Role of Community Based Conservation in the preservation of threatened species and habitat: “Case of Muhingo Bird Habitat Restoration”

Proposing mitigation and adaptation actions on anthropogenic pressure on the Volcanoes National park.

Photo of Bugingo Emmanuel
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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Emmanuel BUGINGO

Initiative's representative date of birth

01 January 1974

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Rwanda

Headquarters location: city


Where are you making a difference?


Website or social media url(s)

Date Started

24 August 2014

Project Stage

  • Start-up (first few activities have happened)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €10k - €50k

Organization Type

  • Nonprofit/NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

During his tenure as the Country Representative for an international NGO working to save the last remaining mountain gorillas and their habitat, the founder realized that there was a huge gap between stakeholders with in most cases projects beneficiaries didn’t find opportunities to express or defend the local needs because donors always followed their plans. This inspired the founder to create this local NGO as a platform with the aim of providing equal opportunities to all stakeholders. This implies that final projects beneficiaries participate, contribute and influence decisions on priorities.This particular project started when the founder was involved in awareness raising campaigns through environmental education programme.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

In sub-Saharan Africa, the management of buffer zones around protected areas does not often take into serious account the need of resources exploitation by the local population to satisfy their basic needs. This causes regular and constant human-wildlife conflicts. This project is proposing actions that can instead drive local community members in conservation actions through community based initiatives

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Besides having one of the highest rural population densities in Africa estimated at more than 700 people per km2 the park long of 40km or 160km has the shortest buffer zone representing 1km wide strip ( total 17.4km2) along the outer boundary of the national park where it adjoins community areas. The management plan calls for the establishment of the Buffer Zone to soften the current hard edge between the national park and neighboring communities, by mitigating the impacts of the park on human communities, and of these communities on park biodiversity and habitats. This project will bring its contribution in reducing human impacts on VNP but also serving the hub to park species threatened by anthropogenic activities or simply looking for new and wide habitat. As for our approach, It is unique because for this project, Partners For Conservation is working with Groupe Scolaire Ruhehe as a local partner by providing them with necessary means to develop and manage the tree nurseries which, produce seedlings that are distributed to local communities as a mobilization tool. We focus on indigenous trees and plants in a bid to restore the biodiversity and serve as a refuge for species

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

Our approach is unique because it is the only one that puts children and parents in regular interaction discussing biodiversity challenge. It all starts at school where children develop trees to hand later to their parents for planting and management ( although children are also involved in the management). In other words the approach is in house approach.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

Already this initiative is a result of frank and responsible collaboration between Partners For Conservation and Groupe Scolaire Ruhehe. The 3rd direct collaborators are formed by local communities that own the produced trees. At the policy makers, we have Musanze district that owns the school and coordinates community development activities in the district. With the tourism aspect, the initiative will interest of tourism policy makers such as the Rwanda Development Board, and tour operators

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

So far the project has planted 200,000 that covered an estimated space of 1 ha. The project involved 1,060 students from Groupe Scholaire Ruhehe. Trees are still young to estimated economic impact they may have but, what is already known is that the school for instance won the best contributor award in green economy thanks to the tree nurseries we supported. As for plans to measure the progress, it is easy to measure progress of a tree nursery because it is easy to calculate the bedding out, the carrying capacity and the coverable superficies. The initiative targets to produce 2,000,000 in two years dispatched in four season to cover 10 ha. The tree nursery carrying capacity is of 50,000 seedling for each season. We will continue working with the 1,060 students from GS Ruhehe.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

Training: since the key partner is formed by a changing community ( as students come and go), PFC will make sure to keep providing the school with necessary trainings in tree nursery management, tourism destination management and tour guiding ( we expect students to be guiding tourists visiting the place) Policy reform to upgrade Muhingo valley as an eco-park. Lobbying and promotion: PFC will use its platforms to lobby and promote the project to meet local and international conservation and tourism standards Ownership: once the habitat is full restored, PFC will help both GS Ruhehe and the surrounding communities establish a cooperative to manage the project

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

As above said, the setup of this project is designed to promote constant interaction between children and their parents around biodiversity challenges. The children grow trees and deliver them to their parents who plant and own them. This ensures both understand the logic of the initiative.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

. For the short term, Partners For Conservation will keep fundraising for this project mainly for the maintenance of the trees for a period of two years. For the medium which will start with year three of the project, Partners For Conservation plans to use Rubindi spring to develop Muhingo valley into a tourism destination. As part of the process to rehabilitate the birds habitat, we will involve the reintroduction of other species that can attract tourists as well including endemic birds, plants and trees including indigenous. We believe that by this time, the project could start attracting not only tourists and other stakeholders such as researchers and conservation agents. The long term plan involves working with tour operators.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

We believe that working through partnership remains the strongest approach to make a successful impact. We shall make sure this partnership prevails. And we shall make sure that our local partner benefits to regular training and updates. Below is a team that helps and maintain this partnership Below is a list of key technical staff: 1. Emmanuel BUGINGO, Project manager 2. Aline Umubyeyi Hitayezu : Education Officer 3. Jean Claude NSENGIYUMA: Agronomist

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Sally Kweskin

There is no one who understands not only the scientific and ecological implications of this than Mr. Bugingo. A highly respected leader throughout Rwanda and into parts of the DRC, he is a man who can move this initiative ahead and with great success. The proposal, the concept and the work plan is one of the most exciting and game-changing I’ve seen.

Photo of Bugingo Emmanuel

Thank you very much