Advancing New Innovations of Managing HIV/AIDS and Climate Change through Diary Goats

Biodiversity Conservation for Rural Development-Uganda (BCRD-Uganda) is a community-based organization (CBO) registered in 2008 with Kisoro District Local Government. BCRD-Uganda engages rural farmers, indigenous and minority groups in community-based projects to improve their lives and promote conservation. Our geographical focus is the Albertine Rift Region, a biodiversity hotspot that is faced with many challenges like climate change effects, abject poverty, gender-based violence, natural resource degradation, human-wildlife conflicts and other challenges in this region that we are working hard to alleviate.

The project seeks to promote a revolving diary goat scheme to improve the health and economic status of PLWHA (people living with HIV/AIDS) in Nyakabande Sub-county, Kisoro District, and contribute to combating climate change. The £2,499 project funds will be used to empower 50 PLWHA from Mbabazi and Twizere HIV Groups in diary goat management as well as procure 34 diary goats and distribute to trained members. The project will basically: (i) Build the capacity of women through training courses and demonstrations on better animal and soil management practices (ii) Provide inputs that will enable households to improve production and productivity for improved household incomes and environmental sustainability; and (iii) create awareness for improved health and the ABC (Abstinence, Being faithful and Condom-use) strategy of preventing HIV/AIDS.  With experienced and motivated staff, the project will be a learning project for future up-scaling to other organizations, communities and regions.


Mushroom production and value addition project

This project, implemented by Youth Empowerment in Enterprise Development (YEED), seeks to increase incomes among mushroom producers and other stakeholders by establishing a vibrant development agenda to generate and promote technological options that will enhance the production and marketability of mushrooms to meet local, regional and international markets.  This project will continue work previously carried out on the development of a locally produced mushroom soup.  Currently the mushroom soups eaten in Uganda are imported from South Africa and India.  There is high demand for a new Ugandan soup product (Tiiko soup) with a brand name "Chillo" and it is anticipated that the mushrooms produced from this project will help to meet this demand


Beekeeping projects

We have supported three groups, Mon-Bunyu (Mon-bunyu in the local Acholi dialect means "women smiles") women empowerment group (2007), Oryang Ojuma Women project and Giligili Women beekeepers (in 2008). These groups with over 80 members have over 150 local and wooden beehives. They have been collaborating with different institutions and organisations, as a result they have demonstrated great success in terms of increased honey production, knowledge acquisition and overall poverty alleviation. Since inceptions, the 3 groups have earned over 3.5 million Ugandan Shillings (approximately £1,100) from the sale of honey and other bee products. As a result, poverty amongst rural beekeepers has reduced and their living conditions and livelihood status improved.

More importantly, members of these 3 project groups came together and founded the Acholi Beekeepers Cooperative Society. This will help them and other beekeepers work together, enhance their capacity, improve the marketing of honey and other bee products and assit in certifying their bee products with fair trade organisations. This Cooperative is registered and plans are underway to affiliate it to the national Beekeepers body. Beekeepers in other villages are also being mobilised to access membership.

During January 2010, these groups pulled their resources and with funding support from another donor conducted 3 days residential training for over 178 beekeepers from the whole Kitgum region. Among the topics conducted were; cost benefit analysis, book keeping, honey bees, the colony, bee behaviour, apiary management , hive colonization methods, the enemies of bees and pest management, how to construct protective equipment, using locally available materials, honey harvesting and hive inspection ,honey processing and marketing.

Community managed revolving fund/micro-credit schemes were established from honey sales and these are providing micro-credit loans to the farmers to expand on their entrepreneurial activities. This revolving fund will adopt effective micro-finance facilities for the beekeepers in 2010.

 Commercial and Conservation Ox-Farming Project

Omega farmers group, Gulu District,  lost many of their livestock, tools and other property in the recent civil war.  This project is intended to help members of the farmer group generate substantial income and thereby improve their food security and socio-economic status through increased food productivity using commercial and conservation ox-farming methods. 

Due to the lack of tools, farmers only have access to hand hoes and it has been noted that farmer are often late to plant crops which leads directly to a decrease in productivity.  This project aims to help overcome this situation by providing eight oxen along with appropriate training in ploughing techniques and animal care.  To ensure efficient use of natural resources and combat environmental degradation, beneficiaries will be trained in sound ecological principles such as afforestation and soil fertility management. 

Income will be generated through the project by hiring out the oxen to other community residents.  This income will form the community revolving fund to purchase more oxen, ploughs and carts which will be distributed to other groups in the District.  The project will initially provide direct benefits to 200 members of the Omega Farmers Group.