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Eastern Africa Medium Grant

Enhancing the role of local communities in the protection of Rugezi Marsh and its iconic Grey Crowned Cranes

Terrestrial protected area Key biodiversity area
Management Effectiveness
Local communities Women
Enforcement Threatened Species Ecosystem/habitat restoration
332,037.64 EUR Rwanda, Eastern Africa August 27, 2020 - June 26, 2023

Protected and conserved area(s) concerned

Rugezi Burera Ruhondo Ramsar Site, Wetland of International Importance; 109095

Diagnostic tool used

R-METT (Ramsar Site Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool)

The BIOPAMA AC objective(s) addressed

  • Enhance the management and governance of priority protected areas by addressing existing limitations (strengthening on site infrastructure/equipment for patrolling, poaching control, developing capacity of staff).
  • Enforce the legal framework required to achieve effective biodiversity conservation.
  • Support local communities’ initiatives aiming to enhance the livelihoods of local people whilst effectively contributing to protected areas management.

Priority need addressed

The project will address the following priority needs:
• To enhance the role of local communities in the protection of Rugezi Marsh and its iconic Grey Crowned Cranes, with the ultimate goal of building their sense of ownership so that they can play a greater role in managing the marsh, ensuring its sustainable use , and protecting biodiversity and,
• To improve the protection of Rugezi Marsh and law enforcement so that illegal activities are reduced, and the Grey Crowned Crane population is able to recover.

Project activities

This project will implement a range of activities to address conservation problems, while engaging and involving community members in the management and protection of the Marsh RWCA will recruit and train additional Community Rangers at Rugezi Marsh to carry out patrols, report illegal activities, educate community members and monitor populations of Grey Crowned Cranes and breeding activities. Community campaigns and other educational events will be organised to raise awareness among community members about key conservation messages The team of Marsh Rangers also increase awareness by educating community members during their patrols The project will involve community members in conservation actions including the restoration of two islands within the Marsh planting 6 000 indigenous trees There will be opportunities for paid work for community members to plant the trees RWCA believes in the idea of ‘growing trees’ rather than just ‘planting trees’ so communities will also be involved in follow up activities Additional activities will work to strengthen law enforcement through workshops with local leaders, joint patrol exercises with stakeholders, organising meetings of the Inter Agency Committee for Illegal Wildlife Trafficking and a workshop for police and other agencies introducing the new wildlife law in Rwanda.

The change the project implementation will bring for the protected area(s)

Rugezi Marsh is a Ramsar protected site of international importance and this project will bring about a number of key changes to improve its management and protection. Engaging and involving communities in the management of the Marsh will increase its protection in a sustainable way. As RWCA strengthens its team of Community Marsh Rangers, this will reduce the number of illegal activities t hat take place around the Marsh. Education is key to engaging communities and changing attitudes towards conservation issues. As the project raises awareness, communities will show increased knowledge of conservation issues which will increase their collaboration and involvement in the management of the Marsh. Additionally, increased protection will come from the strengthening of law enforcement efforts which will also reduce the risk of illegal trade of Grey Crowned Cranes. Information gathered about Rugezi Marsh will be shared with international stakeholders and databases which will help to improve and develop management plans. Overall, as a result of the holistic approach that targets the problem from many angles, the result will be an increase in biodiversity and an increase in the population of Grey Crowned Cranes at Rugezi Marsh which will be a good indicator of the health of the ecosystem.

Download the project infofiche.

Implementing organisations

Save the Rhino Trust Namibia

Photo credits: RWCA

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