RWANDA DEVELOPMENT BOARD LAUNCHES KWITA IZINA WATERPROJECTS
RDB – Tourism and Conservation today launched their annual Kwita Izina related projectsin the presence of local, regional and international media representatives and witnessed by local government leaders, conservation partners and most important large numbers of beneficiaries from the local communities living around the Volcanoes National Park.
52 household based water tanks were installed to ‘harvest’ rain water for domestic use, garden irrigation and watering livestock while a further 4 community based water tanks with capacities up to 80.000 litres were also handed over to the local people, including, as shown in the picture above water dispensation units easily accessible by families living nearby.
Ms. Claire Akamanzi, Deputy CEO of RDB and the head of tourism and conservation Ms. Rica Rwigamba were at hand to ‘cut the tapes’ and formally commission the tanks at various locations, highlighting in their various addresses of how important good relations with the locals are and how much better the livelihood of the various villages now are that funds from tourism income and specific donations made are channeled back into the grassroot levels.
On Saturday will the annual naming of 22 new born gorillas take place and this correspondent will report live from the event in Kinigi / Musanze District.
ORANGE TAILED SKINKS SENT TO UK TO ENSURE SURVIVAL
A rare and extremely threatened species of skinks have been collected from their habitat in Mauritius recently and were sent with all due precautions to ensure their safe arrival in Britain where they will be undergoing a captive breeding programme in Jersey.
Already extinct on their original home ‘Flat Island’ the little crawlies are now under the care of the Durell Wildlife Conservation Trust, from where they will eventually return ‘home’ when enough breeding stock has been created in safe and conducive conditions and when back home on Mauritius an equally safe environment for their survival has been created. The relocation was a combined effort by the UK based organization in conjunction with the Mauritius Wildlife Trust and the Mauritius Minister of Agro-Industry, which proved particularly helpful to accomplish the task with minimum time lost in order to safe this species from going the way of the legendary ‘Dodo’.
The skinks were for long able to enjoy their habitat without predators until shrews arrived as ‘blind passengers’ on cargo vessels from the Indian subcontinent and then feasted on the skinks to the point of nearly exterminating them.
Watch this space when the story of the orange coloured skinks’ return breaks.
KWITA IZINA CONSERVATION CONFERENCE SENDS RECOMMENDATIONS TO GOVERNMENT
At the conclusion of the annual Kwita Izina Conservation Conference yesterday evening at the Kigali Serena Conference Centre did participants and stakeholders from Rwanda, other East African Community member states but also from as far as Israel and South Africa agree on a series of recommendations which were approved by the forum and have been sent to the Rwandan government for inclusion in their already impressive fight against deforestation and degradation.
Discussion papers were submitted at the meeting by Dr. Tamar Ron, who introduced the success story of her work at the Maiombe Forest in Cabinda / Angola while Dr. Juan Carlos Bonilla highlighted the challenges of successful forest management options incorporating local communities as both beneficiaries as well as guardians of forests. Prof. Jean Nduwamungu of the National University of Rwanda, the first presenter in the morning, spoke in detail about the role of communities and their ‘stewardship’ in sustainable forest conservation and forest management, with the audience broadly agreeing that all forests should contribute to neighbouring communities and the country at large but in a sustainable format benefitting in particular traditional forest dwellers and those living near forests.
The following catalogue of findings from three working groups constituted during the conference interactive sessions, was submitted to government through the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, the Hon. Stanislas Kamanzi, who had earlier in the day opened the conference:
- Promote agroforestry technology throughout the country
- To assign true economic value of tree resources
- Increase public awareness on the benefit raised from revenue sharing from adjacent forest or national parks
- Having alternative o similar conservation events as the Kwita izina ceremony in other protected areas
- Encouraging local community in tree planting and tree conservation
- Having buffer zone around all protected areas and assisting communities around these areas to plant trees
- Define forest in the context of Rwanda (0.03ha)
- Classify forest according to steward/ownship from community
- Tenure jurisdiction of the buffer Zone and purpose clarify, rights for local communities
- Regulation to harvest what in which manner (buffer zone of NNP) so that it responds for the need of both ( harmonize the needs)
- Triangular management of the buffer zone : conservation-Nationa forest and community
- Good understanding of local community for non-timber forest product
- Categorization of stakeholder: local communities, local authorities, religious leaders, schools, private sector, donors, security organs, foresters, land owners
- Sustainable forest management: use of non-timber forest resources, Control of commercial users, Alternative energy sources (biogas, saving stoves), Income generating project, engagement of local communities in decision making for management of forest resources, Alternative protein sources, Transboundary cooperation, Improved methods of farming (mechanization
- Benefits sharing: payment for environmental services, revenue sharing from tourism or forest, access to local and regional market, ownership over the resources and rights over the resources use, bi-product of tourism, bi-product and additional benefits from alternative energy sources, employment.
- Impact for conservation through benefit sharing for stakeholder for sustainable forest management
- Interlinking conservation and education system
Participants, especially those who came to attend from other EAC member countries expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of the conference and were making arrangements to submit the conference recommendations to their own governments in Nairobi, Kampala, Dar es Salaam and Bujumbura with several of them also proposing to send a comprehensive report to the East African Community headquarters in Arusha to implement findings on a region wide basis.
Kwita Izina week now ‘moves’ upcountry to launch community based projects financed by tourism receipts before culminating on Friday and Saturday with a traditional community celebration festival in Musanze and the actual naming of the newly born mountain gorilla babies on Saturday at the headquarters of the Volcano National Park.
Watch this space.
NAIROBI’S RANKING AS CONFERENCE DESTINATION MOVES UP
The International Congress and Convention Association has raised Kenya to the third place in Africa for meeting and convention business, up a place compared to the previous year, while Nairobi came second after Cape Town with a record of 27 international conferences and meetings qualifying under ICCA standards applied for the listing process.
The construction of a new international conference centre in Mombasa, on land acquired for the purpose from Bamburi Cement and located near the world famous Bamburi Haller Park, will further add to the attractions of Kenya as a preferred destination for global MICE events, bringing more of the hugely profitable and high profile events into the country.
Much of this development is attributed to the harmonious relationship and working hand in hand between the Kenya Tourist Board, the Kenyatta International Conference Centre and the private sector in the tourism industry, which saw East Africa’s biggest economy register record arrivals and earnings last year for the sector, and again being headed for a new all time record comparing the first 5 months of 2011 with the previous year, which is reportedly over 15 percent up already.
Well done Kenya!