Uganda’s Budongo Forest is a critical chimpanzee habitat, home to an estimated 800 chimps, and among the world’s highest conservation priorities.
As in many other conservation areas, the Budongo Forest is under threat largely due to the poverty of the area which forces people to supplement meager incomes with forest products. Which population—people or primates—takes precedence? We believe the answer to this question is not “either/or” but “both.”
In partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute, the Budongo Conservation Field Station, and other conservation organizations, we have expanded our model to create an integrated microenterprise program that empowers individuals in the surrounding communities, promotes chimpanzee and forest conservation, and lifts local income levels. Our goal is to provide the people who live around endangered biodiversity hotspots with the knowledge, skills, and economic opportunities to live sustainably with the forest and to protect chimpanzee habitat and local resources against future threats.
Since the start of this innovative program in July 2007 Village Enterprise has launched over 840 businesses, reduced illegal activities, and inspired planned expansion to other protected areas in East Africa.
Florence Cabsindi Village Enterprise
Entrepreneur in Budongo.