Empowering youth while raising awareness for sustainable conservation of Gishwati KBA in Rwanda

The “Nature Rwanda” is a registered national NGO in Rwanda. Created with the vision of building communities where human beings will live in harmony with Nature, coexisting without compromising the wellbeing of future generations. Our mission is to connect young people with nature by promoting environmentally-responsible youth, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in Rwanda through empowerment and engagement of informed, responsible and participating citizens.

Thus, Nature Rwanda received financial support from Critical Ecosystem Partnership Funds - CEPF to implement a project “Empowering youth while raising awareness for sustainable conservation of Gishwati KBA in Rwanda.” The main goal of this project is to empower youth while raising awareness for sustainable conservation of Gishwati KBA in Rwanda. Nature Rwanda will disseminate conservation education materials in Gishwati-Mukura region and University of Rwanda, Huye campus.   

This project is in line with the first CEPF investment strategies; Empowering youth for sustainable biodiversity conservation. Raising awareness on conservation of key biodiversity area in Rwanda will contribute in local empowerment as in strategy 1. Mainstream biodiversity into wider development policies, plans and projects to deliver the co benefits of biodiversity conservation, improved local livelihoods and economic development in priority corridors.

During the implementation of this project, Nature Rwanda will work closely with CEPF Team, Environmental clubs in secondary schools in Rubavu, Rutsiro, Ngororero and Nyabihu Districts  and University of Rwanda’s Rwanda University Club for Conservation of Biodiversity (RUCCB), Center for excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resources management in Rwanda, and Rwanda development Board. Thus, we will work with local NGOs/CBOs based in the region that have within their mission protection and preserving our fragile environment and that possess relevant information on conservation of KBA in Rwanda.

The sustainability of this project lies within it; the dissemination of conservation materials will be used to build the capacity in conservation within the community and or at University of Rwanda in biology and conservation department while contributing in raising awareness on endangered plants and animals’ species in Rwanda with a focus on KBAs. The big picture will be to connect young people with nature so that they should contribute in its conservation as future leaders and decision makers of tomorrow.

Therefore, for sustainable conservation of all KBAs in Rwanda and with the aim to connect young people with Nature, Nature Rwanda together with development partners, NGOs, Media and the government of Rwanda will replicate this project to the remaining KBAs. It is worth noting that raising awareness on biodiversity conservation while investing in youth will determine a bright future for future generations and it is very relevant on all aspects of conservation. As Nature Rwanda has committed to connect youth with Nature, raising awareness among them is one way of increasing ownership, involvement and engagement.

By Prudence NDABASANZE