Connecting the Dots with Rui Diogo

Photo Credit: Rui Diogo / Howard University

Howard University professor Rui Diogo, an anthropologist and biologist, tells us about his first-hand experience with Batwa and Baka communities.

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.


Rui Diogo Lab - Official Website

Apart from being a research lab-based website, we step forward towards using state-of-the-art scientific data from the fields we study - anthropology and biology - to address broader societal issues, communicate with the media and broader public, fight fictional narratives, prejudices and stereotypes, and help environmental conservation. 

If you want to support the Batwa, learn about these organizations:


Bwindi Community Hospital

Our current grantee, the Bwindi Community Hospital, works tirelessly to address Public Health issues among the Batwa in Uganda, through its Batwa Outreach Program. You can also find more information about the project Azimuth is supporting in our "Grants" page. 

AIMPO - African Initiative For Manking Progress Organization

This Batwa-led organization in Rwanda is mentioned during Rui Diogo's interview.

Pygmy Survival Alliance

An organization addressing the issues faced by the Batwa in Rwanda, also mentioned by Rui Diogo during the interview.

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.

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