News Rwanda SSG members: insights from their Uganda exchange visit

Two members of two Site Support Groups (SSGs) working with Association pour la Conservation de la Nature au Rwanda (ACNR) for the conservation of Akanyaru Wetland, KOSUMU and KABAMU, took part in a three days exchange visit to Uganda in November 2014. The purpose of this exchange visit was to share experiences with the visited SSGs on institutional management, networking, conservation issues and eco-businesses.

Concerned URL http://www.acnrwanda.org
Source Association pour la Conservation de la Nature au Rwanda (ACNR)
Release date 24/07/2015
Contributor Prudence Ndabasanze
Geographical coverage Rwanda, Ouganda
Keywords Conservation, Wetlands, Exchange visit,

Two members of two Site Support Groups (SSGs) working with Association pour la Conservation de la Nature au Rwanda (ACNR) for the conservation of Akanyaru Wetland, KOSUMU and KABAMU, took part in a three days exchange visit to Uganda in November 2014. The purpose of this exchange visit was to share experiences with the visited SSGs on institutional management, networking, conservation issues and eco-businesses. They visited community livelihood projects that are led and benefit the SSGs from Lutembe Bay Wetland and Mabamba Wetland. Some of the visited projects include; Entebbe snake park, Malakai Eco Lodge, Confidence Eco-Model, Solid waste management programme, tree nursery and how to make liquid and solid soaps. These projects support local people to avoid over reliance and pressure on the wetland resources.  

KOSUMU is a cooperative composed of 25 active members including 20 women. This cooperative produces bags, hats and related handcrafts which cost around 1,500 Rwandan Francs each (app. 2 USD). They also make tables at affordable price and their individual monthly revenue is around 20 000 Rwandan Francs. The cooperative KABAMU is composed of 262 fisherfolk of which 27 are women. Their individual monthly revenue ranges between 30 000 Rwandan Francs and 50 000 Rwandan Francs.

After their exchange visit to Uganda, the two representatives of KOSUMU and KABAMU confirmed having learnt different interesting issues related to the conservation, governance, monitoring and reporting. They committed themselves to share the knowledge gained with other members in order to improve conservation of the birds and biodiversity of Akanyaru wetlands.

“It was a nice opportunity for us to learn from different SSGs from other countries implementing the LVB Project, especially about the strong link between local entrepreneurship with conservation of wetlands” Said Révélien Nsanzuruvugo, member of KABAMU. He continued: “We learnt how SSGs in Uganda conducts biodiversity assessment and manage wetlands. They are advanced in the protection of wetlands”.  

Ms Rosine Uwimana who was representing KOSAMU in this exchange visit added that they learnt how they can get more benefit from water hyacinth by producing organic fertilizer. According to her, before the exchange visit, they used water hyacinth only for making handcraft. “During our last extraordinary general assembly in which I have shared with other members of KABAMU my experience when we were visiting Uganda, they all appreciated this technology and decided to immediately domesticate in our cooperative and took it as a high priority for the upcoming agriculture season to improve the harvest” said Ms Rosine.

Peer-to-peer learning is a key element of the BirdLife project “Empowering local communities for the conservation and sustainable development of the birds and biodiversity of the Lake Victoria Basin, the Greatest of Africa’s ‘Great Lakes”, funded by the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation. By facilitating exchange visits SSG members can learn from and inspire each other in the sustainable management of the natural resources they and their communities rely upon for their livelihoods.

Editor: Prudence Ndabasanze, LVB Project coordinator, ACNR

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