Community Involvement

Akagera
community © Carien Soldatos
Local schoolchildren can experience the park first-hand.

Environmental Education

Helping to educate local  schoolchildren on the importance of biodiversity is critical to creating a constituency for conservation.  Regular environmental educational awareness sessions have been held in the park, with well over 1,300 students from schools visiting Akagera each year along with local leaders and educators.

infrastructure © Horst Klemm
Water provision sites.

Creating Jobs

From just 59 employees prior to 2010, Akagera’s staff force has more than tripled over the years, with the vast majority coming from local communities. In addition, a significant amount is spent annually on locally-hired staff salaries and the purchase of local materials and services,strengthening community ties which is essential for the park’s long-term sustainability.

Infrastructure Development

Funds go towards infrastructure projects that have greatly improved the quality of life for surrounding communities, from the construction of social infrastructure (schools, health centres and libraries), and water provision sites, to the development of local associations and small enterprises.

Sharing Revenue with Local Communities

The Rwanda Development Board’s revenue sharing scheme sees 5% of the total revenue generated by its three national parks (Akagera, Volcanoes and Nyungwe National Parks) shared with local communities. Those living in the areas surrounding Akagera receive 30% of these shared revenues.

Tourism

As the tourism offering expands, so too will employment opportunities, but it is equally important to ensure that the wider community benefits from the ongoing conservation of Akagera, beyond those directly employed by the park. A significant amount is spent on locally-hired staff salaries and the purchase of local materials and services.

lions © Jes Gruner
Community members lined the streets to welcome the lions to their new home.

Special Guarantee Fund

Five percent of total revenue is allocated to the Special Guarantee Fund, which was set up by the government to compensate community members that suffer losses as a result of human-wildlife conflict. While incidents of human-wildlife conflict have declined significantly since the completion of the government-funded western boundary fence in 2013, incident still occur with  communities living on the periphery of the park.