RDB (Rwanda Development Board) has today donated ten modern housing units worth Rwf 36 million to families that had previously lived in the buffer zone of Nyungwe National Park. The ceremony took place at Kitabi Sector, Nyamagabe District.
The donation of the modern units, which will house 48 occupants including children, is the first community project of the Kwita Izina 2018 campaign.
This donation will be followed by another in Ndego Sector, Kayonza District on 5, September. Residents of Karambi and Sangano villages will receive a mobile clinic, solar lighting systems and solar water pumps.
The funding for the construction of the houses comes from the Revenue Share Programme.
Initiated in 2005 by the Government of Rwanda, the Revenue Share Programme aims to guide investment in the areas surrounding the various national parks in Rwanda in order to enhance awareness of importance of conservation to communities living around national parks. Following a Cabinet decision in 2017, the funds available to support the revenue share program increased from 5% to 10% of all tourism revenues in 2018.
In her welcome address, the Chief Tourism Officer at RDB, Belise Kariza, said the programmes funded by the Revenue Share Programme are about improving people’s lives.
“This project is one of a kind. It demonstrates our commitment to preserving biodiversity while contributing to improving the livelihoods of people living adjacent to our national parks and the overall development of the country”, she said.
While thanking RDB for the donation, the Guest of Honor, the Governor of the Southern Province, Marie-Rose Mureshyankwano, noted that the provision of good housing is essential for the development of the family.
“Our future depends on the stability of family institutions and it is therefore important that we continue to protect the general welfare of families and especially our children”, she said.
The theme of this year’s Kwita Izina event is ‘Conservation is Life’ and the naming ceremony will take place in Kinigi, Northern Province on 7th September2018.
In addition to the launch of the Kwita Izina community projects, the ‘Conversation on Conservation’ (CoC) forum will take place alongside an exhibition focused on conservation trends and practices on the 4th and 5th September.
The Conservation Exhibition will bring together tourism and conservation partners from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania to showcase conservation efforts and avail educational materials to the general public.
The CoC will bring together global conservation leaders, providing a unique platform linking conservation with sustainable tourism by embracing all layers of the value chain.
As a result of conservation efforts such as Kwita Izina, the population of the endangered mountain gorilla has increased to 604 in 2016 in the Virunga Massif compared to 480 in 2010. The Virunga Massif is comprised Mikeno Sector of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Mountain gorilla numbers in the entire area had fallen as low as 242 in 1981.