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Ugandan NGO wins International Conservation Award

By Diana Kibuuka

Conservation Through Public Health(CTPH), a Ugandan NGO was announced the 2020 Winner of the prestigious St. Andrews Prize for the Environment. With 256 applications from around the world, CTPH was thrilled to be presented with the winning prize of US$100,000. The announcement which was made on February 28 at the University of St Andrews in Edinburgh, Scotland by the prize committee, honoured CTPH’s integrated and multi-faceted approach to conservation, public health and alternative livelihoods.

CTPH’s projects are founded on the belief that conserving wildlife must go hand-in-hand with supporting neighbouring communities, providing public health and hygiene services as well as information on the conservation. The organisation was established in recognition of the major risks associated with humans living in close quarters with wildlife, particularly with closely related primates, including the spread of zoonotic diseases.
More recently, Conservation Through Public Health started up a social enterprise known as Gorilla Conservation Coffee, in response to a realisation that smallholder coffee farmers around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to the endangered mountain gorillas, were not getting a fair price for their coffee. This meant they had to depend on the gorillas’ habitat to meet their basic needs for food and fuel wood, putting the wildlife, habitats and community members all at risk. A donation from the sale of the coffee goes towards supporting the conservation and public health programs in the community.

Making the announcement at the end of February, Dr. Sillem Hayaatun the Chairperson for St. Andrews Prize for the Environment Trustees and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering said, this was another fantastic year for the Prize with applications coming from right across the globe addressing environmental challenges as diverse as deforestation, access to clean water, plastic waste and renewable energy. “I would like to congratulate this year’s winner, Conservation Through Public Health, who inspired us with their holistic and collaborative approach to promoting the health of people, animals and the environment,” expressed Dr. Hayaatun.

Accepting the prize, Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Founder and CEO of CTPH said, the prize will enable CTPH to replicate a community-based health and conservation model that has been championed for the last 16 years with the endangered mountain gorillas of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.  “The prize will enable us improve the health and livelihoods of communities who share a habitat with critically endangered gorillas and raise the international profile of ‘One Health’ as a holistic approach to achieving conservation and sustainable development,” added Dr. Kalema.

About the St Andrews Prize for the Environment
The St Andrews Prize for the Environment is an international initiative by the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and the independent exploration and production company, ConocoPhillips. The annual award recognises significant contributions to environmental issues and concerns.

Dr. Gladys Kalema

About Conservation Through Public Health and Gorilla Conservation Coffee
Founded in 2003, Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), an award-winning NGO and non-profit organisation whose work in gorilla and wildlife conservation is focused on preventing and controlling disease transmission between humans and gorillas in and around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. In 2015, CTPH established Gorilla Conservation Coffee to improve the livelihood of the surrounding community by assisting them in getting international market prices for their Arabica coffee crop and training them in sustainable coffee farming. Gorilla Conservation Coffee works with model farmers in the areas surrounding the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The single origin coffee produced by these farmers is sold in Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Switzerland, New Zealand, USA and other countries.
Gorilla Conservation Coffee pays the farmers a premium price of US$0.50 per kilogram of green beans above the market price to ensure a good price and steady market for their quality coffee. This enables them to double their income and bring them closer to liveable income levels.

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