People-park conflicts: the case of Mt. Elgon national park, Eastern Uganda

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Kampala International University,Scool of Engineering Science
The study mainly set out to analyze the causes of people — park conflicts in Mt. Elgon National Park in Uganda. The researcher based the study on the fact that National parks are vital in conserving and managing the physical, ecological and cultural resources for the benefit of present and future generations. It was mainly a field survey of a sample region / districts (Mbale, Sironko, Kapchorwa and Bukwo). The main objectives of the study were: to find out the causes of the conflicts in the park, investigate the effects of the conflicts to the people and to analyze strategies to manage the park-people conflicts and ensure park sustainability. A number of research instruments were used in the study: ranging from questionnaires, interviews, observation and review of related literature. The sampling techniques used were: random sampling and the stratified random sampling to ensure that all the population sub groups were fully and objectively involved in the study. The major findings of the study are that conflicts in Mt. Elgon National Park mainly caused by access to land, eviction,o restrictions to resource use, incitement by local politicians, lack of community participation in park management programmes and poor government policies. These challenges according to the study demand that there should be mechanism to bridge the existing gap between the local community and park management authorities. Local communities living around the park and entire communities (world) should be educated on the importance of the national parks as far as development is concerned. The research further reveals that to conserve national park in a sustainable manner for both present and future generations, park authorities should involve the local communities in the designing and implementation of park policies. The government also should come up with mitigation measures for park conflicts like: training the local residents to be park rangers, rather than deploying UPDF, poverty eradication programmes, resettlement of the evicted landless people.
A thesis submitted to the School of Postgraduate Studies in partial fulfillment for the Award of Master of Science and Environmental Management and Development Degree of Kampala International University
People, Park, Conflict, Mt. Elgon