BATWA EMPOWEREMENT PROGRAM

The Batwa people are one of the last groups of short structured people know as pygmies living in the mountain slopes of Bwindi National park in Mpungu sub-county – Kanungu district in Western Uganda. When the National park was gazetted for the safety of the gorillas they sought refuge in the neighboring communities and have continuously done hard labour to earn a living. The government of Uganda has continuously earned from the forest through tourism and no direct benefit goes to the Batwa people which has left them financially incapacitated and ended up producing very many children that they can’t even afford to look after given the fact that they don’t even have land.

The Batwa have been discriminated and marginalized for a long time and due to the traditional belief that sex with a Mutwa women cures HIV/AIDS and back pain, the women have been victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence.

According to one of the women, being discriminated in the Bakiga community where they live and at school has resulted in their children performing poorly at school while others have dropped out of school due to constant bullying while others have totally failed to join school. Although the Batwa are traditionally hunters, they have been forced into other forms of Labour where they end up being expoited for very low pay or no pay at all.

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