Improving livelihoods through sustainable management of forest resources

So far, the project has managed to achieve a number of successes and these include;

Increased collaboration between NFA and Local forest adjacent communties: following the successful negotaition and signing of four Collaborative Forest Managament agreements between FACs and NFA, there has been harmonised and streamlined access to forest resources by the local communities. Over 600 Batwa and 1020 households of other community members now have access to forest products under agreed arrangements through CFM agreements, community attitude towards the forest is very positive and this has promoted the co-management of the forest by NFA and other stakeholders. NFA and Community relationships which had hitherto been hostile have greatly improved. Environmental education and awareness programmes among schools and local communities has helped in shaping the attitudes and practices of the local people and to engage in activities aimed at sustainable natural resource management. 15 primary schools and over 3000 households in the project area are actively involved in positive environmental practice activities.  

As part of the livelihood improvement and provision of alternative sources of forest based resources, different Income Generating Activities such as mushroom growing, bee keeping, fruit growing, Sustainable Organic Agriculture (SOA) activities - including vegetable growing and agro-forestry are now being implemented by over 1200 households and this has increased economic activities thus contributing to alternative sources and options for livelihood improvement by approx 30%.

Capacity of local communities including the UOBDU and the CFM associations to advocate for local rights, benefits and participation in natural resources have improved .This has empowered communities, especially the marginalised batwa groups to engage and negotiate with NFA for their rights and access to forest resources.

Being a hilly terrain, soil erosion is a common phenomenon leading to degradation of soils and hence less productive. In order to address this, the project supports a soil and water conservation programme to establish soil erosion control structures. To date, a total of 438 soil and water conservation trenches covering an approximate two square kilometres have been constructed. This has tremendously minimized soil erosion at those sites and improved soil fertility while stabilization materials such as Stallia and Agro-forestry trees are now being used as fodder, firewood, and housing materials. This has resulted into increased crop yields (approx 35%) and offered alternative sources to forest resources thus reduced pressure (approx 23%) on Echuya Forest.
240,000 trees and 5,000 bamboos have been planted by about 700 households. This has increased tree coverage in the project area and will help FACs to access firewood, poles, bean stakes and handicraft materials in future providing an alternative to the forest resource.