Pan African Conservation Education project at St John the Baptist Ggaba Teacher Training College in Kampala

his exciting sustainability project, which we hope will impact many thousands of lives over the coming years, was completed in 2011.

St John the Baptist Ggaba Teacher Training College in Kampala, Uganda, hosts students from all over East and Central Africa studying for a primary teaching qualification. During its 70 year history, the College has provided primary school class rooms across the region with more teachers than any other such institution in sub-saharan Africa.

Working with the College Environment Club and in conjunction with a VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) teacher, Janice Mercer, who was based at the college, the PACE project, managed by UCF on behalf of Tusk Trust and Siren Conservation Education,developed a training and demonstration project at the college. The PACE project aims to address the lack of access to education and practical information on techniques for sustainable development in Uganda and to contribute to community-based development of sustainable solutions to environmental problems such as the lack of clean drinking water and effective sanitation, malnutrition due to soil erosion and crop failure, respiratory diseases caused by indoor smoke pollution and conflicts with wild animals over land-use. Sanitation is a particular problem in Ugandan schools, where insufficient access to clean toilet facilities contributes to school dropout and low literacy rates, especially among girls.

Creating a ripple effect across East Africa
The long-term goal of the project is to enable new teachers to develop practical skills for sustainable development, creating a ripple effect of influence on the children and communities they encounter during their teaching careers to: safe water provision, improved energy conservation (thus reducing deforestation), increase in safe waste disposal coverage, and more provision of fruits and vegetables to communities from permaculture plots.

Results
The College decided to prioritise installation of the water tanks for rainwater harvesting to maximize the amount of water it can collect during this year's rainy season.

The College community noted how rain water harvesting plays a vital role in minimising roof run-off contributing to soil erosion. This has been a particular problem at Ggaba PTC; water run-off has badly damaged the footpaths between the buildings, making them dangerous. The so called 'grey water' will be a major source of water for the vegetable plots already planted out around the College compound and it is projected that with the onset of the mid-year rains the College's water bill will be reduced by as much as 57%.

ggaba-construction-01

In 2010 a College representative attended a week-long conference on Permaculture food production and has been sharing his newly-acquired knowledge with the College community. As a result compost production, fruit tree production and vegetable growing was introduced. The permaculture plots have made the college more financially independent while reducing the environmental impact and being a model of good practice. A poultry project is now self sustaining with manure going to the vegetable plots ti improve yields and profits from sales of chickens has contributed towards a fund for students to visit a National Park.

The construction of eco-friendly composting toilets has been completed and these are a much more hygenic alternative to the pit latrines previouly on campus, helping to reduce student sickness and time off college.

The college kitchen stoves have been converted to a fuel efficient design reducing smoke pollution and saving costs on the wood fuel.

Download a copy of the Pace Uganda Manual by clicking here.

Positive role models in sustainability

The PACE project will enable new primary teachers to teach environmental awareness and practical skills for sustainable development as follows:

  • The traditional method of teaching in Uganda is 'chalk and talk'. However, participatory teaching methods are often more effective in transferring practical skills and knowledge, especially for less academically able students. The practical projects on the college grounds form a training ground for different kinds of learning.
  • A field trip for trainee teachers to Queen Elizabeth National Park is aimed at increasing awareness of Uganda's natural heritage and the threats it faces. A delighted 35 students spent three days in the Park last month, a rare opportunity for the average Ugandan.
  • Lack of access to books and films means that many trainee teachers have no experience of using educational resources in the classroom. The newly purchased DVD player and screen are being used to show PACE materials, for Special Needs education and to increase HIV/AIDS Awareness, a vital issue in Uganda.Teachers at Ggaba are now getting first hand experience in the use of electronic educational resources in the teaching environment.
  • In the words of Mr D.K. Mayanja of the Ggaba project communication desk

"Ggaba sees her role as one of showcasing these affordable and environmentally-friendly technologies. Furthermore our student teachers shall be trainers of trainers whenever they will be moving in the grand project of turning our world into a sustainable green environment."

ggaba-construction-02

The Ugandan Education Ministry have been impressed by the project and have expressed the wish to incorporate it into the national curriculum.

UCF's role on the project
UCF was responsible for facilitation, local project management and donor communications and helped to ensure project implementation on a day to day basis.

UCF seeks to support the administration of other organisations' projects to improve their accountability, marketing and reporting thus enabling them to focus on successfully completing their work and to bring together individual stakeholders (communities, institutions and organisations) towards common objectives enabling them to apply for larger grants.

For more information on the PACE project visit www.paceproject.net

Overview
UCF has a comprehensive plan for the recovery of the Dura sector: 400km² of land north of Lake George, which builds on the success of the Waterways project.

Dura - a Ramsar site and Biosphere Reserve - links QECA to Kibale Forest National Park. Wildlife has literally been wiped out over the past 40 years. There is no tourism in the area and Dura currently receives less than 1% of QECA's patrol resources from UWA. Elephants from Kibale and QECA are both in need of the additional resources and habitat provided by Dura.

In this area, once famous for elephant, the numbers have declined dramatically; evidence of illegal human activities and poaching is high. This area is extremely important as it sits between Kibale Forest National Park to the north and QEPA, to the south, locations where an abundance of elephant and other wildlife exist, Large populations of chimpanzees, leopards, hippopotamus and crocodiles also once thrived but heavy poaching, particularly during the unsettled years 1960-1986, has taken its toll.

maimed-chimp

Chimp caught in snare - maimed chimp. As many as 50% of Chimps in Kibale Forest have been injured by snares.

Due to the high levels of poaching in the Dura area and the thin corridor connecting the north and south of Lake George areas, elephants are rarely seen. The availability of this area to elephant is vital not only for elephant conservation, but also to allow the 'architects of the habitat' to restore the ecosystem for the benefit of all wildlife; the area is rapidly becoming impenetrable bush-land that is causing problems to herbivores, carnivores and tourism potential alike.

Protection of KFNP and QEPA has steadily increased over the last decade in all areas of the National Parks, with the exception of the Dura sector and this must be corrected.
Planned recovery is now strategically critical to the recovery of the region as a whole.

The problem

  • Dura Sector currently has:
  • No land or marine access and no internal roads.
  • No ranger accommodation and hardly any ranger patrols.
  • An access problem for wildlife: the thin 1km wide Mahokya corridor connecting central QE to Dura is overrun by human activity, sprawling villages, cattle and goats.
  • Few if any mega herbivore left.
  • The potential to be the last site in QE where a large increase in wildlife numbers could be seen.

Solution
Two aspects are critical to recovering Dura. Firstly, eliminating illegal activity and ensuring elephant and other wildlife have safe access into and out of the area. The area can then be recovered, and UCF is leading this by developing access and infrastructure in the area; community conservation, education and tourism then follows.

under-construction

February 2010: construction of the ranger accommodation at Kahendero nears completion. Rangers housed here will soon start making headway clearing snares and cutting back the dense bush.

UCF's work with UWA will provide a much needed foundation for wildlife recovery and will include:

  • Community conservation: controlling illegal fishing, holding sensitisation meetings and providing a lake rescue service.
  • Research and monitoring: baselines for planning and measuring success.
  • Initiating local activities for economic development and job creation.
  • Supporting UWA's development of a Dura management plan.

Anticipated benefits

  • Increase the capacity to help UWA recover Dura. Having a permanent base and link to two existing Marine Stations extending from the South to the North of Lake George will dramatically increase the frequency and area coverage of patrols in the area.
  • Provide access into the heart of Dura, allowing UWA to reach previously inaccessible areas easily, quickly and without detection.
  • Clear the region of illegal activity. The removal of snares, poacher camps, smuggling routes and illegal boats will have an immediate impact on the safety of the area for elephants.
  • New UWA ranger accommodation in the Dura allows more time to be spent monitoring illegal activities and less time spent in transit across difficult terrain.
  • Connect central QECA, the Dura sector and Kibale Forest. This will allow safe migration of animals to make full use of the 4000 km2 area, reducing the likelihood of crop raiding in local villages during periods of food scarcity.
  • Relieve pressure on the central QEPA habitats and Kibale Forest where elephant numbers are increasing. Enable multi-species to repopulate Dura.
  • In real terms, the park will increase in size, making it the biggest inclusive area for elephant conservation in south western Uganda. Increased tourism opportunities will lead to increased revenue-sharing opportunities for the local community.
  • Economic development through local employment (casual labour during construction, additional opportunities to support tourism) and local procurement (of construction materials for example).
  • Monitoring of habitat and gradual change; understanding of interaction between vegetation structure and the elephant population as the area recovers from heavy human disturbance.
  • Integration of the Dura sector into UWA's strategic management plan for the first time in over forty years.

confiscated-boats-at-the-armoury

Unlicensed fishing boats are confiscated and held by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

How can this be achieved?
In 2010 UWA will have two ranger posts built by UCF across Dura to allow up to 14 rangers to be permanently accommodated in the region. Provision is also made to support and equip mobile ranger units, with tents, GPS and bicycles.

On Lake George, the Waterways project has already helped with the building of the Kashaka and Kamulikwezi Marine Ranger stations, and the provision of speed boats and ranger training. Marine rangers can stop poachers smuggling meat out of Dura - anywhere along the shoreline - by boat.

Better access will allow the rangers and UCF team to remove snares and carry out basic research to monitor wildlife dispersal through the area.
These actions will provide the much-needed conditions for the recovery of the Dura region to its former wildlife-rich habitat.

The Uganda Conservation Foundation does not underestimate the difficulty of this ambitious project. Support for this project has been generously provided by David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, International Elephant Foundation, SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, Tusk Trust and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

If you would like to help with a donation towards this project please click here.

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