Bwindi Development Network
The Bwindi Development Network are a community-based project located in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Southwestern Uganda. Their work centres around reforming traditional poachers and giving them sustainable alternative livelihoods. Not only does this work protect the endangered mountain gorillas that live in the national park, but also gives the people living in the frontline communities a better quality of life.
Leading the way with this project is founder and director Alex Ngabirano, whose role consists of giving educational talks and training to ex-poachers, providing gorilla treks for tourists, and running a number of other tourism experiences.
Scroll down to read about the story of an ex-poacher who was reformed by Alex and the Bwindi Development Network and how this has helped him and his family.
Founder and Director
My name is Mugyenyi Sadayo and come from the Mukono Village in South Western Uganda and I am married with two children. I first turned to poaching due to a lack of basic needs like food and money, and needed a way to support my family. I used to like poaching duikers, bush pigs, porcupine and civet. We had problems with Gorillas and I would fight them in defence but they were not our target.
The Bwindi Development Network helped me move away from poaching and incentivised me to conserve and protect wildlife. They educated me on the diseases you can easily get from eating wildlife animals and they continued to call us for meetings and training and we are always given lunch and a transport refund. The project continues to support us and improve our livelihoods so we no longer have to turn to poaching.
I now make money through growing crops, making crafts and selling them to tourists and lodges. I also provide an educational poaching experience at our Bwinid Reformed Poacher's Centre to tourists. The Bwindi Development Network is very important to me as they have improved my well-being and I have never thought of going back to poach and kill wildlife animals.
"WHy I Stopped poaching"
How you can help
Due to the lack of lack of tourism since the COVID-19 pandemic, the project has become reliant on donations to continue their work reforming poachers. Please watch the video below and please get in touch if you are able to help. You can also help the project by taking part in a gorilla trek or one of the other tourism experiences that the project offers. Please visit the Bwindi Development Network website for more information on eco-tourism as well as volunteering opportunities.