TO DO Award 2012 Pearls of Uganda, Uganda
PEARLS OF UGANDA are a regional network consisting of about 20 »Pearls« of tourism products and services in various communities in the Southwest of Uganda. Visiting the »Pearls« has a special fascination, both in the very unique culture and the lives of the people, and in the surrounding natural diversity. Not only are the dance and drumming performances fascinating, but also the practical lessons in what tourists experience as »typically African«. Guided walks and hikes through mountains and valleys, fields and forests illustrate the life and work in the village. They may also participate in handicrafts workshops (e.g. basket weaving, wood carving, pottery) or simply buy locally produced souvenirs. Pampered by safari experiences, nature lovers are amazed by the extraordinary wildlife and bird sightings – not only about the famous mountain gorillas. Every »Pearl« thus creates incentives for local people to remain in the villages, whether by offering direct or indirect income opportunities in tourism or through a generally more self-determined development that benefits everybody. Water projects, schools and the strengthening of local investment and markets also ensure that fewer people migrate from the villages to the cities. As their villages are situated at the edges of national parks, the villagers also take up the idea of nature conservation more strongly, since the tourists also come to visit them because of the pristine nature. Especially women see these advantages. With two thirds, they make up the large majority of the members of UCOTA. As an umbrella organisation of the PEARLS OF UGANDA, the Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA) was founded in 1998 in order to support local communities with their sustainable tourism development – especially in the field of education and training. UCOTA also works to ensure that the products and services offered by the »Pearls« are actually noticed by possible visitors and tour operators, whether by local agencies (»Pearls supporters«), through flyers in large hotels or of course on the internet.
Pearls of Uganda
Helen Lubowa, Felex Kamalha
Palm Courts, Plot 7 A
P.O. Box 27159