Information for 17637IIED
Lessons learnt from a community scout programme in Uganda
Conflict between people and animals is a major threat to conserving protected areas. It is also a significant threat to local people, especially poor rural communities who can lose their crops, livestock and property from raids by wild animals. The animals, many of which are threatened or endangered, are often killed in retaliation or to prevent future conflicts. Consequently, addressing this human-wildlife conflict (HWC) is a priority for many protected areas across Africa.
In Uganda, a range of community scout programmes have been established by different organisations around protected areas in order to help tackle HWC. The ‘Countering Wildlife Crime: Livelihoods, Intelligence & Prosecution Capacity Building in Uganda’ project was led by Tusk Trust and funded by UK Government’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund from April 2016 to March 2018. As part of this project the Uganda Conservation Foundation recruited local community members as scouts around Murchison Falls Conservation Area and Rubirizi, Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area, to implement HWC interventions and monitor their impact.
At the end of the project, IIED was commissioned to compare the experiences of staff executing a scout programme with the experiences of scouts receiving it. The aim was to generate lessons about what worked and what could be improved, to inform scout programmes elsewhere in Uganda. This brief report outlines our methods and results. Lessons learnt include:
-Ensure a fair and transparent selection process
-Provide training by external experts and in wider skills
-Understand and act on scouts’ motivations
-Clearly explain incentive structures, especially when these are not financial
-Provide sufficient training and on-going support for livelihood interventions
-Ensure equipment provided to scouts is appropriate and easy to use
-Clearly communicate to manage expectations
-Gather feedback throughout
-Plan an appropriate exit strategy