Margaret Babirye


Research Cluster

Partnership in development cooperation - Access to development cooperation for marginalised groups


Prof. Dr. Hubertus Büschel,Kassel University

Prof. Dr. Franziska Müller,Hamburg University

PhD Project Title

Climate Politics: Conservation, Displacement and Education – the case of Batwa of Uganda


The Batwa of Uganda is former hunter-gatherers who originally dwelt on forest land in the South-western region. In response to the 1992 international climate change convention (UNFCCC), Uganda developed a National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) including conservation of wildlife and tourism as policy priorities for adaptation to climate change. However, the conservation process enforced the eviction of Batwa from the forests which threatened their sovereignty. In this project, I aim to examine the displacement of Batwa, and how their knowledge and wider education around the circumstances of their marginalization and displacement, has the potential to inform development policy in Uganda. I argue that whereas Uganda’s conservation and climate policies are important, they do not address key structural problems of the Batwa resulting from their displacement. Therefore, this project proposes that intervention from the development sector would be more effective in promoting the identity, culture and sustainable wellbeing of Batwa. The project also utilises the political ecology framework due to its commitment to the analysis of different ideas as held by different actors. This is important for analysing the knowledge and development aspirations of indigenous peoples such as the Batwa and incorporating them into the climate, development policies, and decision making processes of Uganda. Since Batwa are characterized historically by not conducting settled agriculture (like the Bantu in Africa), their vision is neglected. The visions of governments, I/NGOs tend to assume that human development takes place in the form of settled residence and material well-being which enables other lands to be set aside for conservation, excluding from these visions groups like the Batwa. This paper puts forward that development, linked to access to land and benefits accruing from the conservation and development cooperation in Uganda will be important for: 1) realisation of Batwa’s vision and that of nature which they sustained for time immemorial, 2) empowerment of the Batwa in ways that are beneficial to them. 

Educational Background

  • 2017: Master of Science in African Studies, University of Oxford - UK, majoring in Methodology, Ethics and Research Strategies, themes in African development, modernization, economic adjustment, and the “Politics of Development among the Batwa of Uganda” (Dissertation).
  • 2012: Bachelor of Arts in Adult and Community Education, Makerere University - Uganda, majoring in community development in Uganda; research methodology; program identification, planning, implementation; Monitoring and Evaluation.

Professional Experience

  • 2017- 2020: Fellow for the Third Generation Project – University of St Andrews, UK.
  • 2011 – 2016: Education and Training Officer for the East and Central African Association for Indigenous Rights, Uganda.
  • 2014 – 2015: Research Assistant for Makerere University Quality Assurance Directorate, Uganda.
  • 2012 – 2013: Teaching Assistant for Bugema University.   

Social/Political Activities

  • 2019: Interdependence Agency, climate change activist.
  • 2018: University of Oxford Alumni Community member.
  • 2017: University of Oxford African Society member.
  • 2011: Makerere University Environmental Sustainability club activist.


  • 2020: DAAD Thomas Sankara award
  • 2017: St Anne’s College – University of Oxford, Travel Grant
  • 2017: African Studies Center, University of Oxford, Research Grant
  • 2016: Oxford Mitsui and Co. African Studies Scholarship
  • 2008-2011: Makerere University Government sponsorship


  • Kimoga, J., Babirye, M., Musana, J., Kakande, A., Abonyo, C., Oilar, C., & Muhumuza, P. (2015). Equity and equality: The poor and higher education accessibility. British Journal of Higher Education, 10(3), 1- 16.