A simple project that started in 2015 is on the journey of improving livelihoods in the local community. The project runs tourism activities targeting tourists who visit Queen Elizabeth National Park. This project is called The Elephant Home. The ultimate goal of this lodge is not just to sale tourism goods and services. The lodge is aiming at something bigger through, facilitating positive change in the environment and local households around Queen Elizabeth national park at Kikorongo community.
So far, The elephant home has mobilized the youth, women and men using part of the income generated from tourism. The project has facilitated the formation of a local youth group directly implementing community empowerment works. Under this initiative, the community is now running the following projects;
- Waste management project: This includes training the community about the problems of poor waste disposal, garbage collection and recycling.
- Crafts production and selling project: The youth and women have been trained on how to produce handicrafts using natural and recycled materials. A crafts shop has been established on the road side to display and sale the locally made handicrafts.
- Indigenous habitat conservation project: Partnerships are being established to support the community conserves the indigenous habitat. Tree planting, minimized wildlife destruction on community land and alternative income livelihoods that will replace poaching, charcoal burning and tree cutting.
- Green energy production project: a new project that will see youth produce briquettes has started. This is aimed to change people attitudes about using charcoal with an aim of reducing the vice of cutting trees for firewood and charcoal. The project will use organic waste, crop residues, charcoal dust and wasted wood pieces to produce usable charcoal. This project will generate income hence creating sustainable employment.
- Skills training project: The locals are getting trained on new living skills such as crafts production, tourism service provision, hospitality management and many others. These will divert the locals from depending on land for survival
- Volunteer placement: the project places volunteers to work in the local projects as a way of knowledge exchange in all aspects of life. Knowledge exchange is also enhanced through study tours and exchange visits of the staff and other local community members.
- Creation of new innovative tourism products: A boda-boda safari has been established, a crafts shop, a village walk and traditional dance performances are being sold to the tourists.
About the elephant home
At the moment, support to the elephant home comes from individual travelers and volunteers when they stay or provide voluntary services with the projects. This is how the lodge has managed to reach an estimate of 300 community members directly seeing the benefits of tourism. These and many more are slowly being encouraged to move from habitat destruction to sustainable livelihoods. In future, this project sees Kikorongo people able to meet their all basic needs sustainably while coexisting with wildlife.
The elephant home is a member of the Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA). This is the basis for the high level of services and facilities being offered. The accommodation facilities of the elephant home are standard offering a great deal of hospitality. The lodge offers self contained twin and double rooms, camping facilities and a restaurant serving all meals on order. 98% of the guest to the elephant home has had something good to say about the lodge. Quoting their words, the lodge is hailed for the delicious meals, hospitable staff, great location close to the park gate, location in the jungle, large and very clean rooms, linkages to the community and many others. For the few guests who have had negative experiences, the community running the lodge has worked hard to address the challenges and turning them into positive experience for the next guests.
How you can support the elephant home through your trip:
The most important and easy way of support is choosing to stay at the elephant home during your trip to Queen Elizabeth National Park. During the stay, you can also choose to do any of the community tourism activities. This one already takes the project miles ahead. At other levels of support, we request volunteers to help on the attitude change and skilling journey. These are two biggest strides that will move the project to another level.
If you want to arrange your stay, volunteer position or make any linkage in this respect. Please contact us today.