The Batwa people
The Batwa, or 'Twa people are one of the last groups of short-statured people also known as 'pygmy' people, and until Bwindi Rainforest was gazetted as a National Park they lived a hunter gather lifestyle in the forest. They are now some of the poorest people in the world with a high infant mortality rate and low life expectancy.
The Batwa people have lived in the forests surrounding Africas Great Lakes for 4,000 years, long before migration of Bantu farmers into the region.
Uganda has lost 80% of its forest since the 1960's and the Batwa people have suffered a drastic change from their traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Since the 1960's they have been evicted from the rainforest and they were prevented from using its resources in 1991 when Bwindi became a National Park.
Many Batwa have suffered starvation and discrimination. They have a low life expectancy and high infant mortality. Many are landless and live as squatters on land around the forest. They can no longer practice their religion, as they can't access the forest locations with which their deities are associated.
This is leading to a loss of ancient knowledge - for example knowledge of how to track honey bees, and about local plants used in medicine
Bwindi Community Hospital provides outreach clinics for Batwa villages, giving access to healthcare and information. Friends of Bwindi support the hospital and have a dedicated fund for hospital projects.