With support from the Arcus Foundation, the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) is implementing the Culture For Chimps project (2021-2023) in Bunyoro and the Rwenzori sub-region to strengthen the conservation of chimpanzees by re-inforcing cultural mechanisms and supporting collaboration.

This is based on the conclusions of studies and interventions in the last 3 years which showed that there are positive and negative cultural attachment to the chimpanzees, reinforced by traditional beliefs, principles and practices. Traditional leaders and structures such as the family, elders and clans (particularly among the Batangyi (Bakonzo) and Bayanja (Banyoro) clans, whose totem is the chimpanzee), as well as private forest owners were identified as important organisations that could support the conservation of the chimpanzee.

The project will strengthen private forest owners as partners in conservation of the chimpanzee and support tree planting in Bunyoro; strengthen cultural values and institutions to protect the conservation of chimpanzees and their habitat in selected areas along the Rwenzori Mountains National Park boundaries; strengthen the role of youth as future conservation agents through intergenerational dialogues and a chimpanzee football tournament.

Collaboration All the activities will be implemented in collaboration with communities in the Bunyoro and Rwenzori regions (including those that hold the chimpanzee as their totem), cultural and clan leaders, the youth, traditional medicine practitioners, relevant local government officials, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the National Forestry Authority and private forest owners.

Expected outcomes. It is anticipated that, at the end of the project, cultural leaders and community based organisations will have a renewed appreciation of their responsibility to conserve chimpanzees; the youth will have a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities; forest owners will better protect chimpanzees and dialogue and coordination among relevant conservationists at local and national governments on the effective conservation of chimpanzees in Uganda will be enhanced.

Read more about CCFU’s work in relation to culture and conservation.