The Batwa community in south western Uganda have been urged to embrace sustainable development activities and stop relying on begging in order to improve their standard of living.
This call was made by the Rubanda District senior labour officer Ritah Nalubiri over the weekend as the Batwa received a donation of 1.2 tones of posho as a relief food from Kabale District Orphans and Vulnerable Children Living with HIV (KADOLAH).
According to Nalubiri, the Batwa community cannot improve and develop if they continue to depend on the visitors and well-wishers.
“You need to invest in agriculture, save the little money you work for, educate your children for a better future. It will be difficult for you to get out of poverty and ignorance if you continue to focus and depend on donations” Nalubiri said.
Andrew Buhungiro, the Director of KADOLAH noted that the Batwa people were among those most hurt by the coronavirus lockdown.
The food relief donation benefited at least 319 families of the Batwa of Murubindi and Kinyarushengye in Rubanda District, and those of Kyevu in Kabale District.
Only a handful of Batwa people own very little agricultural land in designated locations in hard-to-reach hilly terrain near the Echuya forest.
Before the declaration of the Echuya as a central government forest reserve, the forest was heavily encroached upon.
Up to now, some activities such as wild hunting, collection of honey, mushrooms, water, bamboo for basket making, building poles, making of bee hives and fire wood are being carried out by both Batwa and
non-Batwa dominant ethnic communities.
However, the Batwa illegally hunt in the forest due to lack of alternative sources of food.