration of entrepreneurs across the sectors
  19. 19. People’s perception of the impact on their income • There was a major positive change in the perception of income increase • Most (64%) of the people involved in the project believed that their income had increased over the course of the project. • For those that thought their income had not changed or declined, this was usually due to factors beyond the projects control
  20. 20. Actual impact • From enterprise data, there is a slight increase in income before the intervention and after • The most noticeable increase in income earnings were during the ‘low seasons’ and towards project end
  21. 21. Actual changes in sales for enterprises • Overall, the sales increased for most months • Notable increase of sales in ‘low seasons’ 0 500000 1000000 1500000 2000000 2500000 Percentagesalesdistribution Months per year Comparison of sales for for ride for a woman in 2017 and 2018 Sales(2017) Sales(2018) Beginning of training
  22. 22. Actual changes in income for enterprises • Increased sales increased income to enterprises • Individual members income also increased-mean income per month 0 100000 200000 300000 400000 500000 600000 Percentageincomedistribution Months per year Income comparison for Ride 4 a woman for 2017 and 2018 Income(2017) Income(2018) Beginning of training
  23. 23. What those involved said on income… “the income has increased than before because some years back we would weave one basket but now I weave many and they get market” (One woman under the Rubuguri-Nteko women weavers) “Our income has increased. We now have increased sales as a result of increased number of tourists visiting us. We become happy whenever we see many people coming to see our products. For us we know that by their coming, money has come to our pocket” (One woman at the Ride for a Woman commented).
  24. 24. Changes in attitudes towards the conservation of BINP • Everyone involved in the project described their relationship with the national park as positive after the project compared to before (79% compared to 60%) • Fewer individuals described their relationship with the national park as negative, after the project compared to before (8% compared to 17%). • Furthermore, 65% of respondents thought their relationship with the national park was better after the project compared to 56% before the project 3 14 24 43 17 2 6 14 64 15 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Percentageofrespondents Before After
  25. 25. Comparisons of attitude changes between those involved in the project and those not involved • More individuals that had been directly involved in the project described their relationship with the park as either positive or very positive compared to others within their communities who had not been involved • Overall this positive trend was experienced more strongly by women than by men
  26. 26. Reflection of those who participated, on ability to lead a good life • After the project, 96% of those involved in the project believed that tourism positively influenced their ability to lead a good life compared to 68% before. • The main reason given was a recognition that the park attracts tourists and tourists buy products and services-hence increased income. “before the project I knew nothing but I can now weave baskets and earn income” and “the project was good because for the income from the project I used it to buy a goat and food for the family.
  27. 27. Let us take this as a beginning of a process to improve the tourism industry beyond gorillas! CONTACT Dr. Medard Twinamatsiko, PhD Department of Environment and Livelihood Support Systems Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies, Mbarara University of Science and Technology email: skype: medard.twinamatsiko Phone: +256 751 892 953/+256 772 892 953
  28. 28. Promoting Gorilla FriendlyTM tourism and products in and around Bwindi Alice Mbayahi IGCP April 3, 2019
  29. 29. Purpose of Introducing gorilla tourism 1. Strategy to fund conservation work 2. Way to engage local community to participate and benefit from conservation 3. As a business to demonstrate an alternative non extractive land use
  30. 30. The flip side of gorilla tourism • Significant risks to the gorilla populations can arise if gorilla tourism is not cautiously approached and properly managed.
  31. 31. Identifying best practices
  33. 33. Standard: “A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.” – ISO Sustainability Standard: “A standard that addresses the social, environmental or economic practices of a defined entity or combination of these.” - ISEAL
  34. 34. Stakeholder Consultations: • 2+ years of consultations • 2 range country Round Tables (Uganda/Rwanda) • Meetings in DRC / Virunga • Introduction within Regional Technical Committee for Tourism (GVTC) • Feasibility Report produced • Draft Standards for review Guided by the principles of: • Affordability • Equity • Sustainability • Creating competitive advantage • Harmonization • Professionalism Certified Gorilla Friendly™: Ownership & Recognition Private Standard ISEAL Alliance (ecolabel best practice) & ISO Compliant Voluntary Application 3rd Party (Independent) Auditor
  35. 35. Standards for: • Parks & rangers • Hotels & lodges • Tour operators • Travel agents • Park Edge Community Products Standards supported by: • Policy & guidelines • Definitions • Certification manual • Audit form Certified Gorilla Friendly™: Applicability
  36. 36. Certified Gorilla Friendly™ Park Edge Community Products Critical, Required, and Recommended standards in the following general areas: • Agreement • Wildlife conservation • Livestock • Resources and waste • Local Economy & working conditions • Cultural protection. Additional product-specific standards were developed for: Honey and beekeeping products, handicrafts and jewellery, cultural performance and experiences, nature experiences and bird watching, and crops.
  37. 37. Through this partnership • Engagement with UNBS to harmonize and also endorse the use of GF standards in Uganda. • Translation of GF standards for park edge products into illustrated manual and in two popular local languages around Bwindi – Rufumbira and Rukiga – and dissemination of the same. • Pilot audit of the selected CBOs – to systematically assess the extent to which groups/products comply with standards.
  38. 38. Standards outputs Word document Illustrated manual(s)
  39. 39. Summary audit findings • Overall: almost all the groups have made good progress towards achieving/living up to the standards described in the Certified Gorilla FriendlyTM Park Edge Products standards manual. • The simplicity (graphics) of the GF manual has been of significant help to the understanding of the concepts of the standards by the members of the groups.
  40. 40. Cont.. • The knowledge acquired from the training has significantly contributed to an improvement in the quality of the products and their understanding and appreciation of the need to protect the park and its flora and fauna. • The members have gained skills from the training which skills have economically empowered them to earn more income, hence improved livelihoods and changed their quality of life.
  41. 41. Cont.. Average appreciation of the use of the gorilla friendly ecolabel and a generally positive anticipation of it.
  42. 42. BMCT/ IIED LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTTHROUGH 'PRO-POOR' GORILLATOURISM IN UGANDA Presentation made on 3rd April 2019 during final IIED workshop By Kakuru Phares Kosia Programmes Manager Thursday, April 25, 2019
  43. 43. BMCT Program Components Conservation Awareness Increased Community Conservation and Funding for BMCT Programs and
  44. 44. What Next …….Sustainability Replication and scale up Ownership Continuous provision of benefits Thursday, April 25, 2019
  45. 45. Replication and scale up United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) whose overall objective was to increase opportunities for local community products in the tourism sector around Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area (BMCA) •Enhance quality and consistent supply of competitive local products such as crafts; •Define and facilitate market linkages and relationships with the private sector in the area for the various products; •Facilitate increased tourist expenditure on local products towards community economic benefit and; •Promote community led conservation of Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area (BMCA). Thursday, April 25, 2019
  46. 46. Scale-up cont…. A concept has been approved for funding by Greater VirungaTransboundary Collaboration (GVTC) with the main objective to Enhance local communities capacity in tourism business-MgahingaGorilla National Park •Cultural tourism especially among the Batwa •Development of a community trail around Mgahinga •Training local communities as tour guides •Creation of market linkages for tourist products Thursday, April 25, 2019
  47. 47. Scale-up cont…. •In partnership with Bees for Development and the University of Reading, United Kingdom we are developing a proposal on Promotion of Bee Keeping for Enhanced Livelihoods among Batwa and other Marginalized and Vulnerable Groups around Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area -Proposal Development Supporting development of a community based system of production and supply of inputs Supporting the landless or near land less individuals to establish communal /group apiary sites Provision of training on improved methods of beekeeping Establishing centre rural based honey collection centres. Thursday, April 25, 2019
  48. 48. Continuous provision of benefits Item description Achieved Comment Baskets (International) 68 baskets We supplied 68 baskets to Design Africa- South Africa and weavers earned $700 Baskets- Rushashara (locally) 66 Rushashara baskets Weavers sold 56 sets and earned 4,392,800= Baskets- Hinga-Raza (locally) 72 Hinga-Raza baskets Members sold 62 Hinga-raza baskets earning 4,736,000= Crafts-Carvers 80 pieces Carvers sold 80 pieces of art earning 1,198,000= Jewelry-Beads 87 beads Jewelers sold 87 beads earning 870,000= Table mats 55 pieces 55 pieces sold earning 550,000= Thursday, April 25, 2019
  49. 49. Benefits cont…. •Design Africa- South Africa has made another order and weavers will earn around $1300 •Signing contracts between vegetable growers and lodge owners Thursday, April 25, 2019
  50. 50. Gaps and Way forward Marketing of products Construction of selling points around BMCA identify local and national partners partners for distribution and sales Developing marketing communications support material, especially e-commerce and social media orientations. Diversification of tourist products •Developing a highly focused Training Programme of raffia baskets, bamboo tableware, clay beads and lava stone products. •Rolling out the learning and training programmes around Bwindi and Mgahinga especially among the Batwa Thursday, April 25, 2019
  51. 51. Thank You
  52. 52. Reflections and next steps • Traditional donor funding goes to research and studies – NOT ‘product’ & not livelihoods – time bound • Tour operators fund local initiatives (CSR) but few get into CSV & market linkages • Work to be done for sustainability - investment needed • Advanced weaving skills training and tools • Advanced training for new jewellery • Design and construction of bamboo PoS display • Skills development for Batwa ex-poachers to grow new and ‘niche’ fresh produce & honey – forest conservation • Lodge managers education to buy more ‘local’ • Ground operators marketing - to programme new trails for 2019/20 season and as optional extras • Role out the learning & invest in sustainable livelihoods = enhanced visitor experiences