Heritage Heroes – Uganda
Viola Nilah Nyakato
Nyakato in the village of Mishenyi Cell, Uganda.
Photography: Bozica Babic
Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
(Natural World Heritage *1994 )
Abantu 98 ahari buri 100 abakakiiko akarikwebembera okupatanisa eby’embagana y’entasya omuri Bwindi Impenetrable National Park n’abasheija. Kwonka twaza kutunguka omukurebereragye eby’obuhangwa,ebyetengo by’akakazi byine kutekatekwaho.
"Up to 98% of the committee members of the National Park are men. But half of the population are women and their needs have to considered to ensure sustainable nature conservation."
As a sociologist and gender expert, Viola Nyakato focuses on the relationship between women’s rights and nature conservation in Uganda.
In the densely populated surrounding of the Bwindi National Park, established conservation provisions are not respected by the local population. According to their traditional tasks women gather firewood, wild vegetables and medicinal herbs for their families in the protected area.
But only if a balance can be found between securing the families’ basic supplies and the protection of the national park and its rich biodiversity, can a more conservation-sensitive behaviour be integrated into everyday culture.
Nyakato recognised and researches how the problems correlate with insufficient representation of women on the local decision-making committees. She therefore organises workshops in the communities with an equal share of men and women, where the participation of women in decision-making processes in community projects and conservation provisions are discussed.
With analytical foresight Nyakato has initiated a cultural change in nature conservation and now convinced scientists as well as decision-making committees like the Ugandan Wildlife Authority to introduce a gender policy into project planning.