Having supported the development of wildlife-based conservancies across Africa, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) proposed the concept of conservancies to Uganda Wildlife Authority in 2014 as a means of expanding habitat protection, addressing human wildlife conflict, diversifying tourism experiences, livelihood improvement and engaging landowners and communities directly in wildlife conservation through conservancies. AWF has supported the establishment of three conservancies that include Rurambira in Lake Mburo, Murchison Community Conservancy (MCC) in Murchison, and Karenga Community Wildlife Area in Kidepo. In order to ensure conservancies succeed, communities need to benefit from wildlife if they are to be engaged in their protection.
Karenga Community Wildlife Area (KCWA) Lying south of Kidepo Valley National Park, KCWA is an area of 956 sq. kilometers that was gazetted in the 2003. It covers the districts of Kotido, Abim, Kitgum, Kaabong and Agago where we derive the acronym KAKKA. Another district of Karenga was carved out of Kaabong to join these districts that need to be engaged to strengthen the resilience of the entire landscape- for wildlife and people. AWF is supporting the communities around this wildlife area to manage is as a conservancy and the establishment of a governance structure engaging the districts is a necessary first step toward this establishment. Through this, AWF supported UWA to establish community wildlife structures within the landscape with the formation of Community Wildlife Associations in all the sub counties surrounding KCWA composed of representation form villages and parishes adjacent to the wildlife area. A process for reviewing the Community Wildlife Association composed of the districts of Kotido, Abim, Moroto, Kaabong and Napak (KAMOKAN) to reflect the changes in coverage of the Wildlife Association after the drop-off of Moroto and Napak off the KCWA to Iri Iri Community Wildlife Management Area, and also addition of Kitgum and Agago to the community association so as it comprises the districts of Kotido, Abim, Kitgum, Kaabong and Agago (KAKKA) was initiated.
In addition, in partnership with UWA, AWF supported the drafting of conservancy development guidelines for the country and other related activities because development of conservancies in Africa takes careful planning, deep engagement with communities, capacity building and formation of new partnerships and establishment of governance structures that play leadership and management roles in the conservancies. AWF is currently implementing a five-year USAID-funded Biodiversity for Resilience activity in partnership with RTI, CTPH and Viamo which activity is building on the work that was initiated during the previous Bridge Program that focused on Conservancy development. One of the key roles of AWF is to strengthen the governance structures within the three conservancies of Rurambira, Murchison Community Conservancy and Karenga Community Wildlife Area (KCWA).
AWF now seeks the services of a legal expert to support the community with this process involving the review of the constitution to realign to the current setup and also update the registration details with the local government.