Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development
KAFRED was founded in 1992, in order to conserve areas of rich biodiversity outside nationally protected areas, wetlands in particular, and to benefit communities from tourism businesses in the area, mainly Kibale National Park (KNP). Membership has grown to 81 and includes other groups, e.g. Bigodi Woman's Group (BWG) with 40 members, the Bigodi Peanut Butter Group with 8 members, and the Enyange Dramactors singing and acting group.
KAFRED's founding members overwhelmingly agreed on the need to conserve Magombe Swamp, which is today known as Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. The wetland is a stretch of about 8 km long and 1/3 km wide, attached to KNP at both ends. It acts as a corridor for animals from the southern to the northern parts of the KNP. A large trench that runs through the middle of the wetland is an old hippopotamus trail from the 1960s. Because of the wetland's rich biodiversity, it was resolved that the tourism could bring benefits to the community and hence encourage conservation of this important natural resource.
KAFRED's main objectives are conservation of natural and cultural resources, promotion of conservation education, and support of community development projects through tourism. Specific goals include:
- Increased household income and standard of living.
- Less soil and water contamination.
- More attractive local environment for tourism.
- Improved conservation awareness in the community.
- Developed community projects, for example schools.
- Reduced swamp/wetlands encroachment.
- Increased number of tourists and income.
- Reduced human-animal conflict.
Managed entirely by the local community, KAFRED now supports a secondary school, a health clinic and works with local partners to provide teacher trainings. The national and international communities have taken note, awarding KAFRED with the UNDP Equator Initiative Prize in both 2004 and 2010 and best Ugandan Conservation Business of 2011.