The Kibale Association for Rural and Economic Development is a small non-governmental organization that has developed conservation initiatives to benefit the community of Bigodi, near the Kibale Forest National Park, and to preserve natural resources. KAFRED has started a local library, built two classrooms for the secondary school, and augments the salaries of six teachers. They are building a dispensary with a maternity ward, have formed a bee-keeping training club, teach bio-control and progressive farming, and are planning a maize-threshing mill for the farmers and a community hall for the village. An impenetrable hedge of Mauritius thorn is being planted to keep the baboons out of the adjoining fields. Farmers on adjoining land are now members of KAFRED free of charge. KAFRED guides take children from the local schools – the children of the peasant farmers – on regular swamp walks. Here they learn to identify birds, trees and animals, and are taught the value of the swamp to their families.
One of KAFRED’s greatest accomplishments has been the development of a walking tour through the Magombe Swamp near Bigodi. This swamp contains hundreds of bird species, up to ten species of primates, and a huge diversity of plant and insect life. This walk has been developed by members of the community for tourists as a sustainable income generating project, and a means of protecting a valuable wetland and its unique species. Landowners are shareholders in this venture and receive a portion of the revenues in exchange for preserving wetlands areas that they own instead of planting crops.
· Carrying out an inventory of species in Bigodi swamp
· Building teachers’ houses at Bigodi Secondary School
· Constructing water cisterns and catchment devices
· Developing plant and dye gardens for natural dyes for Bigodi Womens’ Handicraft Group
· Planting fruit and indigenous trees around Bigodi area schools
· Constructing a community hall in Bigodi
· Installing a grain mill in Bigodi
· Home stays with Ugandan families
Volunteers will have the wonderful experience of staying with a Ugandan family, whose home has running water and electricity. Volunteers are housed in quarters in the family compound, and will join the family for all meals, which will be healthy, and wholesome dishes prepared using food from the family’s garden and farm. Volunteers will be welcome to participate in meal preparation and other daily family activities.