In Uganda there is a small rainforest under pressure near Kampala. The Mukono area is around 1600 hectares. Our own company, Mabira Forest lodge has been developed in this rainforest. The resort can accommodate 50 guests. It has a restaurant and a small swimming pool overlooking the pristine nature. We have targeted a growing group of travellers, tourists, and businessmen and women. People with a conscience who want to enjoy the full potential of a tropical destination without having a negative impact on the people and the planet. This has worked; the lodge still welcomes many tourists every year.
The community in Mukono consists of around 25.000 people. It is a mix of different tribes. They live from agriculture, handicrafts, tree felling and entrepreneurship. Mabira Forest Lodge became also a flywheel for ecological, early circular, social and economic development in the region. It was the driver of transformation to a new economy. We built a new ecosystem in cooperation with many different stakeholders. This was based on a shared vision for the area, our common ground.
The flywheel for integrated transformation became a model we called ‘COOLRegion’. We developed this with Wageningen UR in NL, Forest Trends USA, Ashoka and Kampala University in Uganda. The World Bank noticed the progress we had made in Uganda and invited us to present the lodge and COOLRegion in Washington DC.