Responsible Tourism in Uganda
Participate don't just spectate
Responsible Tourism & Let's Go Travel
Responsible Tourism as defined in Cape Town in 2002 at the World Summit for Sustainable Development is: “making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.” Responsible Tourism requires that operators, hoteliers, governments, local people and tourists take responsibility, take action to make tourism more sustainable”
At Let’s Go Travel we are passionate about Responsible Tourism and actively practice it by working with social enterprises whose goals are to helping people who don’t have the same opportunities as us. By working within tourism zones this enables the local people who are part of the social enterprise to also benefit from tourism.
We are also keenly aware that we must do our part to protect the environment in which we operate is a key aspect of Responsible Tourism.
During 2017 Let's Go Travel was fortunate enough to be an integral part of a joint Responsible Tourism Partnership and the International Institute for Environment and Development ( IIED ) process funded by the Darwin Initiative that looked at how to improve the lives of the people who live in and around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park through tourism. This was a product of earlier research carried out by the IIED that concluded that there was a negative attitude towards Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as conservation as a whole relating to the park.
We support the below projects by trying to include them as much as possible in all of our itineraries.
Ride 4 a Woman is a social enterprise set up to help women living in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi. The programme originally started by renting bicycles to tourists but nearly a decade later they have diversified to sewing, accommodation and were selected to be a part of the responsible tourism weaving initiative! The enterprise is run by Evelyn Habassa and her Husband Dennis.
More than 300 women from 11 villages now use or work at the Ride 4 a Woman community centre, where they can learn new skills to assist making a living and making it possible for their children to gain an education. Some of the skills are sewing, weaving, traditional dancing and singing.
The organisation also offers microfinance, helping women to help themselves and support their families. So far 100 women are benefitting from the Ride 4 a Woman Microfinance Program.
This retreat in the local community offers local women a place to stay, something to eat and a wage while they learn new skills.
Change A Life Bwindi was set up to help people around the Ruhija sector Bwindi to raise themselves out of poverty and engender social mobility within the region. The numerous projects empower the community to build a secure and sustainable future for themselves and for Bwindi National park. They were also chosen to be part of the responsible tourism weaving initiative and is headed up by Tina.
Tina Katushabe, is also the co-ordinator of the Batwa Heritage Centre, which preserves artefacts and information about Batwa culture. The centre was constructed with local material, the centre is located on the outskirts of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and portrays a sense of the lifestyle of the Batwa while still in the jungles. Inside the Batwa Heritage Centre are traditional items, such as baskets, calabashes, medicine, bark cloth, and spears. Part of the proceeds got from visiting the centre go to Batwa communities, to boost their economic way of life . In November 2020 Tina Katushabe and the organisation she runs, Change a Life Bwindi were recognised at the Responsible Tourism Awards, a great achievement for this social enterprise.
Bwindi Specialist Guides Group
The Bwindi Specialist Guide Group was set up as a direct result of the IIED and Darwin Foundation project mentioned above. International tourism professional Peter Nizette and Ugandan professional safari guide Johnnie Kamugisha trained a group of young 'Bwindi Specialist Guides' and helped them design and market three new walking trails that visit natural and cultural attractions.
One in Buhoma and two in Rubuguri. Each trail is an authentic reflection of the culture and traditions in the area and the guides who have been trained to an international standard are also from the are and therefore provide a unique insight as well as a personal view of the area. Please see below links to each of the trails:
This organisation has been a crucial link to the success of Gorilla Conservation as well and human-wildlife conflict in Uganda. This has been achieved by
Promoting conservation of gorillas through gorilla health and habitat conservation
Monitoring and tracking zoonotic disease transmissions between wildlife, humans and livestock to prevent outbreaks of deadly diseases.
Empower local communities, with a special focus on women, to be stewards of their environment and to practice health-seeking behaviour through the VHCT model.
Create sustainable income and improve livelihoods for community volunteers through income-generating projects and Village and Savings Loan Associations.
Identify and cultivate sustainable sources of funds to continue running CTPH programs.
Advocate for One Health and PHE approaches to be institutionalized into policies at the regional, national and multilateral level.
Agathas Taste of Uganda Tour
Just south of Kibale National Park visitor centre at Kanyanchu is KAFRED The Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development. The group is a Community Based Organization (CBO) whose purpose is to protect the local environment while advancing health, education and economic growth in the wider local community.
The organisation protects the 4-sq-km Magombe Swamp by providing three-hour guided walks in the area. The Swamp is home to around 200 species of birds (highlights include papyrus gonolek, white-winged warbler and great blue turaco). It's also good for spotting butterflies and primates, with eight different species here, including grey-cheeked mangabey.
Other activities available include village walks and on Saturday-afternoon basket-weaving demonstrations, dance and drama performances, and fun interpretive meals.