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Rwanda Collaborative Management Partnership Study Tour

February 20-25, 2023

Kigali and Akagera National Park, Rwanda

Rwanda Collaborative Management Partnership Study Tour

Building off of the guidance provided in the Collaborative Management Partnership Toolkit, the Global Wildlife Program organized a study tour to Rwanda for GWP countries in Africa to share experiences and good practices in Collaborative Management Partnerships (CMPs).

  • CMPs are a type of public-private partnership used in the conservation sector to improve protected area (PA) management and support sustainable development. Rwanda is home to Akagera National Park, which has been successfully managed as a CMP between the Rwanda Development Board and the nongovernmental organization African Parks since 2010.  

    The objective of the study tour was to facilitate cross learning for GWP participating governments in Africa on PA management and enhance understanding of CMPs, and their best practices, challenges, and opportunities.

    Ten GWP countries in Africa joined the CMP study tour to Rwanda. In Kigali, delegates met with the Rwanda Development Board, including the Head of the Tourism and Conservation Department, to understand the country’s strategic approach of engaging the private sector to fulfill national development and conservation objectives. In Akagera National Park, meetings and consultations were held with the Akagera Management Company, a special purpose vehicle formed between Rwanda Development Board and African Parks to manage Akagera National Park.

    Takeaways include:

    • CMPs can be an effective measure toward closing the global funding gap in PA management and biodiversity conservation. In Africa, at least 15 governments have established 40 co-management and delegated CMPs with 13 NGOs, covering 11.5% of Africa’s PA estate. CMPs require political will and commitment from top levels of government, as in the case of Rwanda. Being able to demonstrate to government the economic value of CMPs can help secure buy-in for these public-private partnerships.

    • A key factor behind successful CMPs is strong private partners with adequate funding to invest in the park (ideally five years minimum of financing), technical expertise, sound business plans, and a shared vision. 

    • Rwanda’s tourism revenue share policy, in which 10% of all tourism park revenues is invested in development projects in communities adjacent to PAs and an additional 5% is directed towards human-wildlife conflict compensation, has helped shore up community support for conservation. Participants were very interested in this policy, its impacts, its implementation, and the potential to develop similar benefit sharing schemes in their own countries.

    • Governments have ongoing interest in technical support on CMPs. This helps raise awareness of opportunities and good practices in CMPs and builds a network of officials working on this topic. The GWP will continue to offer technical support, information and data, and opportunities for knowledge exchange on CMPs. 

  • Day 1: February 20, Kigali, Rwanda
    Welcome Dinner

    Welcome remarks:

    • Wendy Li, GWP coordination team

    • Kathleen Fitzgerald, GWP advisor

    • Ariella Kageruka, Head of Tourism and Conservation Department, Rwanda Development Board 


    Day 2: February 21, Kigali (depart for Akagera National Park) 

    Session 1: Overview and Introduction to the Rwandan CMP Experience

    Session Moderator: Kathleen Fitzgerald

    Presentation: Eugene Mutangana, Conservation Management Expert, Rwanda Development Board

    Q&A and discussion

    Travel to Akagera National Park
    Afternoon Game Drive in Akagera

    Day 3: February 22, Akagera National Park

    Session 2: Priorities for CMP Engagement

    Session Moderator: Kathleen Fitzgerald

    Session 3: CMP Toolkit Training

    Presentation: Kathleen Fitzgerald

    Session 4: Deep Dive on Collaborative Management of Akagera National Park

    Session Moderator: Kathleen Fitzgerald

    Speakers from Akagera Management Company (AMC):

    • Ladis Ndahiriwe, Akagera Park Manager/CEO

    • Clementine Uwamahoro, Conservation Technology Manager

    • Drew Bantlin, Conservation Manager

    • Luke Davey, Operations Manager

    • Chloe Flatt, Funding & Reporting Manager

    • Ian Munyankindi, Tourism Manager

    • JP Karanganire, Deputy Manager

    Session 5: Wildlife Reintroduction and Translocation in Akagera

    Session Moderator: Kathleen Fitzgerald

    Speakers from AMC:

    • Ladis Ndahiriwe, Akagera Park Manager/CEO

    • Drew Bantlin, Conservation Manager

    • Clementine Uwamahoro, Conservation Technology Manager

    Afternoon Game Drive in Akagera

    Day 4: February 23, Akagera National Park   

    Morning Game Drive in Akagera
    Session 6: Enabling Conditions for Private Sector Engagement

    Moderator and Presenter: Kathleen Fitzgerald

    Session 7: Community Reflections: Building Sustainable Wildlife-Based Economies

    Moderator and Presenter: Fiston Ishimwe, Community Liaison Manager, AMC

    Meetings and Consultations with Akagera Community Center members

    Afternoon Game Drive in Akagera
    Official Closing Dinner


    Day 5: February 24, Akagera National Park and Kigali

    Session 8: Participant Reflections and Wrap-Up

    Moderator: Kathleen Fitzgerald

    Tour of  Nyandungu Urban Wetland Eco-tourism Park, new CMP in Kigali

    Farewell Dinner