The Rwenzori Mountains National Park (RMNP)- or Mountains of the Moon as the locals call them – is a World Heritage Site and a RAMSAR site. Its value exceeds the conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity, it plays a critical role not only for local communities, but for the country, the wider region and the world. In addition to preserving unique and endangered species, RMNP hosts the only equatorial glacier in the world. It is a water catchment area that services the surrounding agricultural lands and population, but its waters travel as far as the Nile river. Its rich forest and soils serve as carbon sinks and for climate adaptation. Communities benefit from its services and even generate economic value through tourism and improved agricultural yields of their rich soils. The RMNP also has a sacred and cultural value for communities.
The RMNP is one of the lesser funded parks and despite its unique landscapes and rich biodiversity it has little tourism visitation and does not benefit from the “safari” income most of the parks in Uganda do. With the inevitable impacts of climate change, the primary tourism attraction which are the glaciers are expected to disappear by 2025, leaving it without one of the primary sources of income and dependant on government support.
Realizing the challenges it faces, Planet4People, working for WWF and in collaboration with UWA and the RMNP staff, developed a fundraising strategy that will seek the funds to ensure overall conservation of the unique RMNP ecosystems for ecological, economic and cultural values, and to enable it to remain a national and an international scientific reference for sustainable development. There are funds to be attained, and while the competition is hard with a solid fundraising strategy and yearly plans, RMNP can have a guide to reach out to the best donors. Recommendations were also made to increase the fundraising capacity within RMNP as well as UWA, the main fundraising arm for the parks of Uganda.
The provisions of the strategy include: defining an organization that will receive the funds and disburse according to donor expectations; building the capacity both at UWA and RMNP to be able to identify the right donors, manage them and provide adequate donor stewardship. Establishing the tools and online capacity is also needed before going into an active fundraising mode. The process was completed with a 2 day workshop to train the main stakeholders.
Planet4 People team members have extensive fundraising experience and having worked in and with protected areas, understand the particular funding needs and challenges to attain them.