Uplift the Rural Poor, a Community Based Organisation from South Western Uganda receives its Equator Prize Award

Feb 24, 2015

Ms. Beatrice Kabihogo (left) Team leader of Uplift the Rural Poor receives her award and cheque from Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, the UNDP Resident Representative /UN Resident Coordinator (centre) and Mr. Zerubabel Nyiira, the Minister of State for Agriculture (right) at a ceremony held in Hotel Africana, Kampala. (Photo credit: UNDP Uganda 2015)

Kampala - Uplift the Rural Poor, a Community Based Organisation based in South Western Uganda has received its UNDP Equator Prize for 2014.

The Organisation was awarded for its work with communities living adjacent to a series of three protected areas of Bwindi Gorilla National Park, Mgahinga National Park and the Echuya Forest Reserve.

“It’s important to remember the contributions of Community Based Organisations such as these because they are our link to the grass roots,” Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa - Onochie, UNDP Uganda’s Resident Representative and the UN Resident Coordinator said at the handover ceremony in Hotel Africana, Kampala.

Also at the ceremony was the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr. Zerubabel Nyiira said it was important to celebrate this great milestone for local community based organisations especially those which are female led. Mr. Nyiira said this while handing over the award to Ms. Beatrice Kabihogo, the team leader for the Organisation who said that she was excited to get both global and national recognition for their work in rural Uganda.

“This award has been great for us because of the recognition but most of all our partners can see that their support which enables us to do the work we do, has been recognised too,” Ms. Kabihogo said after receiving the award.

She added that because of the award, the organisation has been linked to like-minded community focused networks where they can share and learn new ideas on how to assist communities and where to seek for funds to support their work.

Uplift the Rural Poor works to reduce pressure on the forest resources and the important gorilla habitat while also creating alternative livelihood strategies. It focuses on capacity building, community-driven participatory planning and monitoring, bamboo domestication and tree planting, potato farming, and safe water access.
Uplift’s primary achievement has been strengthening the relationship between rural communities and protected area management authorities responsible for Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks and the Echuya Forest Reserve.

The group effectively supports community participation in natural resource management and local development plans, putting decision-making authority in the hands of forest-dependent communities. Rainwater harvesting tanks (owned and operated mostly by women) have been built in 17 water-stressed communities. A series of village savings and loans programs has helped to create small-scale businesses, while also reducing debt and reliance on moneylenders.

In recognition this outstanding contribution to the environmental conservation, poverty reduction and climate action, Uplift the Rural Poor was awarded the Equator Prize 2014 in New York on 22 September 2014.
It is one of 25 community initiatives that were awarded the prize last year after being selected from 1,234 nominations submitted by communities from 121 countries across the world.

The Equator Initiative is a UNDP led global partnership which brings together other UN agencies, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.

Since 2002, the partnership has awarded the prestigious Equator Prize to 187 local and indigenous communities around the world.

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