Thanks to our donor IUCN/CARPE we could start a project in Nyagatare district to afforest the Muvumba gallery forest in October 2009. This forest was redundant with eucalyptus trees but thanks to a local cooperative called ABERA 2,602 of them were removed. We supported Abadahemuka (another local cooperative) to produce 20,800 native plants like Acacia kirkii. Moreover, 51,000 seedlings of Grevilla robusta have been produced by a third local cooperative named DUFATANYE II. Latter plants were distributed to local farmers, families and churches after training them in agro forestry techniques.
In a survey of two Biology and Conservation students from the NUR three mammal species were recorded in 2011. Furthermore, they listed 70 different plant and 62 different bird species even the threatened Sooty Falcon (Falco concolor) and the Vulnerable Grey crowned Crane (Balearica regulonum). This was a great success.
Of cause not only field work is our remit but also to help to revise laws which safe the environment. To pass a law is a long process compromising different steps. It took us seven months beginning in September 2009.
After developing a joint action plan together with the national Forest Authority (NAFA) and the Ministry in Charge of Forestry we needed to set up a national task committee for which ACNR was the secretary. A number of workshops were held to inform and to bring together representatives of the whole Rwandan community including medias and chaired by the Ministry in Charge of Forestry. Lawyers of the Ministry of Justice revised the new law once more and finally, the draft law was translated in the three official languages used in Rwanda; Kinyarwanda, English and French.
In May 2008 ACNR could start a project called “Improvement of livelihoods, knowledge and sustainable management of Nyabarongo wetlands in Rwanda” donated by IUCN NL/EGP. Our aim was to raise the local community’s awareness for environmental conservation through workshops and meetings. They used Nyabarongo wetland as their unique source of subsistence without considering future generations. ACNR had established two site support groups (SSG) which enforce the regulations and by-laws that were formulated to protect the threatened wetland biodiversity.
The Local farmers were taught how to protect the River banks and to restore the degraded parts of the wetland. Taday, 30,5 hectares are planted with Pennisetum hence the Nyabarongo river site is strengthened. This was not just stipulated by the Rwanda environment law but helped farmers to get more livestock feed.
In workshops and other trainings local people learned to produce a variety of handcrafts made out of wetland raw materials. By selling them they generated their income and are now able to improve their livelihood by getting school fees, health insurance etc.