Contribution of revenue sharing scheme to nature conservation and households adjacent to Mt. Elgon National Park
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In Africa, tourism revenue sharing prevails in many protected areas for making fair trade-offs between social, economic and ecological costs and benefits within and between stakeholder groups, and between stakeholders and the natural environment. The contribution of revenue sharing scheme in improving household income and conservation of nature remain unknown. Undesirable conservation costs have remained a strong sentiment among rural communities. This has led to negative attitudes and antagonistic behaviour towards conservation resulting in lose-lose outcome.This studyassessed the contributions of revenue sharing scheme to nature conservation, social services provision and to determine the relative income from revenue sharing scheme in household adjacent to Mt. Elgon. The study targeted households that benefited from revenue sharing projects in Mt. Elgon particularly in Bukwo District. The other category of respondents was Uganda Wildlife Authority’s community conservation staff. Systematic random sampling was used to draw a sample of 68 households from a total of 82 households.Key informant interviews and participants observations were also conducted. Questionnaires,interview guide, and observation checklist were used to gather primary information. Analysis of Relative Annual Household Income (RAHI) from revenue sharing projects was calculated.Analysisby tabulations and figures were also used. The study found out that, the scheme improved nature through soil stabilization and water shed restoration. It also indirectly met the social needs of the community through improved water accessibility.Revenue sharing projects had little contribution to household income among beneficiaries (only 9% of total household income). Though gate collections were shared since 2002, much needs to be done in areas of health, education and infrastructure. Very few projects have been supported, poorly monitored and evaluated and little benefit has so far accrued to the local community. Recommendations indicated that, tangible social benefits in such areas as education and health need to be included in program implementation. Adequate project monitoring and evaluation must be undertaken.