Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)has disbursed a total sum of one hundred forty three million, eight hundred fifty thousand shillings(143,850,000)to the communities adjacent to Kidepo Valley National Park (KVNP) for the financial year 2015/16,to implement livelihood projects.
The funds which were released to the Kaabong district leadership on Friday June 10,2016 at the district headquarters, is 20 percent of the park entry revenue that has accumulated over the last three years. Under Wildlife Act, UWA is mandated to give 20% of the park entrance fees to the district local governments that surround the protected area.
According to the manager, Kidepo Valley Conservation Area (KVCA),Mr. Johnson Masereka, the three benefitting sub counties are Karenga, Kawalakol and Kamion. Following a successful vetting of the projects from the beneficiary sub counties, Kaabong District Local Government endorsed the following community projects as part of the district development plan for 2015/15.
In Karenga sub country,46m/= was approved for construction of a cultural centre at Opot pot while in Kawalakol sub county,45m/=was endorsed for the construction of a cultural centre at Moruita. In Kamion sub county,a sum of 21m/ was allocated for solar power system at Lwakwakaramoe primary school. In the same sub county of Kamion,10m/= was approved for installation of solar power and its accessories at Lwakwakaramoe health centre II while 15m/= will be for the provision of a grinding mill for Morungole parish.
Of the 143,850,000/=a sum of 6,850,000/=will be shared between the district and the sub counties as monitoring and supervision fees as provided for under the revenue sharing guidelines.
At the same function, the management of Kidepo Valley Conservation Area declared a total of 116,362,841/ = due for utilization in the financial year 2016/17.The Conservation Area Manager(CAM) Mr. Masereka asked the district leadership to ensure project proposals for the utilization of the declared funds. He challenged them to also consider projects that will mitigate Human Wildlife conflict .
Speaking to the parish leaders during the handover ceremony, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)Kaabong district, Mr. Charles Otai applauded the management of UWA for the transparent manner of disbursing the funds to benefit the communities who co-exist with the wildlife and at times bear the blunt of its destruction in case of crop raids by the animals. He urged the new leaders at all levels to ensure the right proposals benefitting the communities are put forward and the proper utilization of the funds for maximum benefit and accountability.
He called for a symbiotic relationship between wildlife and the communities where people position themselves strategically to benefit from the sprouting tourism activities.
The chairman Kaabong District, Mr. Mark Abuku hailed the cordial relationship between UWA and the district and urged his technical staff to ensure wide publicity of the community benefits from neighbouring the protected area. He said in other areas like Amboseri National Park in Kenya, pastoral communities had been sensitized well to benefit from wildlife on their land through construction of hotels and other facilities to tap into the revenue from the tourists. He also urged government to expedite the amendment of the Wildlife Act to cater for compensation of the victims of wildlife injuries and death.
The chairman promised to intensify the sensitization of the communities neighbouring protected areas to positively change their attitudes towards wildlife as a source of economic development.
The event was witnessed by the KVCA Community Conservation Warden, Mr. Walter Odokorwot and the warden in charge of tourism,Mr. Stephen Nyadru.