BIGODI COMMUNITY INITIATIVE
KAFRED was formed in Bigodi in 1992. The group is an official Community Based Organization (CBO) in Uganda. Its purpose is to protect the local environment while advancing the wider community’s health, education, and economic growth. The group’s emblem is the great blue turaco, a majestic bird found in the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary.
History and Objectives
KAFRED was founded in 1992, to conserve areas of rich biodiversity outside nationally protected areas, wetlands in particular, and to benefit communities from tourism businesses in the area, mainly Kibale National Park (KNP). An American Peace Corps Volunteer, Mark Noonan of Massachusetts, together with 6 community members (founders) steered the formation of this Community Based Organization (CBO). Membership has grown to 81 and includes other groups, e.g. Bigodi Woman’s Group (BWG) with 40 members, the Bigodi Peanut Butter Group with 8 members, and the Enyange Drama actors singing and acting group.
KAFRED’s founding members overwhelmingly agreed on the need to conserve Magombe Swamp, which is today known as Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. The wetland is a stretch of about 8 km long and 1/3 km wide, attached to KNP at both ends. It acts as a corridor for animals from the southern to the northern parts of the KNP. A large trench that runs through the middle of the wetland is an old hippopotamus trail from the 1960s. Because of the wetland’s rich biodiversity, it was resolved that tourism could bring benefits to the community and hence encourage conservation of this important natural resource.
KAFRED’s main objectives are conservation of natural and cultural resources, promotion of conservation education, and support of community development projects through tourism. Specific goals include:
Increased household income and standard of living.
Less soil and water contamination.
More attractive local environment for tourism.
Improved conservation awareness in the community.
Developed community projects, for example, schools.
Reduced swamp/wetlands encroachment.
Increased number of tourists and income.
Reduced human-animal conflict.