Augustin Nzabana is the initiator and managing director of Action for the Promotion of Cultural and Humanitarian Tourism (ACHUT) –Rwanda. He told Moses Opobo about the organisation’s attempts at harmonising humanitarian work and cultural tourism …
How did you end up in tourism and humanitarian work?
I have been working for one humanitarian organization after another ever since I completed high school in 1992. I first worked for an organization called COLAS for nine months, but had to quit to pursue my university degree in Applied Sciences at NUR. It was a government scholarship.
The 1994 genocide interrupted my studies as everything came to a standstill.
After the genocide, I resumed humanitarian work with GED –German Emergency Doctors. Humanitarian work is something that I liked and still do. At that time, I could have gotten a better paying job elsewhere, as there was a general shortage of skilled manpower.
I worked briefly for Concern Worldwide, then went back to SFB (School of Finance and Banking), where I emerged the best student in the Marketing class in 2009. As a student I did part-time jobs in tourism, and that is how I got to know that it’s a promising industry.
So I thought of a way I could combine both experiences (tourism and humanitarian work), hence the idea for ACHUT.
What is ACHUT all about?
ACHUT Ltd was born out of STS Karisimbi Africa Travel, a small adventure travel company that specialized in appropriate travel around East Africa. A big portion of its revenues were used to support poor communities all around its working area. We registered with RDB at the beginning of June, and our launch event is June 30th 2013 (today), at the Solace Ministries multipurpose hall in Kacyiru.
ACHUT will be specializing in cultural dances and entertainment where we not only entertain guests Rwandan style, but also teach foreigners our popular traditional dances. We are looking at ways in which we can motivate tourists to enjoy their stay in Rwanda, but with a humanitarian spirit.
We want to start three days a week (Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays), but eventually our target is to establish a permanent learning center where foreigners can freely access all aspects of Rwandan culture. For now, entrance is free, but we hope to arrive at a fair entry fee in consultation with our well wishers.
What are some of ACHUT’s humanitarian efforts?
We capitalize on promoting tourism while protecting the environment; we promote local manpower, respect and management of time as one of the most important tools of development. Our overall objective is to create business opportunities that are of benefit not only to the initiators and employees, but also and more importantly the poor communities living around our areas of operation. We will work closely with local government to identify where best our efforts can be channeled.