Tourism funds community projects
The Rwanda Office for Tourism and National Parks last week unveiled 15 new community projects worth Frw 146 million in sectors surrounding Nyungwe National Park.
The projects were realized by ORTPN under the revenue sharing policy of allocating 5% of tourism revenue to community projects.
Mr. Fidel Ruzigandekwe, the executive director of the Rwanda Wildlife Agency (RWA) said that the revenue sharing policy is in line with Rwanda’s strategy of promoting tourism for the benefit of all the Rwandan people.
“The projects are a testament that Rwanda’s tourism sector is a successful tool for poverty eradication, and part of a sensitization strategy that has involved communities in conserving wildlife and their habitat,” Ruzigandekwe remarked.
The newly inaugurated projects include dormitories in APEKA, Matare and Rusasa secondary schools, Ngange Health Center, Bweyeye Maternity Center, Kivu communal water taps and various income generating projects like the Abakundangina association of beekeepers.
The projects have strengthened the partnerships between the communities and the tourism office, and have been a success in terms of reducing destructive park encroachment and poaching, Ruzigandekwe said.
He announced that by the end of the year, another Frw 308 million will have been injected in community projects.
The launch of the projects comes after other projects were launched in the Northern and Eastern provinces, and they are also unveiled prior to the grand launch of Nyungwe National Park scheduled for December 16.
Jean Baptiste Rugira, the director of Matare secondary school which got a new dormitory, said that he was grateful for the support from ORTPN to the community living around Cyamudongo forest.
“I am very pleased because we have been having a problem of accommodation which resulted in the girls having to sleep in one of the classrooms,” he explained.
He said that the new dormitory will accommodate more than 200 pupils, compared to the 117 that have been sleeping in the classroom. In return, the school intends to strengthen its commitment to conserve Cyamudongo forest by starting up a club where students will learn ways of conserving the forest and wildlife.
Vincent Ndibwami, the vice president of the committee in charge of management at the school, said that the new dormitory is going to improve the welfare of the girls, because their sleeping space was cramped which made it impossible to keep a supervisor close to the girls. In the new dormitory, there will be place for this supervisor, who will also act as their counselor.
Claudette Murerwa, a student in senior two, also expressed her joy with the new dormitory.
“When sleeping in the classroom, we had no privacy. Also, we can now properly hang out our laundry to dry; before, we put it on the window panes of the classroom, which made the whole school look funny.”