Conservation must go hand in hand with improving communities’ livelihoods - Vincent Biruta, Minister of Natural Resources, Rwanda

"Conservation of Nature must go hand in hand with improving the livelihoods of communities who are the cornerstone for a healthy environment. It is not only all about protecting the watershed or river banks or protecting the forest, community should see clearly the benefits from sustainable environmental management through supporting their source of livelihoods"

"Conservation of Nature must go hand in hand with improving the livelihoods of communities who are the cornerstone for a healthy environment. It is not only all about protecting the watershed or river banks or protecting the forest, community should see clearly the benefits from sustainable environmental management through supporting their source of livelihoods", said Dr Vincent Biruta, the Ministry of Natural Resources in Rwanda during the celebration of World Environment Day held in Gakenke District in Rwanda.

Every 5th June the world celebrates the World Environment Day (WED). The theme for the year 2017 is "Connecting People to Nature" that implores each and everyone to appreciate the importance of the environment and protect our planet not only for us at present but also for future generations. 

In her remarks during the celebration of WED for 2017, Eng. Coletha Ruhamya, Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority underlined the importance of educating youth in the importance and protection of the environment. She said, "the protection of the environment is for everyone but educating youth is a good strategy for sustainable results as the youth in return educate their fellows as well as their parents."

Eng. Coletha Ruhamya giving awards to different youth from secondary schools who won the competition on the environment

The celebration of WED was marked by the National Environment Week that was marked by many activities related to inciting people to think about and act to protect the environment as an asset that our well-being depends on. Regarding this, the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Network) in collaboration with Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) with financial support from Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) organized a Regional Conservation and Development Dialogue that gathered different stakeholders in the Albertine Rift region to discuss and find better way to develop while integrating environmental sustainability (see the dialogue conclusions here).

ARCOS values and strategically engages local communities in applying best practices for improved livelihoods and environmental sustainability. It is in that regards that ARCOS programme for community, named ARCOS Nature Based Community Enterprises (NBCEs), strives to sustain community development at household, village and community organization level, through supporting their engagement in sound environmental management, while strengthening their nature based enterprises and building networks with other communities to exchange knowledge and experiences. "The health of the environment would be determined by the level of education of people and how local communities are supported to incorporate best and environmental friendly practices in their everyday activities. Under our community programme, we invested much in educating/training local communities; now we started another stage that involves supporting nature based community business through grants and Nature Based Community Fund(NBCF) to sustain and serve as a transformational model, at national and regional levels, in terms of linkage between poverty reduction and environmental protection as well as climate change adaptation," said Mrs Brigitte Kanyamugenge, Community Development Programme Manager at ARCOS.

For more details, read ARCOS NBCEs programme flyer here

One of ARCOS staff (John Ndamage) explaining to the Minister of Natural Resources (RWANDA) the intervention of ARCOS in improving community livelihoods and environmental sustainability.