Since the unlawful eviction of Uganda’s indigenous Batwa in the 1990s, the profit-maximizing tourist projects inside these forests, have in large excluded the Batwa from entering or managing their ancestral lands. By that, they were made dependent on either falling in line with capitalist agricultural production techniques, guiding trophy hunters, or imitating cultural elements as a form of entertainment for tourists.
Before the Batwa were evicted from their homes to make place for national parks in the 1990s, they used forest herbs to cure different diseases. This led to an increase in maternal, child, and infant mortality rates among the Batwa communities.
This process of division from the natural environment began already when in 1932 the first two forests were gazetted as crown forest reserves by the British colonial office.
The situation of the Batwa living in Uganda has further deteriorated dramatically because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since 2020, interns of the Institute for Structural Analysis of Cultural Systems (SACS) and the Akkon University Berlin, worked together with the Ugandan Batwa Indigenous Development Organization (BIDO) on the development of the Equal Earth Experience (EEE) Project. The EEE wants to promote the rights of the Batwa as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and draw attention to the need for participation in the use and management of nature reserves in Uganda.
The holistic approach of the EEE project ranges from health to WASH, education about the impacts of the climate crisis on the loss of biodiversity, and how decolonization of international aid and economy could interfere with continuous loss and damage of the planet. Suitable partners are contacted according to the wishes and demands of the Batwa, who are interviewed beforehand to ensure free, prior, and especially informed consent (FPIC).