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July Update Bwindi

July 25, 2017
Harold Goodwin
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Introduction to the initiative 

This initiative is supported by the UK Government’s Darwin Initiative | 

More details of this IIED project here.

Training is Paying Off

We have just had this email:

"Hi - Peter , sorry to ask this but kindly help me with some kind of advice. We are selling the new basket at $10 . But due to the high demand from clients, we want to sell them at $ 20
Well - actually - it does present a, sort of, problem ...what if ALL the ladies now only want to make these baskets? Because they can get more money! And that's only one element of the equation. Anyway - I'll deal with it next week. Nice feeling though !!"

Kyalisima who is head of the south side ladies group of trainees and who has been through the train-the-trainer residential week is now  'lecturing' on quality control.

The training of the trainers conducted by Sanaa Gateja in Kampala has been very successful.  Evelyn and Tina have reported that the two leading ladies from each (so 4 women) since returning from their one week residential in Sanaa's compound in Kampala - have rolled out the training and have now have reached about 20 women - and the same with Kayalisima over at Rushaga. So that's 60 now trained as a result of Sanaa training 6.

The new baskets are in high demand and are being priced at close to double 'others' - and they are being preferred to the customary designs and existing stock

With these new baskets 'flying off the shelves and tourists paying full price for a half finished basket ('cause where the lady was in the weaving was the right size for him) - Evelyn and Tina reckon that the financial impact, to the 4, is about a 50% increase in income.

Evelyn has just reported that as a result of us introducing a new range and design and it being in high demand - and that we have convinced her that 'on consignment' is counterproductive in livelihood terms, she has decided to buy all those baskets that pass the quality assessment - ergo - NOT just put them on the shelves and pay the ladies after stock is sold.

The new basket designs are of much higher quality and are more attractive to tourists. At a focus group test of the new products at Ride 4 a woman feedback suggests a substantial increase in the retail price of the women's baskets to a range between $40-$70.

 The “100% Forest Friendly” label shown in the photos is not intended to be a quality standard mark, but rather a flag we are using to indicate the products and initiatives that have been developed or improved through this project. Indeed ultimately we hope these products and initiatives will meet the necessary quality standards to be awarded a new “Gorilla Friendly” ecolabel which is currently under development by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme and Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network. At the moment, “100% Forest Friendly” simply means that the raw materials used were not collected from within Bwindi Forest – home of the endangered Mountain Gorilla – and that the products were produced by poor people living close to the edge of the park who have received product training and support through this project”.

New display cabinets have been introduced into the lodges.

New horticultural product

In February we asked Francis at Ruhija Gorilla Camp if he had tamarillo to make juice. He said he did not know that fruit - but - went to Kisoro, to see if any were imported from Rwanda. He found them and bought some & made juice,  He tasted it and liked it - so much so he had propagated seedlings & is now growing his own. He is now propagating more seedlings & will give them to the Batwa lady adjacent to his lodge & teach her how to grow tamarillo which he will then buy.


Despite that it is not collection season - as a direct result of us mobilising Golden Bees (Brian Mugisha) to both south side and Mpungu - they have been made aware that they can sell locally and not, necessarily, wait for the bulk wholesale sales to come. They have started to sell retail locally - and to beer brewers. This is a new practice.

Brian has reported that now they see opportunity (i.e. money) locally, to keep the small pennies flowing - and on the promise of higher volume and quality coming from Brian's training and his promise to buy all the new season production, they are pushing new flower planting, making the new design hives and starting new apiaries.

Brian - on the back of forecast increased volume and quality - has made the decision to open a honey shop in Rubuguri (signed the lease last week) and offer shares in it to the beekeepers - about 40 in the group, resulting in a direct impact on about 240 people - of new money.

Development of New Walking Trails for Visitors 

Other Potential Products Designed by Sanaa 

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