Elgon Wildlife Conservation Organization
Projects

YOUTH SKILLS CENTER

Bamboo furniture and Crafts

Elgon Carpentry and bamboo enterprise is a social enterprise of Elgon Wildlife  Conservation Organization  and registered under  the Uganda Bamboo Association. Its main goal is to promote Sustainable and Profitable utilization of Bamboo Resources to boost national wealth and ecosystem health in indigenous Communities around Mount Elgon National Park, Echuya Forest Reserve, Bwindi impenetrable national park and other Protected Areas in Uganda.

Project Objectives

The  project will integrate in a succinct manner with the national strategies of the indigenous communities as well as provide tangible goals and results. In pursuing such an objective, this project will cover four important thematic areas: climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity, and contribution towards sustainable development using bamboo as a tool of change

 The enterprise also  promotes community bamboo domestication and propagation by providing planting materials to communities and has a Community Carpentry Centre for training bamboo growers in value addition skills.

Through partnership with Uganda Bamboo Association it provides training to farmers on bamboo propagation, sustainability and value addition. Farmers also obtain planting materials and we carry out cooperative marketing of their bamboo resources. The project   provides training in bamboo processing and craft design for participatory selected, interested youngsters from indigenous communities with basic vocational education. The project also provides basic entrepreneurship training. Trainees are encouraged to establish community based enterprises and if willing are technically assisted. The response of communities and training impact is regularly monitored and lessons are recorded for up-scaling of the innovation.

In essence, this project aims to develop community-private sector business partnerships in achieving forest restoration, forest productivity and improved livelihoods in three landscapes in the areas of operation focusing specifically on  engaging with indigenous  community lead forest production and conservation models. In particular, by including bamboo and other  non-timber forest products in these models, they will have the potential to achieve significant economic and restoration outcomes. The aim of these models is to strengthen community lead sustainable forest management practices while making them attractive to the local bamboo, timber, fuel and furniture processing industry

Activities

Capacity Building

  • Elgon bamboo enterprise seeks to build institutional capacity for a vibrant and profitable green economy around the bamboo industry in Uganda. this involves creation of bamboo resources to allow for the availability of seedlings and farm inputs on one end and the availability of advanced technology and processing  and capitalization on the other end. In addition to  policy research and advocacy, resource mobilization to harness human resources, technological and financial resources needed for a vibrant industry..
  • Research and training

Elgon bamboo craft enterprise is committed to providing research and training activities aimed at facilitating knowledge and skills development in bamboo propagation, planting, and utilization for indigenous communities near protected areas .This involves putting in place mechanisms not only to harness knowledge and technology transfer from advanced economies, but also to promote and nurture knowledge creation and technology development from local research and enterprise in Uganda

  • Influence policy shifts in Land use to integrate Bamboo
    growing into the National wealth creation program
  • Setting up demonstration center for community bamboo
    enterprise development
  • Setting  up working facilities at Elgon work sites
  • Preparing  Demo center plan and training strategy
  • Preparing  and disseminating   guidelines for bamboo propagation
  • Establishing  nurseries for bamboo seedlings for farmers
  • Sensitizing  community members and leaders on economic and ecologic value of bamboo
  • Procuring  training materials on Bamboo
  • Training members and community members on Bamboo utilization
  • Hosting  member visits to the demo centers and receiving  new members
  • Procuring  (materials, tools, equipment, machineries and utilizes) for training in Bamboo value addition and Enterprise Development
  • Conducting  and or participating  in National exhibitions
  •  

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

By marketing traditional indigenous crafts we are providing sustainable and alternative incomes for local communities, empowering women artisans, sustaining our Schools for Conservation, and reducing local dependency on forest resources. Proceeds from every purchase go directly to the communities through an ethical social business model where they can be applied in a culturally-appropriate manner. By collaborating with local communities and other non-government organizations to train and engage a younger generation of artisans we are successfully reviving lost cultures.

BAMBOO FOR CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

 Bamboo is a Non-Timber Forest product (NTFPs) which are   essential community resources managed in forest and agroforest forms. Bamboo   has proved significance in harmonizing livelihood needs of communities and conservation of biodiversity. Bamboo is one of these product categories with ample potential for economic development and forest conservation. In order to optimize these dual potential, the need for value addition to reduce pressure on the resource base and increase income per unit of ecological resource consumed is increasingly recognized. Moreover, the proportion of benefits accrued for communities will be higher if the value addition practice started right at the production area and by the communities themselves. Therefore, assisting communities for developing community based craft enterprises is assumed as one of the pathways towards the dual goal.

Previous study shows that existing craft products though of inferior quality, have medium to level of market and is reported as growing. Moreover, consumers are complaining about the quality and durability. Therefore, the assumption is that if the product quality improved, these growing consumers will not shift to other substitutes. Moreover, tourism is a major market niche for craft products and is growing in about 10 percent per year in Uganda. The Elgon region is on the major tourist route. Thus, craft workers can benefit from this growing industry. Similarly, tourism service providers are growing and buy several product types for decorating their recreation houses. Therefore, working on technological capacity building of communities tackles one of the key problems.

As a result, this project envisages to implement an ambitious community oriented action research and development at the grass-root level taking bamboo as a pilot product.

 Bamboo Products Innovation and Commercialization in Uganda, Implication on Forest Conservation and Local Livelihood

Management of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) such as timber and indigenous trees is the oldest form of forestry practice. Despite its early start in the history of forest management, the utilization technology is still low with limited investment for innovation. However, in the last 30 years interest for these product categories has revived again. The desire for ecosystem based management and the need for improving local livelihood while conserving nature are the two major drivers for the renewed interest in the subsector

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