As a way of sharing benefits from earnings of Akagera National Park with citizens to accentuate the value of ownership of national parks, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) allocates part of the income so generated from the parks to contribute to the welfare of the communities around the park.
RDB has built a school in Rwimiyaga sector, a health center; water dam and public water tap in addition to a 110 kilometer buffer fence separating the park from the communities under the revenue sharing scheme.
Mungiziki Theodore, a teacher at Gatebe School said that residents of Rwimiyaga had no school calssrooms in 2008 and pupils could study under trees leaving learners exposed to hot sun, rain and wind among others.
He says parents later built a house thatched with grass but leaked in rainy seasons wetting learners and destroying their scholastic materials.
Rwanda Development Board started building 12 classrooms in the area in 2010 with 24 toilets which was completed later and handed to the community.
“In 2011 children started using the classrooms built by RDB .The school had 512 students at the beginning, a number which has currently risen to 1512 students with a good degree of academic success,” said Bumbakare Faustin,the head of Gatebe school.
Apart from the school, Bumbakare explained that RDB provided a water reservoir and a health center which has reduced the distance they would travel to access health centers.
Twahirwa John and Mukasekuru Devota are among beneficiaries who experienced the difficulties of walking 17 kilometers to access medical services before the health facility was introduced which would result in many women giving birth in their homes without medical assistance.
Dufitumukiza Emmanuel, a community liaison officer Akagera Park says that the ‘Revenue sharing’ program has achieved a lot since its inception.
“ Classrooms and toilets valued at over Rwf 50 million have been constructed among other facilities including a health centers and water infrastrucres,” he said.
He explained that RDB will share much more from earnings of Akagera Natioanl Park.
The next projects will involve construction of Karushuga cell offices and funding a cooperative of bee keepers.
He urged communities in park proximities to collaborate in the preservation of the park flora and fauna by avoiding poaching activities.
RDB spends over Rwf 100 million annually under revenue sharing scheme in three Eastern Province districts surrounding Akagera National park.Revenue sharing was conceived in 2005 where 5% of tourism revenues are shared with the community around Virunga National Park, Nyungwe and Akagera National Parks.
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