Kyomugisha says the project has changed the lives of Rubirizi residents as they are now able to pay fees for their children in private schools and universities. She says that they have also constructed social amenities such as health facilities, energy stoves and a hotel, which has brought windfall profits that they only dreamt of in the past.
Jovita Kyomugisha, a Community Wild Life Conservationist
grew up knowing that elephants only provide revenue from tourists. However, when
Kyomugisha, went to Magambo Sub County in Rubirizi district, some elders told
her that Elephant dung was a source of revenue for locals.
She kept wondering how residents got the courage to gather
elephant dung, but the elders explained to her that the dung was more paying to
residents compared to when they act as tour guides. Kyomugisha says that one of
the elders who was working with the United National Development Program-UNDP
explained to her that the elephant dung could be processed and turned into
She later received training a month-long training
from UNDP together with other residents on how to convert the dung into paper. They
embarked on making paper, books, wallets and table mats after the training. Kyomugisha
says the idea of making paper from the elephant dung came from turning a
difficult situation into an opportunity.
walked into our gardens all the time, destroying crops and incensing the
locals, we decided to get what they left in our gardens and make something
productive like paper,” she told URN. Together with a group of 100 women and six men, they
signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in
2019 granting them access to Queen Elizabeth National park to collect elephant
Kyomugisha says the project has
changed the lives of Rubirizi residents as they are now able to pay fees for
their children in private schools and universities. She says that they have also constructed social
amenities such as health facilities, energy stoves and a hotel, which has brought
windfall profits that they only dreamt of in the past.
Moses Agaba, one of those involved in producing paper
from elephant dung, says they collect at least 1300 Kilograms of dung that they
use to produce least 50 books of 40 pages each in varying sizes. He says they sale the books at between Shillings
20,000 and 100,000.
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Happy Ali, one of those involved in the elephant dung project from Mutundwe in
Kampala, says they are often escorted by rangers to pick the dung from queen
Elizabeth National park.
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Ali says at least 2,000 people are benefiting from the
elephant dung product value chain including dung gatherers, sorters, purifiers, papermakers, bookmakers and traders.
Simplicious Gessa, the Public
Relations Officer Uganda Wildlife Authority, says the use of elephant dung for income
generating activities has partly reduced elephant poaching and increased love
for the animal from the local communities.
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According to the UWA statistics, the elephant populations in Uganda rose from
4393 to 5810 elephants between 2011 and 2019.