Women groups engaged in protecting chimpanzees in Kikuube and Hoima Districts have received Shs40m as resilient fund from the Switzerland-based Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to encourage and empower them to continue planting trees that form a good habitat for the endangered animal species besides enhancing their household financial stand.
Through Bulindi Chimpanzee and Conservation Project (BCCP) based in Hoima district, three Women Chimpanzee Conservation Savings Groups have received Shs21m with each taking Shs7m, according to the project Manager, Mr Moses Semahunge.
The money is being used to support women in enhancing their tree planting schemes as they push forward their initiative against chimpanzee-human conflict that has of late seen both people and chimpanzees struggle for survival following a sharp increase in human population resulting in deforestation.
This scenario provoked chimpanzees to seek new habits and food sources, bringing them into human fields and backyards, thus, direct confrontation with the families that live there – the reason some women formed groups to protect them against extinction.
In his submission at the launch of the Kyaisamba Women Chimpanzee Conservation Savings Group at Kyaisamba cell in Kikuube town council, Kikuube district, Mr Semahunge said that the resilience fund to be released in two phases of Shs3.5m after a month, benefits more than 90 women from three groups in the two mid-western border districts of Uganda.
Through the bank, Kyabasengya and Kiranzi Women Chimpanzee Conservation Savings Groups in Hoima district are other beneficiaries that will receive the money.
Mr Semahunge revealed that the fund is channelled to women because they are the gender that is most affected by chimpanzees besides being better money handlers with good financial management discipline.
More women groups protecting chimpanzees and planting trees also meant for environmental conservation will next year also benefit from the resilience fund, he revealed.
The Kyaisamba Village Chairman, Mr Patrick Nohamanyire, underscored the importance of cooperation among the members saying it is the best vehicle to community development.
Ms Rosemary Katusiime, the Kyaisamba Women Chimpanzee Conservation Savings Group Chairperson, disclosed that the group that was established on May 8, last year, currently has Shs3,482m on their account with 30 members each contributing Sh30,000 every two weeks.
She advised her fellow group members to invest the money in income generating projects in order to cause a multiplier process in the financial chain to improve their socio-financial statuses.
Mr Ibrahim Mugenyi, the Kikuube Town Council Local Government Chairman, encouraged all people to copy the women’s design by focusing on environmental protection by planting trees; urging BCCP to distribute tree seedlings to area residents.
“We also need tree seedlings given to us. We are very ready to plant as many trees as we can to conserve the environment.” He said.
Mr Mugenyi urged the women to use the money properly well knowing that it is a revolving fund to benefit other members.
“Make sure that you properly handle the money that you have been given. We don’t want disappointment at the end.”
Ms Brenda Mirembe, the National Representative at JGI, told the women never to hesitate to seek more financial support from JGI through their project authorities.