Watch the video interview above, or scroll down for the podcast version.
The original inhabitants of the Great Lakes region of Central Africa, the Batwa were semi-nomadic forest-dwelling expert hunter-gatherers. In 1991, following conservation projects by the Ugandan government and Western international agencies to protect endangered mountain gorillas, the Batwa were removed from their ancestral forests. This was done without their free, prior and informed consent, any public hearing or compensation. Dispossession of land meant being unable to hunt or gather, leading to extreme poverty and a breakdown of social relations. One of Azimuth's current grantees is the Bwindi Community Hospital, whose Batwa Outreach Program aims to improve the water, sanitation, hygiene and psychosocial situation among the Batwa communities living in Kanungu District, in Uganda.
Our wish to learn more about the Batwa makes biologist and anthropologist Rui Diogo a perfect guest for this episode. An associate professor at Howard University in Washington D.C., his extensive work as a researcher, speaker and writer is renowned worldwide for addressing broader scientific questions and societal issues using state-of-the-art empirical data from many different fields of science. In 2022, as part of his anthropological research at Howard University, he traveled to Gabon, Uganda and Rwanda with an international team of scientists, physicians and filmmakers, where they visited Batwa and Baka villages. We are honored to have Rui Diogo sharing some of his first-hand experience and knowledge regarding the Batwa's situation.
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We are an ally to Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities dealing with matters of access to Health and Water and the protection of the right to maintain traditional ways of living in harmony with Nature.