ARCOS’ achievements in conservation of Rugezi Marsh recognized by Burera District
On June, 18th and 19th the Open Day for Burera District/Rwanda took place in Kidaho. For this occasion, Private sector, Nongovernmental Organizations and district development partners showcase their activities to the residents, exchange and discuss new ideas. The Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS) as one of the key actors in conservation of Rugezi Marsh presented its achievements so far and the future plan for the sustainability of Rugezi preservation. ARCOS appreciated the consideration of its effort by the district of Burera.
ARCOS strives to integrate communities in conservation of Rugezi through alternative income generating activities and environmental education activities.
To support evidence-based decision making, biodiversity baseline surveys and Integrated Landscape assessment and Monitoring assessments of the Rugezi landscape have been conducted and an on-ongoing biodiversity monitoring programme is being carried out in collaboration with the Endangered Wildlife Trust and International Crane Foundation.
To reduce pressure from communities on natural resources, beekeeping cooperatives were established around the Rugezi marshland and equipped with modern beekeeping materials as well as trained in modern beekeeping. ARCOS also supported Batwa (indigenous people) families around Rugezi by providing them with livestock and supporting their children with schoold materials. Finally, ARCOS supports the effort to promote ecotourism through birding in Rugezi wetland where training on birding guiding and other related materials are organized for locals and local leaders are sensitized on the importance of the wetlands so they multiply their effort to protect it.
Rugezi wetland is very important in terms of its biodiversity since it hosts most of the Grey Crowned Crane population found in Rwanda. Its services also play a significant role in the local economy as an important reservoir for electricity feeding two of the major hydroelectric stations in the country. It is the sole RAMSAR site found in Rwanda and hosting threatened species such as Grey Crowned Crane and Grauer’s Swamp warlber. ARCOS is very happy for the realized achievements and is committed to continue to shoulder the government’s effort to make this unique ecosystem a robust source of livelihoods for local community and income for the country while ensuring its services continue to flow undisturbed. We call for the continued partnership and collaboration between all stakeholders to preserve this Jewel perched up in Burera highlands.
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