Re: Uganda - Guide training in this part of the world

To: bob gosford <>
Subject: Re: Uganda - Guide training in this part of the world
From: Bird Uganda Safaris <>
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 2010 15:48:47 +0300
Dear Bob,
Its good to hear from you after a while.
I have been putting a lot of pressure on the authorities here so that they
can understand the need to empower the local communities economically if
they have to achieve the primary and secondary goals of conservation of
natural resources. Of course this takes a very long time to be listened to.
 The communities living around these tourism resources need to benefit
directly from tourists who come to these areas. The only and easiest way to
do this is just to let the communities interface with tourists in service
delivery. Guiding is one them, restaurants, campsites, cultural activities
such us juice brewing, honey collection, dancing competition, foreign-local
dish cooking competition etc. But the bottom line is to make these dreams a
reality. We have to be on the ground to ensure that tangible work is done.
Many community projects with the connotations " capacity building or
empowerment"  have been funded but most of the work is done in offices with
few workshops. It becomes worse when the participants are paid lunch and
accommodation allowances.

I personally believe that if we mean to empower the communities, we must go
down to them and empower them with the relevant necessary skills that can be
used to benefit from tourism. In 1994 I picked out birding as one of the
tourist activities. As the interests grew, I realised that we cannot develop
any sustainable avitourism business unless the communities are involved in
all activities at all stages that make a successful birding tour. I quickly
formed Uganda Bird  Guides Club. This was the most difficult activity. Many
times we were arrested by Police, Army, and the communities who thought we
were taking pictures, or measuring their land. We spend every little that we
had, to ensure that we educate our communities ( of course without
Government help) through seminars and training some youth, and a lot more in
the newspapers. Iam happy that there are now some birding companies that
have come up owned by bird guides. At least every popular birding site has a
bird guide. This has helped us to rescue Shoebills from hunters, rescued
animals, tortoises etc.

The East African region has a very huge potential of birding and related
tourism activities. The main challenge is that there are very few or in some
places no site bird guides. Most of the tribes in East Africa have totems
that have done a great job in the conservation of natural resources since
times immemorial. In my family for example, no one is allowed to kill a
monkey because it is one of our totems. So it is very important that when
training bird guides, their cultural values must be appreciated and
emphasized. I know several bird species that have very high cultural values
in our community because what they contribute to the appreciation of nature.
For example, the Crested cranes, are very good time keepers. When the common
bulbuls call at dawn, every one has to wake up and go to work.  So this
combined with some income from birdwatchers, conservation will be very easy
and profitable.

I must thank Mr. Gerald Bertrand ( Mass Audubon) and Mr. Leventis Taso who
visited Uganda at the begining of 2000 and later facilitated my training as
a trainer.  I came from Rwanda last week where I was for 3 weeks training
tourist driver guides.  One trainee said  " if I had emails and phone
numbers of the people I have guided before, I would call them and
apologise"!   I will back to Rwanda in October to train bird guides there.
I have already done 2 bird guides courses there one in 2006 and another in

Thank you for your support. I believe the communities shall appreciate any
thing the is needed for birding.  ipod, old binoculars, field guides of
Birds of East Africa, or Birds of Africa, Butterflies, insects, telescope

Sorry for a long letter.


On Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 3:47 PM, bob gosford <> wrote:

> Dear all,
> Please see the message from Herbert of Bird Uganda Safaris re Bird Guide
> training as a means for local empowerment, economic development and
> employment generation.
> I've posted a reply to Herbert with regard to a paper I'm working on for
> the 33rd Society of Ethnobiology Confernence on Victoria island, BC, Canada
> early next month.
> If you have any comments about Herbert's call for (East African) Bird Field
> Guides or your secondhand binoculars please send a reply to him at Birdchat
> or via me.
> If you have thoughts, contributions or comments about my abstract below
> please forward them.
> Cheers, best and I look forward to your thoughts.
> Bob Gosford
> Alice Springs
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: bob gosford <>
> Date: 9 April 2010 21:36
> Subject: Re: [BIRDCHAT] Guide training in this part of the world
> To: Bird Uganda Safaris <>,
> Dear Herbert,
> We haven't met since the PAOC a year or so ago...I've been following your
> posts here and elsewhere.
> This call is great timing - early next month I'm presenting a paper at the
> upcoming Society of Ethnobiology conference as part of session titled: 
> Ethnoornithology
> in review, prospect and perspective
>  My paper abstract is as follows: Birds, people and Money: Can local
> people make a living from culturally-based bird tourism?
>    Gosford, Robert - Ethnoornithology Research & Study Group
> In this paper I will examine the potential for culturally-based bird
> tourism to provide opportunities for employment and economic development for
> local groups and people.
> Birding tourism is widely regarded as a lucrative sub-set of the broader
> tourism market, with a variety of services provided by a wide range of local
> and international suppliers. Those services range from tours where birds are
> included in a broader, general product to dedicated birding-only tours.
> I will examine and compare recent proposals in Australia and several
> countries in eastern Africa that have sought to develop economic and
> employment opportunities for local people to enter the birding tourism
> market by developing and offering birding tourism products that are
> distinguished by the inclusion of local cultural knowledge of birds into
> products offered to potential clients.
> Issues that will be considered include local training requirements,
> marketing, issues related to access to land and the involvement of national
> peak bodies and organizations, government assistance and the potential
> benefits and risks involved in culturally-based birding tourism.
> END abstract
> I don't have any local Field Guides or spare bins that I can send - I'm off
> to do two weeks with local Rangers on Aboriginal land from Monday next and
> will take all the bins I have out there.
> I'll re-post your call onto the Birding-Aus webgroup and see if that gets
> any response.
> I'd love to hear more from you about the training you are about to do and
> of course of your thoughts on this matter generally and any information you
> might have about this important issue.
> If you (or anyone on Birdchat) have any resources that might be relevant to
> my talk please feel free to forward them to me.
> Cheers, thanks and I look forward to speaking to you again soon,
> Bob Gosford
> Alice Springs
> Australia
> On 9 April 2010 20:24, Bird Uganda Safaris <>wrote:
>> Dear All,
>> The only way for the communities to understand the values of
>> ecotourism is to directly benefit from the revenue collected from
>> tourists. This month Iam off again to train the communities around
>> Bwindi National Park in Birding and Biodiversity conservation. As a
>> second alternative from the Mountain Gorillas, this region tops other
>> birding sites in Africa but with less bird guides.
>> The communities around this area have been looking for funds to use in
>> organising the training, but in vain.  I have decided to go down there
>> and give them an introduction course to bird watching. We begin on
>> 23rd April to 31, 2010.
>> Any one willing to send in a field guide book, or a pair of binoculars
>> you are welcome. I gues you know how challenging in can be to train
>> some to be a bird guide, without binoculars or field guide books.
>> Thank you all for your support. .
>> Herbert
>> --
>> Executive Director
>> Bird Uganda Safaris Ltd
>> 2nd Floor
>> Jos House, Plot 55B,
>> Opp. Fish Factory
>> Telephone +256 312289048
>> Fax +256 (0)414222737
>> Cellphone +256(0)772518290/ 777912938
>> Email. 
>> web
>> East African Journeys
>> BirdChat Guidelines:
>> Archives:
> --
> Bob Gosford
> The Northern Myth blog
> Alice Springs, NT
> Australia
> Ph: (+61) 0447024968
> Twitter: @bgosford
> --
> Bob Gosford
> The Northern Myth blog
> Alice Springs, NT
> Australia
> Ph: (+61) 0447024968
> Twitter: @bgosford

Executive Director
Bird Uganda Safaris Ltd
2nd Floor
Jos House, Plot 55B,
Opp. Fish Factory
Kampala Uganda
Telephone +256 312289048
Fax +256 (0)414222737
Cellphone +256(0)772518290/ 777912938

East African Journeys

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