In countries where food and resources needed for survival are tight anyway, another lockdown is near catastrophic. Moses himself admitted to me today that school closings creates big problems for his family. Moses like many others have already paid for school lunches for their children. You get the picture! With money already spent for lunches what are the kids supposed to eat now?
Some families pushed against the wall for meals resort to wildlife poaching. Some use snares and spears while others dogs to hunt already stressed wildlife populations. Besides antelope, hares, larger species like hippo and elephant are hunted. Then there’s the unsuspecting, highly endangered pangolin that frequently gets caught up in the poaching mess.
So what on Sunday started out as a huge win for wildlife, in and around the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, has now put them at great risk again.
The Big Deal of Reforming Poachers
For several years now Moses (with Nikela’s and others help) has been successful at reforming poachers. What exactly is that, reforming poachers? Poaching is a means to earn an income and put food on the table. Telling a poacher to stop without providing an alternative simply doesn’t work. However, Moses discovered that poachers in his part of Uganda are keen to learn new skills and find new ways of providing a living for their families.
For the past number of years, after visiting Moses and meeting with a group of reformed poachers, we at Nikela have been doing what we can to assist. Moses has provided beehives, dug fish ponds and grown vegetables very successfully. Most recently a group of 38 poachers turned in their spears for shovels after a workshop conducted by Moses. Following Moses’ lead Nikela sponsored fish ponds and a small fish house.
This past Sunday was a big win. Five reformed poachers bore testimony in front of their church leaders and fellow congregants. They reported why they had stopped wildlife poaching. They encouraged others to do the same. [See the Facebook past by Moses]
Why the current COVID-19 Lockdown in Uganda is such bad news
After such a high point on Sunday with reformed poachers getting a new grip on makin a living, the pandemic throws them another curve ball. With movements once again limited, tending to vegetable gardens, taking produce to market and watching over the fish ponds are put on hold… again.
You guessed it. Like Moses with his predicament of feeding his children, all 40 reformed poachers are facing similar challenges. Will they be ‘forced’ to return to poaching wildlife? Will so much progress in the right direction be thwarted?
An Opportunity to Help Right Now
If with your help, we act right now, we can provide some much needed interim cash for food. How important is it that these reformed poachers and their families stay true to their commitments to stop poaching?
Moses tells me $35 for each family will make a big difference to get them through these next days of lockdown. Now, that’s not much when we consider what $35 ‘buys’… Keep pangolin, elephants, hippo and all sorts of wild animals save from being poached… not to forget the families and children who won’t go hungry.
Can we count on you?
Give what you can today so we can send Moses and his 40 families help tomorrow.
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Nikela is a fundraising nonprofit on a mission to help people protecting nature, especially doing wildlife conservation.