Best Ideas 2022 features all the nominated entries submitted under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solutions or propositions for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage.

Ekikome Livelihood Project

Stage of Idea planning stage, start-up stage

Explain your idea in details:

The main objectives of my idea include, to provide alternative means of livelihood in order to reduce overdependency on seasonal crops which are susceptible to crop failure due to the severe droughts and attacks by wildlife experienced in the area; to promote environmental and human health and food security through organic farming of traditional crops that can yield without an over reliance on synthetic fertilizers, harmful pesticides and weed control herbicides; to promote biodiversity and preservation of traditional crops that are on the verge of extinction through establishing a community seed bank; to develop cultural tourism and preservation of cultural heritage through community engagement in traditional farming, music, arts, crafts and other activities; to build a centre for entertainment and indigenous knowledge transfer that shall promote social cohesion and reduce delinquency; to reduce school dropout by ensuring that children are not deployed in fields to protect seasonal crops against attacks by wildlife both day and night and to reduce poaching and human wildlife conflict. Activities shall include; collecting and planting seeds of traditional crops; organizing, training and mentoring community members in traditional music, dance, arts and crafts, customs and culinary heritage that they can showcase to local and international guests; construction of a community center to house an amphitheater, seedbank, cultural museum and restaurant. The innovative approach is building cultural tourism as a new tourism product that at the same time meets so many other objectives as highlighted in the first paragraph. The idea also doesn't require so much capital to start as it uses preexisting yet hitherto unexploited land and inherent talent that is domiciled among community members. Preservation of traditional seed and establishment of a community seed bank is yet another innovation that has hitherto not been part of cultural tourism efforts in the country.

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Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development

The idea shall impact sustainable development in the following ways; Increase soil and overall environmental health by promoting organic agriculture and reducing the current harmful agricultural practices that destroy useful organisms and kill biodiversity. The target is to have all registered members of the community group embracing organic agriculture and being the champions in training the whole village to do the same so as to create a model village for organic farming. Historic preservation: By preserving seed and passing on indigenous knowledge to the next generation; the target is to preserve seed in the following categories of foods; nuts, beans and pulses, fruits, bananas, medicinal herbs and vegetables, grains e.t.c. We hope to increase the volume of seed that we store in the seedbank by at least 10% every year. On indigenous knowledge, by the end of three years, 50% of youth both girls and boys shall have comprehensive knowledge of their culture, traditions and customs. By deliberate indigenous knowledge transfer, the idea ensures continuity of traditional values and other aspects of identity and cultural heritage. Protection of wildlife: By providing alternative means of livelihood that reduce dependence on seasonal agriculture, there is less attraction for wildlife in peoples gardens and hence less human-wildlife conflict and killing of wild animals. We hope to completely eliminate the deliberate killing of wildlife by community members.

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Plans for implementation and sustainability

A community centre situated at the beautiful site of the planned Jade Nature Resort overlooking the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Bukorwe, Ishasha, Kanungu District, South Western Uganda. Nature's gift to you, we shall feature beautiful gardens for all sorts of ceremonies, an amphitheater and museum where community members showcase various aspects of their cultural heritage, a community seed bank as well as an organic garden restaurant that offers a unique culinary experience featuring indigenous foods on the verge of extinction whose seed we will preserve in the seed bank. Our Centre shall be a reflection of conscientious wildlife stewardship by the Community. Close to the wild, expect a homely, enlightened and nurturing experience that celebrates nature and cultural heritage. Our activities shall include collecting, planting and preserving seeds of traditional crops; organizing, training and mentoring community members in traditional music, dance, arts and crafts, customs and culinary heritage; cultural performances for local and international guests; construction and operation of the community cultural centre; marketing and outreach with tourists, tour operators, lodges and the wildlife authority to attract guests to our centre; proposal writing and resource mobilization; research and development of aspects of our idea to improve learning and performance. Our key partners shall include lodges and resorts in the area of operation; the district and sub county local governments, the Wildlife Authority, the media, tour operators and other cultural troupes that work with certain aspects of our idea as well as local and international funders of the project. Revenue Streams shall include revenue from hiring of the gardens by community members; entrance fees for visitors to the museum and seedbank; sales from the restaurant; sale of value added products from the garden; sale of art and crafts; payment for entertainment by cultural troupe; grants and donations.

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Your profile

I am a forty five year old mother of three teenagers. I hold a PhD in International Development Studies and have been engaged in grassroots activities for social transformation. Effects of COVID on my small business forced me to sell a plot of land in the city to pay my workers' salaries upcountry and I used the rest of the money to acquire fourteen acres of land in Bukorwe, Kanungu District neighboring the Queen Elizabeth National Park with the eventual aim of establishing a nature resort. This exposed me to the challenges faced by community members who neighbor the national park. When I farmed on the land, my crops and those of the neighbors were often attacked by wild animals. Several children were deployed in the gardens day and night to fight off the animals and they were unable to go to school. I also learned that animals get killed in the process of defending the crops. Also, the land was so degraded from years of over cultivation and use of herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Yields of my neighbors were poor compared to mine who did organic farming. The area also suffers severe drought during the dry season and people suffer from hunger, yet cultivation of many nutritious and drought resistant crops has been abandoned. Although there are many tourists visiting the area, community members were very poor as they were not offering any tourism service despite there being a high demand for cultural tourism. I organized the community members to form a group through which they could showcase their culture and earn from cultural tourism and reduce overreliance on failed agriculture. My idea is therefore aimed at developing a unique tourism product that brings money to my enterprise while supporting community members' livelihoods and social transformation.

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