Building a Legacy of Trust with the Batwa

Most still do not know the unique tragedy the Batwa of Southwest Uganda have endured. Between the 1960s and 1990s, this indigenous tribe lost their home, their way of life and their cultural heritage in the name of conservation. At a time when humans were considered adversarial to the protection of nature, they were forcibly exiled from their forest home and given nothing in return.
Since 2016, DIG has been working closely with this unique community of displaced people to implement regenerative agriculture as a way to feed their families, earn an income, and thrive outside the forest.
By working closely with the Batwa to design regenerative gardens that provide for their families, give back to their lands, and raise their position in society, DIG is refocusing the story of the Batwa from one of loss to one of growth.

To better understand the Batwa’s story and DIG’s work with this unique community click here. 

In 2020, when the world was being devastated by the Covid19 pandemic, friends, families, and colleagues of Tom and Chris McGuire came together to support the growth of DIG through our Cocktails & Castoffs AT HOME event.

18 people donated to their personal fundraising campaign to ensure new seeds were planted for the Batwa. This is the story of the garden those 18 donors helped make possible.
Thank you for your support.
The DIG Team

The Mukungu Batwa Tweyombekye Group

Because the Batwa were traditional hunters and gatherers, agriculture has been a largely recent endeavor. Many have been discouraged after organizations provided them with seeds or materials but no meaningful training or support. Growing on steep mountainsides, some for the first time, and being far from reliable water sources is not an easy effort, which is why DIG meets with Batwa communities every week over the course of a year-and-a-half long program.

The Mukungu Batwa Tweyombekye Group, which means Let’s Build Ourselves, was unique in that they quickly understood the value of DIG’s program and committed to the work.

The group spent each and every week learning how to plan, grow, and sell vegetables from their gardens.

First gaining hands-on experience at a central demonstration site within their community, each member of the group started bringing their skills back home and they have all since started home gardens.

After the first growing season ended this past July, the group began selling their excess produce and started collectively planning to invest in a secondary community business. DIG supported the group to self-identify a feasible business given their location, natural resources, and community needs.

They chose pig rearing with the idea to use the garden waste to feed the pig and the pig waste to amend the garden soil.

Pigs, an easy animal to breed, can be harvested for added protein distributed amongst the group, and sold for income. Theirs was an integrative farming plan, and to date, they’ve saved the income from their carrots and cabbage sales to purchase two pigs.

We are excited to see this group grow and thank the 18 donors who helped make this initiative possible.