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WWF, Hempel Foundation Deliver Forest Restoration, Improve Community Livelihoods Around RMNP

WWF Uganda has been commended for her contribution to sustaining the Greater Virunga Landscape as a complete ecosystem with diverse, protected and connected biotopes and habitats.

The remarks were made by Casper Thaning Thulstrup, Head of Biodiversity Partnerships, International Strategic Development & Quality at Hempel Foundation during his Monitoring visit to the project restoration sites.

Casper appreciated the efforts by the communities to have the formally degraded areas restored. He also stated that It is the people living in these areas that will cause change, not the strategies and good interventions.

“We are excited that Our partnership with WWF in Rwenzori Mountains National Park is addressing deforestation and loss of biodiversity to a halt. There is clear evidence of enhanced   management and collaboration with local residents on alternative and sustainable livelihoods”, he added.

The Hempel Funded project has been running  since 2020  and has to date restored more than 2,500 hectares of degraded land and 310 hectares of enrichment planting for the privately-owned natural forests along the same stretch.

The team visited Syahaba Muhindo Sam, one of the farmers engaged in the restoration efforts.

 “I have now planted 17 acres (approx. 7 hectare) of trees on my farm land adjacent to the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Because my land is located at the steep hill of the mountain, the trees will protect the land from degradation while increasing my income in future”, he explained.

Aruwa Bendsen-WWF DK Senior Advisor International Programmes - Forests, Freshwater and Climate appreciated the efforts by WWF Uganda and other partners that have enabled the successful implementation of the project.

“We are proud and privileged to be working with committed partners, the Ugandan Wildlife Authority and communities bordering the Rwenzori Mountains National Park for a more resilient landscape for people and planet”, she stated.

According to the Hempel Project Manager, Daniel Ndizihiwe, the project target of providing 2000000 people with fresh water and 25000 acres of buffer zone re-established will definitely be realized considering that the project is on track.

The Warden ,Community Conservation for Rwenzori Mountains National Park (RMNP), Alice Natukunda emphasized that UWA is focusing on curbing the illegal activities from the park and through revenue sharing with the adjacent communities, members shall appreciate the relevance of the park and conserve it.
She added that engaging youth and reformed poachers and re-enforcing conservation education and development activities have enabled communities   to appreciate conservation and are now patterners in conserving Rwenzori.
Casper Thaning Thulstrup from Hempel Foundation (standing) together with Aruwa Bendsen (Third from left) from WWF Denmark pose for the group photo with the team in one of the plantations of Syahaba Muhindo.