Community Initiatives for Biodiversity Conservation (CIBIC) is a non-profit Organisation initiated in 2012 by the community members neighboring BINP led by Mr. Tusingwire John Bosco. CIBIC is owned and operated by the local community. CIBIC began as a community-based Organisation and later graduated to a Non-Governmental Organisation as per the operation permit number 6341 under the Non-Governmental Organisation Act 2016 of the Republic of Uganda.
Tusingwire John Bosco is a native of the Bwindi Community in Kanungu District. His motivation to start CIBIC derived from his own life experiences characterized by poverty, extreme hardship in education due to persistent poverty and occasional hunger. However the fact that through life trials and errors, he was remembered by God in 2004 when he got a generous God fearing person to sponsor his education on a diploma level up to 2007, and another one to further his education at the University of Makerere doing a degree in agricultural land use and management, from 2009 to 2012 through tourism activities in Bwindi. While John was at the university after his first year he got a vision of rewarding the conservation of the mountain Gorillas as way to end poverty, hunger and malnutrition in the communities adjacent to the park. John wishes that the new generations should not taste his life experience when he was still young (5-25 years of age). This is the reason while he mobilized other community members to come up together as a team and have CIBIC started and running to further enhancement of his dream.
Therefore CIBIC was formed to empower local communities neighboring national parks to reduce conservation threats and contribute to nature conservation through sustainable agriculture for alternative sources of food and income as opposed to poaching. CIBIC empowerment activities includes conservation benefit education and awareness, operating learning centers and field demonstration gardens for training and supporting beneficiaries in sustainable farming of fish, mushrooms, vegetables, fruits and small animal rearing and providing agricultural consulting services remotely to farmer members. CIBIC also enables farmer’s access to local produce markets and tourism lodges. CIBIC established new markets to local tourism lodges for local food purchase replacing food previously purchased in the cities and outside countries. This opportunity allows local farmers to enjoy the benefit of nature conservation hence allowing them to voluntarily conserve it. CIBIC goal is to establish an environment where humanity and nature are in harmony.
CIBIC is located in Buhoma Village, Kayonza Sub County, and Kanungu District in south western Uganda. It also operates a cooperative society partnership that is registered under the name Reformed Poachers and Batwa Farmers’ Cooperative Society Limited. The Organisation is working with Reformed poacher families including men and women and their children from around the national parks. CIBIC also works with indigenous communities like the Batwa pygmies of Bwindi. Our activities cut across all the age groups.
The primary beneficiaries of this project are 1,004 Batwa Pygmies whose lives traditionally depended on the forest for food gathering and hunting before their eviction. Also 296 Women and 201 Reformed poachers in communities neighboring the national park in Kanungu District and 2,000 youth from five schools in communities neighboring Bwindi and Mgahinga National parks.
Who We Serve
Community Initiatives for Biodiversity Conservation is currently serving over 3500 people in south western corner of Uganda. The organisation is located 12 hours of drive from Kampala the capital on poor roads and also one and a half Km from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park headquarters and two kilometers from Democratic Republic of Congo boarder. Many people here are subsistence farmers and live below $1/day.
In particular we serve the Batwa pygmies, Reformed poachers and women, living around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Though the conditions seems to be tough, what we see at CIBIC is people who are energetic, proud, strong, caring and giving even when it seems there is nothing left to give. They are people who are determined to improve the quality of their lives and lives of their families. We help them to organize into groups and empower them with knowledge, skills and resources, necessary to transform their livelihoods. We also help to reduce on stigma of already stressed landless people through providing them jobs on the farm, keeping them socially active working with others in village organised groups, have constant access to nutritious foods such as mushroom that help in boasting their body’s immunity a good alternative to bush meat and other wild edibles.
Meet the Team
Community Initiatives for Biodiversity Conservation works with Reformed poachers, local women and Batwa as employees and currently the number is 35. These are energetic women and men who work tirelessly to improve their lives and the lives of others while offering much needed services in the community. The organisation is headed by the Executive director Mr. Tusingwire John Bosco who owns a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural land use and management assisted by tourism assistant that welcomes visitors and guides them through our activities other five tehnocrats. The rest are local X-poachers, women and Batwa with special needs the organisation has trained on the farm. The organisation is proud to have recruited such vulnerable community people and empowered them to be helpful and rather resourceful in that special way and we consider ourselves to be a modal organisation in that regard.
Our staff members are our most valuable resource; they help us to achieve our work that we do. The organisation has the desire to recruit more professional man power on the team and continue adding more local people on the list of service in order to reduce on increasing stigma and make more grassroots people feel the ownership of nature and biodiversity conservation. This is still a challenge because the organisation is not yet stable financially and many would love to work in the city doing off-farm jobs. We plan to improve on the attraction by increasing the working environment, pay salaries on time, provide accommodation for workers, focus on teaching, promoting staff who perform better and invest in local people through providing scholarships for them so that when they graduate they can come back and work with us.
We continue to invest in our staff by training them, providing them with launch and organizing team building, get together parties. Our goal is to recruit people with desire to stay and to help others.
News & Events
CIBIC recently supported the community organized groups using the support grant from Rufford small grant for nature conservation. About five groups each composed of Fifteen to Twenty people were involved in this event. Our selection criterion was that for a group to be considered for an award, it must meet the following requirements; be registered with the government, be already doing some activities or planning to start, be willing to keep pigs communally and be willing to come for training and also welcome the training team in their group. Typically the program targeted groups that are Reformed poacher, Batwa Pygmies initiated, woman lead and youth initiatives.
On 26th November 2013 all the groups had been selected, trained and given information about the benefits for conservation of nature, so they were given their pig pairs on that day. Currently the organisation is carrying out a monitoring exercise, but the findings from the field is that women groups perform better than other groups Batwa Pygmies have the second position while the youth perform poorly compared to the rest. Congratulations to Bukyuragizi Women’s group.
We continue to boast the groups that are doing better with high levels of success and encourage those whose performance is low. This is done through developing mutual relationships, learning things together and trying new methods and ideas. We provide additional technical support, and materialistic in-puts are provided to unlock any challenges that may limit them to go to the next level.
Winning the 2014 SEED Award
In 2014 CIBIC also won Africa SEED AWARD under sustainable mushroom farming enterprise. CIBIC was recognized because of its entrepreneurial and innovative idea that is locally-driven and has great potential to contribute to sustainable development enterprises which have the potential to make real improvements in poverty eradication and environmental sustainability while contributing to a greener economy. From 9-11 September 2014, Mr Tusingwire John Bosco the founding director for CIBIC attended and participated in the high level symposium that was held in Nairobi Kenya. SEED Initiatives is an initiative of UNEP IUCN and UNDP