As part of my collaborative program in Global Health Systems in Africa during my PhD studies at Western University I had the change to visit the Kibale National Park in Uganda.
Communities around the park base their livelihoods on subsistence farming and cash crops (coffee and tea). Even though the rainforest hides a great amount of resources (game, plants, water, wood...), its protected status prevents locals from accessing them. However, besides resources, the forest hides numerous dangers for the neighbouring human populations, including animals (like baboons or elephants) that interfere with their lives and economic activities, and diseases that put their health in risk.
Under the premise that the park could provide both, benefits and dangers, we asked local school children to represent in drawings what they thought was good (ebirungi) and bad (ebibi) about nature.
These drawings were then used to build a timeline of the Kibale National Park and visualize how the community developed, from the 1920s when the forest was not yet protected and logging and hunting took place, to the 2000s, when the communities live at the edge of the forest, farming and planting eucaliptus for wood extraction, and introducing a health care system.