Residents living near Akagera National Park have welcomed new classrooms inaugurated recently under the tourism revenue sharing policy.
Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in partnership with key conservation partners inaugurated a new four classroom block at Akagera Primary School in Rwimbogo Sector, Gatsibo District last week.
The school will now be able to serve more than 120 pupils of P.1-P.3 who have been walking along distance of 10 miles to G.S Munini school through rugged hills.
As parents put it, “the new classrooms could help bring down school dropout rates and late coming” in the area.
Samuel Mulindwa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education called the launch a token of friendship between Akagera Park and the surrounding communities.
“We are very happy that RDB thought of education facilities among others as one of the suitable gifts to the park-friendly residents of Rwimbogo: “We hope this launch will further enhance the awareness of conservation amongst you,” Mulindwa told residents.
The district’s Vice Mayor in charge of Economic Development Theogene Manzi called upon residents of Rwimbogo to value education as a right.
“Everyone has a right to education and acquiring more knowledge. This is why the government cares to erect schools even in remote areas like here such that every boy and girl can go to school,” Manzi explained.
Akagera Primary School was launched in 2013 with a nursery block when the farmland was scarcely dotted with new settlements.
Annette Nyamwiza, a student and one of the 650 residents of Gikobwa where the school was built, walked a long distance to G.S Munini before Akagera P/S came.
“I was always late for school because of the long distance. I hope my brothers and sisters here can enjoy the fruits of Akagera Park,” said Nyamwiza.
The Akagera Primary School project was funded under the 10% tourism revenue sharing policy that is aimed at enhancing conservation in the country through reducing human-animal conflict around Rwanda’s national parks.
As an outcome, communities living around protected areas get to understand the significance of protecting biodiversity in their daily lives as Belise Kariza, the Chief Tourism Officer at RDB put it.
“Only with constant developments such as this, as well as increased community dialogue in the region shall we be able to continue fostering conservation efforts in the country while in return improving the livelihoods of our people,” Kariza said.
The launch is part of Kwita Izina activities ahead of the naming ceremony scheduled on September 1, this year.
The newly launched classrooms, lavatories and furniture projects in Akagera Primary School cost more than Rwf16 million.
RDB in partnership with key stakeholders plans to continue developing the school into a complete and fully operational institution that offers students 12 years in basic education.
Rwanda’s approach in enhancing conservation through community involvement has been commended regionally, driving an exemplary course within the tourism and conservation industry through platforms such as Kwita Izina and the activities around it.