Introduction :

The project is aimed at achieving biodiversity conservation while providing for the livelihoods of communities that live adjacent the target forest ecosystems. One of the biggest challenges of the project is how to measure the reduction in the rate of loss of biodiversity, and hence conservation impact.  Towards this end, a number of indicators to measure progress of the project’s conservation impact were developed through participatory processes. 

The project team, together with several stakeholders at regional, national and site levels, have reviewed and refined these project indicators. The indicators are designed to show impact in the forest and outside the forest in the adjacent community. Consequently, the NGOs partners have collected baseline information on indicators of local community livelihoods because they are focusing on the development aspects of the project. Because these indicators often reflect resource use, the degree of impact on the resource can be evaluated from measuring changes in the community livelihoods.

The project developed participatory site plans that were based on understanding the values of the biodiversity resources to the local communities and the threats that arise out of their use of the resources. Most of the threats were directly linked to people’s dependence on the forest resources. This is the linkage between conservation and people’s development. It was therefore very important to carry out a livelihood analysis among the local community to establish baseline data upon which the impact of the project on the community would be measured. Each NGO that is involved in project implementation is required to collect baseline information in its area of operation before starting activities in line with the M&E indicators developed with the stakeholders in the participatory site planning process.

A Case Study of baseline information on community livelihoods collected by an NGO

Integrated Rural Development Initiatives (IRDI) in Sango-Bay

The IRDI methodology for livelihood analysis was based at the household level. The sub-counties, parishes and villages where IRDI is working had already beeen determined during the value and threat analysis exercise. The target project villages are those that have interactions with the SangoBay forest. IRDI  randomly selected two villages from each parish for livelihood analysis to avoid bias. From each village 20% of the households were randomly selected from the lists provided by the local councilors. The data collection methods included participatory rural appraisal, questionnaire and field observations. Some of the addressed included:

-         Resource map

-         User groups

-         Types of economic activities

-         Land and tree tenure

-         Resource use problem ranking

-         Infrastructure in village


The questionnaire was used to get quantitative data on the various parameters.

Simple descriptive statistics were generated from the survey data. To come up with the relationship between variables, a chi-square test was conducted. Quantitative data generated from the questionnaire was formulated into a relationship using logistic regression.


Some of the data from the survey from the local community around Sango-Bay:

The survey indicated that

·        57% of the respondents had their homesteads within a distance of 1-5 km from the forest,

·        2% were less than 1 km and the rest 31% were more than 5 km from the forest.

·        The products collected from the forest include: timber, fish, charcoal, poles, bush meat, firewood, palm leaves, medicinal herbs, crafts-materials.

·        87% of the respondents said they were not involved in the management of the forest.

·        50% of the respondents depend only agriculture for their livelihood while the rest have other sources of income such as petty trade but still rely on agriculture for most of their income.

·        74% sell their agriculture produce in the village, while 16% sell in the nearby markets and 7% sell their produce in bigger towns. 



An African broad definition of biodiversity is the biological capital that forms a “livelihood base” for most rural communities and much of national GDP. In all three countries Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and especially in the rural forest adjacent areas such as by our project sites, biodiversity resources form the basis for life.

Poverty can be defined as a situation where there is lack or inadequate facility and capacity to cope with daily living.  These inadequacies could be those of illiteracy, poor services such as safe water or health;, inadequate food and so malnutrition, early deaths, environmental destruction and so a poor habitat; and inadequate employment or income generation possibilities

Biodiversity has a special subsistence value, independent of the monetary economy.  The communities that live adjacent to or near the forests have been using the biodiversity resources by harvesting or manipulating the natural resources products and services to fulfill almost all their livelihood needs.

These communities are in most cases poor small-scale farmers or livestock keepers that do not have sufficient alternatives and so are dependent on biodiversity resources. In most of our project sites, these communities had developed a barrier of communication between their traditional utilisation systems and what is seen as the opposing and oppressive rules and regulation regimes of government.

Government has been emphasizing the "do-nots of conservation: Do not do this. Do not do that!" The friendly side of conservation is the “dos” in order to conserve biodiversity through sustainable use practices in a spirit of equity.

The project awareness creation activities have been building the “do” part of conservation, stressing “Conservation” (meaning wise use) as opposed to the traditional don’ts of  “Preservation” (meaning do not use).

The project approaches of undertaking value and threat analyses clarified the broader (other then timber) values of the forest biodiversity resources adjacent to the project sites.  It has been evident that the available biodiversity resources have a direct relationship to alleviate poverty within the project sites.  This has been confirmed by a resource user survey conducted at all sites.

The project activities introduced have been aiming at a better and more community benefit gains from available biodiversity.  This has been explained more clearly in the alternative income, alternative use, and appropriate technology discussion papers.

The communities had shown a keen interest on the project biodiversity conservation initiatives only when they realized that the project addresses issues that address communities’ needs that make their better livelihoods. We have now addressed alternative resource use and alternative livelihood strategies for our communities in order to reduce the poverty “indirectly”.  This has now enhanced the community involvement in biodiversity conservation of our project sites and an indication of positive results started.

One starting point is the ability to monitor both livelihoods and resource use practices. The following note from Sango Bay emphasizes the type of information being collected by the project and partners.


Initial project preparation stressed the need for good baseline information from which the impact of project activities can be assessed. The participatory site planning process for Sango Bay further emphasized the importance of baseline information. This principle has been strengthened by project realization that this is an ICDP situation.  During the site planning process, the stakeholders developed indicators (at activity cluster level in the log-frame), and correspondingly identified sets of baseline information that would be useful as benchmarks to monitor project impacts.   This being a multi-stakeholder project, no single stakeholder would be able to collect all the baseline information for all the activities.  Different stakeholders have therefore been involved in the collection of various sets of information as in the table below:




Where collected


Student Researchers





Student researchers and Forest staff


Forest gaps – number and size; level of regeneration of key species utilised by the community (Podo, palms, Musizi etc)


Number of timber trees cut along randomly selected active paths.

Kaiso, Malabigambo, Tero East and Tero West Forests




As above

Monitoring sustainable use/ management of the forests.




Monitoring off-take of timber species

Forest CFM field staff



Forest resource users, number of households, location of households and other features (village maps)

Household level (individuals) in the villages of Mugamba, Mujanjabula, Kigazi and Nkalwe

Resource use planning and management (basis for CFM village agreements); knowledge on interest groups.

CFM field staff

Participatory Forest Resource mapping and Assessment

Kaiso forest block

Malabigambo block.

Resource use planning and as a basis for CFM village agreements

FD staff

Threat Reduction Assessment

Kaiso & Malabigambo Forest blocks

Baseline for monitoring of threats to the forest plant resources

FPO, Forest staff

Local Council


Reports of illegal activities in the forests

Kaiso, Malabigambo, Tero E & W, Namalala, Kigona and Kabira.

Baseline data to monitor & regulate subsistence harvest of forest products


Environmental issues

Minziro Parish

For Parish action planning

Vi Agroforestry Project, NGO

Household Livelihood analysis

Bwamijja, Ndolo and Bisanje Parishes (Kabira Subcounty)

Baseline data


Household Livelihood analysis

Kyebe and Kakuuto Subcounties

Baseline data


Forest resource valuation, land use and land tenure, medicinal plants and fish trap plants.

Kabira, Kakuuto and Kyebe

Baseline data, and for management purposes

Agriculture and fisheries sectors

Income generating activities, land use and crop production

Kabira, Kakuuto and Kyebe

Baseline and feasibility of alternative income sources


CBOs profiles

Kabira, Kakuuto and Kyebe

Stakeholder identification

Project & Partners and Partners

Key environmental issues

Endinzi (Mbarara)

Site action planning



Such patterns of information collection take place at most sites.

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