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Rangers Take to Sports to Conserve Queen Elizabeth National Park

Pupils taking part in the Tag Rugby tournament under the Queen Elizabeth Parks Project
Pupils taking part in the Tag Rugby tournament under the Queen Elizabeth Parks Project

An inter-school tag rugby tournament geared toward sensitizing communities around Queen Elizabeth National Park on wild life conservation, kicked off and ended last weekend in high spirits.

The tourney was organized under the Queen Elizabeth Parks Project, with hopes to encourage communities neighboring the park in Rubirizi District to live harmoniously with and preserve the wildlife.

Rubiriizi locals take on visitors from the UK

Rubiriizi locals take on visitors from the UK

The twinning project is the brain child of one Steve Peach, a ranger at the Queen Elizabeth Park in England, and Charles Eperu, another ranger at the Ugandan park.

These cofounded the initiative 10 years ago after meeting at a rangers’ conference in South Africa.

Mr Peach told Chimpreports that the project started small and mostly about rangers sharing conservation ideas, and later expanded to including and supporting schools and local communities, especially the young people.

The project targets locals especially young people

The project targets locals especially young people

The Rugby Tournament which started last year is an annual event that attracts numerous primary schools.

This year, 8 schools participated in the Conservation Cup and they are Kyambura A& B, Kafuro primary school, Katara primary school, Katunguru primary school, Good hope primary school and St. John’s primary school all neighboring Queen Elizabeth park.

One of the participants giving a speech

One of the participants giving a speech

On the final match, Kafuuro P/S defeated Kicwamba P/S with 15 points and 30 goals to take this year’s crown.

Mr Peach says it is through such tournaments that the project gets to engage directly and educate locals on wild life conservation.

“All the money that runs the project comes from the UK, through individual donations and grants,” he said.

The project co-founder Steve Peach

The project co-founder Steve Peach

“Our main challenge is the distance between the two parks. They are about 4000miles apart; but we come here every year and we enjoy visiting the schools, meeting our ranger colleagues and doing our best to promote conservation.”

At the event, Yowasi Byarugaba, the project national coordinator told us that this year’s tag rugby tournament was running under the theme, “Empowering Youths Through Sport.”

He also revealed that the project is looking at making the annual sports events national such that all districts in the country can take part.

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