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Absence of School Field Activities Leave Kazinga Channel Guides Counting Losses

Kazinga Channel and Katwe Landing site are key geographical study destinations for students both in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
Some of the boats dock at the channel on Tuesday

Audio 4

Student tour guides on Kazinga Channel in Kasese District are decrying the limited business activities following a ban on study tours due to the covid-19 pandemic.   

Kazinga Channel and Katwe Landing site are key geographical study destinations for students both in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.     The 32 km channel links Lake Edward and Lake George and is a dominant feature of Queen Elizabeth National Park. 

Though the government allowed for a phased re-opening of schools it is not yet clear when school field studies would resume.   

Muhammad Ateng is one of the long-serving student guides heading the Kazinga Channel Fishing and Wildlife Information Services-KCFWIS. He says that the Covid-19 period affected the business and he is yet to recover.

According to Ateng, on average he would receive between 10 to 15 schools for fieldwork studies.  He explains that a group of 50 learners are charged 70,000 shillings as a study fee and each person is then charged 5,000 to 8,000 Shillings for a boat ride.

Ateng also says that the learners could also support the local traders by buying their goods.    

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Ateng says he had put up a temporary teaching structure to host the learners but it’s nearly crumbling due to lack of proper maintenance.  Ateng wants the government to allow study tours to resume since schooling activities have re-opened.  

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John Depic working with Kazinga field of tourism as a fish study facilitator says his work entirely depends on students who come for field studies. He is worried that many of them could forget some of the key teaching areas which hinder their experience.  

On a good day especially during the second term-, Depic says he would make 800,000 to 1.5 million shillings. 

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Depic also says they are grappling to pay a bank loan amounting to 1.5 Million Shillings they acquired last year to construct a temporary class for the visiting students.  

He wants the government to support them financially through their SACCO’s so that they can pull through the tough times.  

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Kiiza Exepedito, a tour guide at the landing site says they would often have many schools booking during April as schools planned for second term field study activities.    

However, this has not been the case this time.  

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Pontius Ezuma, the Chief Warden Queen Elizabeth National Park says that they are yet to recover from the covid-19 pandemic. He explains that both learners and tourists financially contribute to the tourism desk since the channel is inside the national park.