Nearly Rwf8 billion injected in development projects for communities surrounding national parks

On 20 August 2022 at 09:57

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has announced that a total of Rwf7.9 billion have been injected in more than 880 development projects aimed at transforming livelihoods of communities in the surroundings of national parks since 2008.

The projects are part of the country’s initiative to give back to communities in the outskirts of national parks and encourage them to contribute to conservation efforts.

These community-based projects have provided clean drinking water, milk, health centres, classrooms and housing to communities living around the four national parks; Akagera National Park, Nyungwe National Park, Volcanoes National Park and Rwanda’s newest Gishwati-Mukura National Park.

Speaking at a press conference to announce the roadmap for this year’s baby gorilla naming (Kwiza Izina) activities, the Chief Tourism Officer at RDB, Ariella Kageruka revealed that environment conservation is given much attention under Rwanda’s development programs and policy.

These programs include the sharing of tourism revenues where 10% goes back to support communities the surroundings of parks.

“So far, we have injected nearly Rwf8billion in socio-economic development projects to uplift citizens’ wellbeing. Supported projects include the construction of schools and health facilities among other infrastructures,” said Kageruka.

These projects have helped citizens to understand the relevance of protecting biodiversity and conservation of parks.

This year’s Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony will be held on 2nd September 2022 in Kinigi, Musanze District, two years after the last in-person event.

As a result of the Covid pandemic, the flagship annual ceremony was held virtually over the last two years.

This year’s 18th edition will ensure a safe return to the foothills of Volcanoes National Park, joining the communities living around the home of the endangered mountain gorillas in the ultimate celebration of nature and conservation.

The event will feature a naming ceremony of 20 baby mountain gorillas born in the park over the last 12 months. 354 baby gorillas have been named since the start of the naming ceremony in 2005.

This year’s namers will include notable partners, conservationists, international celebrities, dignitaries and friends of Rwanda.

Among others, this year’s celebration will showcase Rwanda’s conservation efforts, including the need to expand the habitat of the mountain gorillas. The day also presents an opportunity to bring to the fore efforts by the Government of Rwanda to improve the livelihoods of park communities while enabling wildlife conservation through the Tourism Revenue Share Program.

Initiated in 2005, the Tourism Revenue Share Programme aims to guide investment in the areas surrounding the various national parks in Rwanda by ensuring that 10% of all park revenues is given back to the communities.

This year, RDB will launch the Cyarubare Industrial Workshop in Kayonza District, a community project that was developed and funded by the Rwanda Development Board as part of the programme.

Additionally, this year, RDB, in partnership with African Leadership University, will organise the 2022 Business of Conversation Conference, a virtual session that brings together scholars, researchers, conservationists, policymakers and the private sector to discuss, debate and find solutions to today’s conservation challenges. The conference will take place on 31 August 2022.

Schools are among infrastructures built for communities in the outskirts of parks.