The Kasese Wildlife Conservation Awareness program benefits both wildlife and humans in the Kasese District of Uganda. Asaba Mukobi, originally from Uganda, started this program due to the lack of information available to local people about wildlife. Since 2002, with the help of both the Columbus Zoo and Oregon Zoo, much has been accomplished. We received non-profit status in 2009. As Executive Director, Asaba works closely with the KWCAO Board and the 13-member team of Field Coordinators in Uganda. Since 2002, KWCAO field coordinators have given wildlife conservation presentations and materials to over 500 schools resulting in more than 425,000 students learning about their native wildlife and the necessity of conservation practices. Field Coordinators volunteer their time and all work for the Kasese District Education Department.
If you want to build a ship, then don’t drum up people to gather wood, give orders, and divide the work. Rather teach them to yearn for the far and endless sea.- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
We envision a future where there is an appreciation for the value of local wildlife, which are some of the most endangered species in our world.
The Kasese Wildlife conservation Awareness Organization is a non-profit making project established in 2002 to create Wildlife Conservation Awareness among school children and communities who live near Queen Elizabeth and Rwenzori National Parksin Western Uganda. Since its inception over 215 schools have been given wildlife presentations and materials that have helped in the conservation efforts of the valuable fauna and flora resources. Wildlife education is relatively new in the Kasese District (western Uganda). It is only through the Kasese Wildlife Conservation Awareness Organization that painstaking efforts are being made to integrate wildlife issues into the school curriculum. We strongly believe that the survival of the people and communities in western Uganda will continue to depend on the sound management of the environment and natural resources. Therefore, there is a vital need to expand public awareness of the wildlife issues for sustainable development for the future.
Mission & Goals
Create wildlife awareness and conservation in schoolchildren and their communities in the Kasese District of Uganda.
Through classroom presentations and outreach programs to communities in the Kasese district, KWCAO continued to meet its mission and goals this past year by:
- Giving students fundamental knowledge about native wildlife and wildlife conservation through educational presentations and materials.
- Helping students and community members identify ways they can join wildlife clubs or even establish their own, either at school or home.
- Helping students discover new ways to look at wildlife other than the local traditional ways (i.e. source of meat, crop destroyers, local medicine, source of income through poaching, trade, etc.)
- Training educators to implement conservation programs in schools and communities.
- Developing and implementing several wildlife clubs within the geographic region.
- Putting together several traveling suitcases full of educational wildlife props and supplies that are shared among participating schools and communities.
- Educating national park neighboring communities about the value of protected areas.
KWCAO Officers and Board
- Asaba Mukobi, Co-Founder and President
- Michael Illig, Treasurer
- Alice Stuckey, Secretary
- Rick Horton, Director
- Dr. Kim Voyle, Director
- Judy Post, Director
- Kimberly Mukobi, Co-Founder and Development Director
- Muliwabwo Elisha, Chairman
- Rev. Nyabutundu, Secretary
- Dr. Kamara Cyril, Treasurer
Asaba Mukobi grew up in the Kasese District of Uganda, with first-hand knowledge of the need for wildlife conservation in his native land. But local residents lacked the information necessary to fully understand this critical issue. Upon graduating from university, Asaba gained early career experience working with chimpanzees and other native Ugandan species. When he moved to the U.S. to work in the Columbus Zoo in 2002, Asaba maintained a strong connection with Kasese residents and family members. With support from zoos in Ohio and Oregon, he made several trips to Uganda with suitcases full of colorful and informational wildlife trading cards of his own design. Asaba visited schools throughout the District, presented wildlife education programs and handed out free trading cards to thousands of students. The cards became cherished possessions and led Asaba to establish the non-profit Kasese Wildlife Conservation Awareness Organization KWCAO in 2009. As Executive Director, Asaba works closely with the KWCAO Board and the 13-member team of Field Coordinators in Uganda. Since 2002, KWCAO field coordinators have given wildlife conservation presentations and materials to over 500 schools resulting in more than 425,000 students learning about their native wildlife and the necessity of conservation practices. Field Coordinators all work for the Kasese District Education Department and volunteer their time to KWCAO.
Michael Illig has been in the professional animal field for over 35 years and has worked at three different zoos. As a keeper, he worked with a wide variety of animals with a special focus on native to Africa and North America. In his current role of Animal Curator at the Oregon Zoo, Michael’s responsibilities include oversight of the bird collection, and endangered species breeding programs for the California Condor, several species of native butterflies and the Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit. Michael has been an active national and chapter member of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) and has received national recognition for his excellence in animal care and leadership of Portland AAZK chapter’s Bowling for Rhinos fundraising efforts. Michael has proudly served on the KWCAO board of directors since 2003.
Alice Stuckey currently works as an Administrative Specialist with Oregon Zoo’s Facilities Management Division and has a lifelong passion for wildlife conservation. She has served on KWCAO’s board since 2003. Alice has visited KWCAO operations in Africa and considers the trip as one of her most cherished experiences: “Working with KWCAO gives me the opportunity to combine my years of non-profit management with my love of East Africa. I believe education is the bedrock of any society and I am thrilled to have a way to influence conservation education in a country as beautiful as Uganda.”
Rick Horton grew up in suburban Connecticut surrounded by creatures of all shapes and styles. His extensive non-profit sector experience includes work as an animal keeper, wildlife rehabilitator and education program coordinator – in addition to spending the past 25-years as a fundraising professional in Portland, Oregon. As Grants Manager for the Oregon Zoo Foundation, Rick led efforts to secure more than $8 million in support of education, conservation and exhibition programs. An active member of the Grant Professionals Association, he teaches grantsmanship classes and workshops in the Portland area and serves as a federal grant reviewer. He also works part-time as a Development Manager for Adaptive Sports Northwest. Rick’s passion for wildlife conservation through education and his fundraising experience, led him to join the KWCAO board in 2004.
Dr. Kim Voyle has more than 30-years of professional Human Resources Management experience and is currently a Career Counselor and Educator. Her Ph.D. is in Educational Psychology with an emphasis on career transitions. She has volunteered at the Oregon Zoo since 2003 in support of virtually every aspect of Zoo operations. Kim is a Past President of the Zoo’s volunteer governing board and is a member of Portland’s AAZK chapter. She has been an active KWCAO board member since 2005. Her passion is conservation of felids in the wild.
Judy Post has been amazed by wildlife for as long as she can remember. Judy started volunteering at the Oregon Zoo in 1986 and quickly learned that she really could make a difference in conserving natural resources in her local community. Her trip to southern Africa in the spring of 2015 sparked her interest in global conservation and led her to KWCAO board service: “Serving on the Board of Directors for Kasese Wildlife Conservation Awareness Organization expands my awareness of, and commitment to, the role public education plays in the world-wide conservation of wildlife and habitat.”
Kimberly Mukobi is an instructor in the University Studies Department at Portland State University. She teaches the Grantwriting for Animals Senior Capstone courses, in which students combine service and learning to write proposals for community partners working in the animal welfare and wildlife conservation sectors. Kimberly has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Master of Science degree in Experimental Psychology, focusing on animal cognition and ethology. Her work with chimpanzees included a variety of captive and wild settings, and encompassed everything from sign language and nonverbal communication to mathematical and other cognitive tasks with chimps who worked on some of the first touch screen computers. In the late ‘90s, she volunteered for the Jane Goodall Institute and Uganda National Parks with one of the very first island sanctuaries to help young chimpanzee survivors of the international poaching trade.