There is need for more community involvement in preservation of natural and cultural heritage, experts have said.
This was during a workshop on nature and culture conservation organised by the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda in collaboration with the Yale University, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, held at the environment museum in Karongi District on Tuesday.
During the workshop, participants discussed ways to raise both public and political awareness and encourage specific actions to conserve cultural and natural heritage.
It was noted there is an increase in cultural heritage loss which is caused by criminal acts such as destruction of sites, socio-economic development projects, influence of western cultures, scarcity of resources allocated to cultural heritage conservation, among others.
The experts called for use of latest technologies, such as social media, to promote the preservation of nature, and more involvement of communities to ensure heritage such as songs, poems, fictions are well preserved.
Isidore Ndikumana, acting Director General, Rwanda Museums, called on Rwandans to treasure and protect nature and culture heritage.
“Some people think heritage sites are for foreign tourists. That’s not true; they should understand that the heritage is theirs. Conservation should start at the local level,” he said.
According to Stefan Simon, Director of the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Yale University in the US, cultural heritage is “the root of our identity; it determines who we are and how we live”.
“I have learnt a lot about cultural heritage of Rwanda and Africa, how it links with nature and how it is important to always make sure that residents are profiting from their cultural heritage,” he said.
Johannes Vogel, the director of Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, said the meeting was an opportunity to learn from others’ experiences.
“Rwanda has made major efforts to address the issues of conservation of nature and culture, creating institutions and political interests and the will to pursue this. People learn new ways of living together, bring different perspectives, culture, ideas together for a more harmonious and forward-looking society. We are keen to share and learn from that experience. European conservation institutions are more advanced. There are practices, ideas, technologies that we are willing to share,” he said.
During the workshop, the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda shared local and regional potentials and challenges in nature and culture conservation