“We are no longer an Entebbe based UWEC. We are supposed to spread out in different parts of the country."
(Credit: Titus Kakembo)
ENVIRONMENT | CONSERVATION
During the first board meeting of the new Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC,) the chairperson Flavia Kahabenda announced to the team how they have been given the mandate to take on conservation at the national level.
The high-powered delegation shared ideas of how services can be delivered in three years of their term in office given the existing manpower and inadequate funding from government .
"We are no longer an Entebbe-based UWEC," said Kahabenda.
"We are supposed to spread out in different parts of the country. The challenge is for us to sell our ideas to government and other partners.
"We have to communicate conservation information and enable people understand why they need to protect the environment. The information is needed by policy makers as well as the grassroots people," she added.
This was after minister of tourism, wildlife and antiquities Ephraim Kamuntu tipping the new UWEC board of directors to exploit every existing opportunity to generate income and attract more visitors and generate resources.
Kahabenda said the first floor of the floating hotel is complete and is expected to start generating resources.
"We are here to finish what our predecessors started like the floating hotel," she said.
"The demand for accommodation is shooting up by the hour. Today we had more than 100 schools booked in for a tour. This is in addition to the usual visitors we get seeing mammals, reptiles, birds and you name it. We have to prepare to handle increasing volumes."
The UWEC chair argued that they have the space to construct more units to accommodate visitors on the 72 acres of land available near the shores of Lake Victoria. The aim is to make UWEC a window and closer interaction with the wildlife while there. It is already happening when feeding giraffes, elephants cheetahs and reptiles.
UWEC executive director James Musinguzi revealed that government will not hesitate to plough in more money, knowing more than 50 jobs are going to be created.
"Besides that, divulging knowledge about the environment and salvaging the endangered species is a noble cause for future generations," said Musinguzi.
"In the future, students and other guests will not have to travel to Entebbe to see an elephant, cheetah, lion or snakes since we will have branches spread across the country. We are opening up other centers so that people from Karamoja or Moyo do not have to travel all the way to Entebbe to see what you have in store."
The new team comprises of the new chairperson Kahabenda and others comprising of: Benon Katumba, Geofrey Bigogo, Dr. Patrick Atimnedi, George Owesigire, Dr. Kedrace Turyagenda and James Musinguzi.