Human Wildlife Conflict Resilience Fund Project

Project Date:
Project Amount: $100,000
Project Location: Masindi District, Western Uganda
Project Location: Masindi District, Western Uganda
Implementing Partners:Jane Goodall Institute, EcoTrust, Chimpanzee Wildlife

The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is a tax-exempt/non-profit, founded in California in 1977. JGI’s mission is to conserve chimpanzees and their habitats. In 2006 JGI Global was formed to create a system to synergize the work of the 27 offices found Worldwide. Grounded in the legacy of Dr. Goodall’s 50 years of chimpanzee research and advocacy, JGI is committed to addressing the complex issues that threaten chimpanzees in the wild, while also meeting the needs of the surrounding communities and affected stakeholders. Since 1991, The Jane Goodall Institute has been active in Uganda working in collaboration with government, public and private sector.

 The Jane Goodall Institute-Uganda (JGI) in partnership with the Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST) and the Chimpanzee Trust (CT) implemented an 18-month project entitled “Human Wildlife Conflict Resilience Fund: A community led compensation mechanism for wildlife caused damage and or injury” in Western Uganda.

The purpose of the Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) Resilience Fund is to enhance resilience to community losses from wildlife incursions through the development of local and regional compensation schemes as one of the incentive measures for community long-term engagement in sustainable natural resource management.

The increasing fragmentation of forest alluded to increasing human population and poverty in the Albertine Rift landscape is reducing connectivity between forest reserves and threatening the long-term viability of the chimpanzees and other wildlife. Without connectivity the remaining populations once isolated will not be genetically viable and thus over time, will continue to decline.

The key drivers of deforestation are a vicious cycle of:
1)Conversion of forest to farmland for subsistence and commercial agriculture by the community and private sector that amplifies human-wildlife conflict with incidences of wildlife crop damage and attacks on humans, including child fatalities attributed to wildlife; and 2)The resultant Human-Wildlife Conflict then drives further clearing of forests as a control mechanism.

98% of the community in the area relies on agriculture as their primary livelihood occupation, of which 79% is subsistence agriculture. Loss of these forests threatens the survival of viable chimpanzee populations and vital ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration and storage, water catchment protection, soil fertilization, clean water supply, and provision of firewood, food, and medicinal plants.

Whereas there are no panaceas to Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC), a lack of policy to compensate for crops damaged or injuries by animals foraging out of protected areas remains the greatest cause of discontent amongst communities in their relations with protected area authorities. Accordingly, the establishment of a sustainable compensation mechanism (based on farmer vigilance i.e. peer-to-peer verification of claims, and requiring a contribution from the community members) provides a great opportunity to foster coexistence and incentivize conservation thus mitigating habitat destruction. Projections in 2010 showed that in the absence of any interventions, all private forests in the landscape would be cleared in 15 years.

Given that the project was implemented by a consortium, there was a project steering committee which enhanced and coordinated cross-linkages of plans and activities under the different partners. The project proponents worked through the project area local governments, existing Community Based organizations (CBOs), and the local community to collaboratively plan and execute the activities. Some of the key activities conducted were; a visioning exercise with the members of the community to identify the magnitude of the human wildlife conflict issues and how they were linked to the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation; undertaking a choice experiment of the suitable compensation mechanism; developing strategy for the growth of the resilience fund; developing guidelines for financial and institutional setup of the resilience fund; dissemination of educational and awareness materials in the project area villages, among others.