04 Sep
  • By Richard Bagyenyi
  • Cause in

Village Health and Conservation Teams (VHCTs) model expanded to Budongo Forest!

Greetings from Conservation Through Public Health.

On June 26th 2018, Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) in partnership with Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) Uganda and Budongo Forest Conservation Field Station (BCFS) launched the award winning Village Health and  Conservation Teams (VHCT) model in communities living around Budongo Forest.

The launch was attended by the existing Ministry of Health (MOH) Village Health Teams (VHTs)  community volunteers, Masindi district health team and sub-country technical staff as well as project implementation partners. Kasenene parish was selected for the initial stage of the program as it was agreed that they face the greatest number of challenges. VHCTs will be selected from the VHTs and will be trained as Village Health and Conservation Team’s with guidance from the head of VHTs and supervisors from Kasenene, in the presence of other stakeholders.

Group photo of project implementing partners

Selected VHCTs will work towards achieving enabling policies for sustainable use of Budongo forest, reduced destruction of Budongo forest, reduced threats to the chimpanzees and other wildlife, as well as, reduced family sizes and human population growth. The program will accomplish this through increased adoption of modern family planning methods and improved hygiene practices and health seeking behavior, hence improving the quality of life of people and animals surrounding Budongo. VHCTs will also be sustained through creating alternative livelihoods including group income generating projects and Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs). This project will also strengthen linkages with water management committees to increase access to clean water and ensure sustainable community water source management. Creating a sense of community ownership of the project will increase engagement and long-term sustainability. The Chairman of the Budongo Sub-County, Mr Kenneth Nyendwoha thanked the development partners and VHTs for their contributions and pledged his governmental support for the project.

Participants at the workshop

This VHCT and VLSA model was first introduced to communities of  Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in South Western Uganda when CTPH received funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Population Office in 2007. The success of this model led to  CTPH winning first prize of the Global Development  Network 2012 Japanese Most Innovative Development Project Award for scaling social service delivery. In 2015, CTPH received additional funding from the Japanese Social Development Fund  supported by the World Bank through the Global Development Network, which enabled the model to be scaled up to Mt Elgon National Park in Eastern Uganda and Mt Tshiaberimu and Mikeno sectors at Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Scaling up to Budongo forest was made possible, thanks to the great support of Darwin Initiative, under the project ‘Can Health investments benefit Conservation and Sustainable Development?’ that evaluated CTPH’s model and supported expansion of the VHCT and VSLA model to Budongo Forest Reserve and Mount Elgon National Park.

We will keep you posted on the developments and updates from Budongo

In other news

The Village Health and Conservation Team members in Bulambuli District in Mt Elgon are walking shoulder high and with smiles on their faces as two of the 5 group income livestock gave birth. This is one the VHCT groups in Mt Elgon National Park which were given alternative income generating activities during the implementation of the JSDF funded Integrated Conservation, health and community development model. In total VHCTs in the three districts of Kween, Bukwo and Bulambuli received 15 Friesian cows. Reports are coming in that cows from other districts are also pregnant likely to calf down soon. On top of the cows, the VHCTs are generously contributing money from their own sources to inject into their Village Savings and Loan Association which shows commitment to the project.

Please help us sustain these established structures!