STATEMENT FROM MR.SAM MWANDHA OF AFRICAN WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
The United States Agency for International Development through the USAID/Uganda Biodiversity Program implemented by African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has donated a full set of road equipment worth USD 1,333,823 to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). This is part of the USD 10 million support to biodiversity conservation in Uganda by US Government through a 4-year Biodiversity Program.
The road construction and maintenance equipment that include a grader, a bulldozer, an excavator, a vibro roller, 2 tippers and 1 low bed transporter will help UWA to open and maintain more roads within protected areas to enable easier ecological monitoring and patrols and to address illegal activities especially in Kidepo Valley and Murchison Falls National Parks to areas where poaching still remains a threat.
The USAID/Uganda Biodiversity Program that has been running since 2012, was designed to address threats to Uganda’s biodiversity. The Program uses conservation enterprises together with conservation education tools to provide communities with opportunities to develop economic services that will enhance communities’ appreciation of Uganda’s natural resources, thereby protecting ecosystems while promoting broader, sustainable economic development. The Program also supports Uganda Wildlife Authority and National Forestry Authority in improving their capacity to develop and manage the parks’ and forest reserves’ infrastructure for monitoring and reducing threats to biodiversity.
The overall program goal is to “achieve sustainable biodiversity conservation and local economic growth in five priority protected areas of Lake Mburo, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Parks, as well as Budongo and Kalinzu Forest Reserves”. The program is modeling sustainable conservation enterprise development and public involvement interventions that can enhance protection of areas of high biodiversity. This will be achieved through model interventions and project activities that improve the interrelation of biodiversity conservation, landscape level management, community livelihoods, and sustainable business enterprises. The program is closely aligned with the priorities of the Government of Uganda and the U.S. Government. The program supports Uganda’s National Development Plan and USAID’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy.
In the last three years, the program has been working with UWA to improve park management and we are certain that this road equipment with address several challenges and ease accessibility for both deployment and monitoring. We are aware UWA has not received any brand new road equipment for over a decade now and what they have were increasingly becoming a liability due to their high maintenance costs.
I would like to appreciate USAID for selecting AWF to oversee the procurement process of the equipment and for all the guidance we have received throughout this process. The support we received from the Environment Team especially through the Agreement Officer’s Representative Mr. Robert Senkungu, has been invaluable and appreciated. This was particularly helpful in clearing and registration of the equipment.
We have worked well with UWA’s procurement and engineering units to ensure we buy the best equipment on the market. I would like to appreciate Mr. Charles Tumwesigye, Mr. Milton Kasaija and Mr. Mack Opowo for the support and participation in the exercise.
We at AWF are confident Uganda Wildlife Authority will put the equipment to its intended use. We look forward to the continued cooperation between USAID, AWF and UWA.