Assessment of the contribution of collaborative management to the livelihoods of households adjacent to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Collaborative management (CM) of protected areas refer to the partnership by which various stakeholders agree to share management functions, rights and responsibilities for resources under protected status. In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP), the stakeholders include government (UWA), the local communities, NGO’s and business operators. CM was adopted to overcome the shortcomings of centralized management that caused conflicts between BINP management and the adjacent communities. UWA, provide some incentives to the local people to ensure that they benefit from wildlife conservation, improve their livelihoods and change their attitudes towards conservation. Basing on the time since CM was implemented in BINP (since 1993) and drawing on empirical studies conducted in other protected areas, this study examined the extent to which CM has contributed to the livelihoods of households adjacent to BINP. Data was collected from a random of parishes and villages basing on proximity to the park. The contribution of CM was assessed by the proportion of households that benefited from its activities and the rates (from very poor to good) respondents assigned to the level of benefits got with respect to income, education, health, road infrastructure, domestic water supply and control of animal-crop raiding. The study also sought potential opportunities that could be used to improve the performance of CM and increase benefits for the households adjacent to BINP. Results show that the contribution of CM to the livelihoods of communities adjacent to BINP is perceived to be low because it is not generating enough benefits to improve their livelihoods. This was attributed to high losses from animal –crop raiding, limited involvement in planning and implementation of CM programme activities. Consequently, participants suggested opportunities like improvement in animal-crop raiding control methods, capacity building, increase on revenue sharing funds, bottom-up planning and increase in the quantity and type of resources harvested from BINP. Therefore, further research should be carried out on the quantity and quality of resources to ascertain how much can be availed to households. In addition, studies should be carried out on how direct revenue sharing by households can be done.