It was five days of engaging and learning sessions leading to a renewed perspective on conservation financing. The staff and Board of Uganda Biodiversity Fund (UBF) joined Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in a combined training to generate diversified means of fundraising for the organization to grow and attain a high level of financial standing.
The training, held at Savannah Resort Hotel, Kihihi was organized by WCS with the support of USAID. It was aimed exploring alternative and innovative angles to seeking conservation financing, which can be an elusive animal (pun intended). The conservation financing landscape in Uganda is at best fuzzy, with most corporations not clear on whether to give to the sector or not, and with whom to invest. Therefore, the aim is to equip UBF with skills that can enable the negotiating of partnerships with organizations in the private sector whose businesses depend on or have an impact on the environment.
Dr Simon Nampindo, WCS Uganda Country Director intimated that the private sector is a good opportunity for investment, if only there is more presentation of creative win-win business ideas. “We must approach them while thinking like they do, break down scientific information innovatively and give them value for their businesses”, said Nampindo. He added that both local and international organizations have funds which they would gladly contribute to conservation if presented with appropriate justification.
The training was facilitated by conservation consultant, José Galindo from Mentefectura, a leading organization in Quito Ecuador that offers consulting services, advisory, and knowledge management towards sustainable development. The participants were guided through successful case studies and tasked to come up with ideas that relate to and work in the Ugandan setting.
Commenting on the new roadmap for UBF, the Executive Director, Juliet Kyokunda said the training came at a “crucial time when UBF is reviewing its fundraising strategies, and its Strategic Plan, and developing an investment plan.” The new direction is a step towards UBF widening its financial path after two successful funding grants, one from USAID received in May 2020 and another from the European Union, received in December 2020.