Training of tour guides

Six people have been trained in tour guiding and safeguarding cultural heritage sites in danger due to climate change. The six include: Ms. Mary Kyakimwa and Mr. Zimonia Kule (from Ekisalhalha Kya Kororo waterfall in Kyondo village, Kasese District), Mr. Damian Yonitho and Mr. Silvio Okello (from Wang-lei Cultural Heritage Centre in Pakwach town), and Mr. Leo Saturday and Mr. Samson Nzoboli Muhindo (from Ekiriba Kyathumba hot spring in Kasese town).

Trained by CELAK Vocational College in Kasese town, the trainees were equipped with knowledge on how to professionally receive, guide, care and serve clients, while actively getting engaged in safeguarding their heritage sites from climate change.

Melting snow and rivers in flood; mitigating the impact of a warming climate on Uganda’s heritage.

The training is part of the activities of a projected implemented by the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) in partnership with the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO). The project, which started in September 2020 as a five and a half months project before getting a 3-months extension in April 2021, with funding from the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund (CPF), was aimed at contributing to the preservation of important elements of the cultural heritage of the Bakonzo in the Rwenzori region and the Alur in West Nile.

The receding snow on the Rwenzori mountains coupled with the persisting presence of the rainfall belt over the East Africa region associated with prevailing high-pressure region over the Indian Ocean and influx of moisture-laden winds from the Atlantic Ocean and the Congo Forests has resulted in the flooding of rivers such as Nyamwamba, Mobuku, Lhuburiba, Nyamugasani and Sebwe) that burst their banks affecting cultural heritage sites in Rwenzori region. Also, a recent study reveals that water level in Lake Victoria, which is the main source of water for River Nile, has overtaken its normal long-term average and will continue to rise for the next ten years. This has left the area around Pakwach bridge flooding, with Wang-Lei cultural heritage site, which is significant for the Luo migration as the place where Gipir (Nyipir) and Labongo (Nyabongo) separated, under threat of being washed away or submerged by the water.

Phase one of the project

For the first phase (of five and a half months), the project documented, mapped and marked 9 sites in Rwenzori and one (Wang-Lei) in Alur, including their associated intangible cultural heritage. There were also physical interventions at all the sites, including increasing the vegetation cover at all the sites. At Wang-Lei, a 40m-gabion cage retaining wall was built and an information board installed. This is on top of erecting signposts at Wang-Lei (by the roadside) and the 9 sites in Rwenzori. The project also enhanced the capacity of the site caretakers and owners, and developed management plans for all the sites as a way of ensuring their sustainable management.

Phase 1.5

During the 3-months, the Project supported two of the 9 sites in Rwenzori, by erecting an information board at Ekiriba Kyathumba hot spring and supporting the construction of a storeyed structure at Ekisalhalha Kya Kororo waterfall to serve as a reception and office structure.