The Batwa are an indigenous tribe who lived in forests in western Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Under pressure from conservation groups, the Batwa were expelled from the forest in 1991 to protect the endangered Mountain Gorillas.
Unfortunately the Batwa were offered little integration into wider society, this resulted in exploitation with the Batwa being used as a cheap source of labour. Having seen the Batwa's plight, Global Batwa Outreach (GBO) felt compelled to intervene.
GBO seek to empower the Batwa to develop marketable skills, both by starting a community school and by providing agriculture training to the community. COCO began partnering with GBO in 2015 and has initially worked to widen the scale on which the Batwa can cultivate.
COCO has partnered with GBO to help their potato harvesting project – renting land, building a storage house, purchasing seeds, sheep for manure and banana tubers. As it is such a new project, we cannot yet measure the actual impact on income that the project has had, but so far 50 people are directly benefitting from the potato farming, and a further 67 people took part in training sessions. The other 228 members of the community are also indirectly benefitting from the storage house and investment in the area, and it is hoped that they will all access training and see an increase in income in the future.