Brief about Batwa in Kabale and Rubanda Districts;
Batwa are a minority group of people that was evicted form Echuya forest in 1992 under the government forest conservation program; after their eviction, they were left helpless with nowhere to stay, slowly by slowly, some generous people who include Bishop Enoch Kayeeye- the founder of African international Christian Ministry (AICM) came to their plight. The Bishop bought over 1000 acres of land and resettled Batwa in nine (09) different centres which included; Rwamahano, Karengyere, Murambo, Nyakabungo, Kinyarushengye, Murubindi, Ryamihanda and Rushekye. Overtime, a number of organizations have offered support in the area of health, shelter improvement, livelihoods, Agriculture and Education. However, there are still other areas such as nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, access to clean water and health that still need to be supported. Some of the organizations that have provided support in uplifting Batwa livelihood include;
Plight Light Foundation from USA which built over 150 houses, supported 29 village savings and Loans Associations in Batwa centres, promoted food security through conducting trainings on better agronomic practices, conducted trainings on sanitation and hygiene and promoted community tourism as the way of diversifying Batwa income.
Another organization is CARE heal project which conducted trainings in Agriculture, sensitized Batwa in Village Savings and Loans Associations, and also supported in buying for Batwa land.
Independent Development Fund (IDF) which came to the plight of Batwa in 2009 when violation of Batwa rights by the neighbouring tribes was very high. There were also high cases of domestic violence, child labour, rape and defilement among the Batwa. IDF in partnership with African International Christian Ministry (AICM) conducted a number of community based trainings engaging Batwa, non Batwa and duty bearers. During sensitization trainings, Batwa and non Batwa would be in position express themselves and in the end result, duty bearers make commitments and follow up the raised concerns for appropriate actions.
Friends of AICM (FAICM), these are friends to AICM that are based in United Kingdom (UK) and have continued to support Batwa education. They support the AICM established schools in terms of providing scholastic materials for Batwa children, food (lunch and breakfast), salaries for teachers and general maintenance of the school. Through this program, over 200 Batwa children have been able to go through primary education and others who perform well continue for secondary education.
Table showing Batwa Population in Kabale and Rubanda Districts as of February 2017
|No||Batwa centre||Childn Below 05 yrs||Childn between 05-18 yrs||Adult 18 + yrs||Totals|
- School dropout is still high among Batwa children. This is partly because of discrimination by non Batwa basing on appearance, lack of scholastic materials such as book, pens, uniform and meals; and schools being far away from their centers and
- Early child marriages/teenager marriage is still high; this results from high school dropout, lack of sensitization and low self-esteem among Batwa.
- Child labor is still a problem, this results from non Batwa using Batwa children and pay them lesser than they pay non Batwa. Batwa are also considered to be hard working especially in farm activities. Some Batwa households are also child headed which compels them to move out and look for survival