Hi this is Tuver,
I have been travelling around some of our project sites over the past few weeks to see how people were getting on. Just recently, for example, I visited the Batwa farmers in the UOBDU project.
Since being evicted from the National Park forests in 1991, the Batwa people have struggled with landlessness, low productivity, and a dependence on handouts. The Gorilla Organization has been working to address these issues by giving six Batwa groups opportunities to hire land and cultivate their own crops.
When I arrived on this latest trip, I cannot tell you how pleased I was to see the successes of this project. All six groups had had a successful season, growing 73 sacks of Irish potatoes, of which, 25 sacks were sold, raising UGSH 1,395,000 ($526) for the farmers.
The Nyakabande group had had a particularly prudent season. Although they grew fewer sacks than the Biizi group (14 sacks compared to 19), they managed to sell more than half by consuming less than almost all other groups.
They had put their profits, along with those from last season, together and purchased 19 new mattresses for their homes (seen in this small picture here). I arrived just in time to witness the deliveries, which were received amongst much joy and the group pledged to redouble their efforts for next season.
As always, it’s good to see the people making good livelihoods outside of the forests, spelling good news for both them and, of course, for our cousins the gorillas who live in peace and thrive.