Wilderness Safaris and CITW Rwanda Provide Ongoing Support to Gishwati Community

Children in the Wilderness and Wilderness Safaris Rwanda’s Conservation Heroes support for the Gishwati communities resumed this month, with another distribution of food and essentials parcels to the most disadvantaged families in the area.

This COVID-19 relief campaign started in Rwanda in April 2020, and continued for four months, initially assisting the five villages surrounding Bisate Lodge. In August, September, October and December 2020, and more recently, on 9 March 2021, the support continued in four villages in the Gishwati area.

In total 30 tonnes of food has been distributed to date, benefiting 1 260 families comprising 5 339 people.

On Monday 8 March the team of volunteers packed and prepared 2 565 kg of maize, 1 575 kg of beans and 315 soap bars, valued at some USD3 000. The distribution to 150 households (679 people) followed on Tuesday morning, 9 March.

The leaders of Rwambeho, Kinihira, Nyarusuku and Ngungura villages provided us with a list of the people in most need of support due to the COVID-19 situation. We organised the event with our partners in the Gishwati area, The Forest of Hope Association (FHA).

Wilderness Safaris, in proud partnership with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and FHA, is dedicated to the restoration and reforestation of Gishwati-Mukura National Park in the west of the country.

Earlier this year we were able to assist Gisunzu Primary School and the surrounding Gishwati community with a special chicken egg-farming project. We strive to support the poverty-stricken families affected by COVID-19 in the fight against malnutrition, and to educate the children on the importance of taking care of animals, and the benefits of doing so. All the families were previously consulted, and agreed to give the chickens a place in their households. After completing their training and education, we organised for all 216 school students at Gisunzu Primary School to receive two chickens each to take home. The eggs that the chickens will produce will be used for the families’ daily meals. Together with the 432 chickens, we also donated medication and food for the chickens to all the families.

Thank you to our generous Chairman’s Foundation and guests of Bisate Lodge and Magashi, whose contributions made these support parcels and the chicken project possible.

Report by Ingrid Baas, Wilderness Safaris Rwanda Operations Manager and CITW Programme Co-ordinator

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