What would you place more value on, a cow or a gorilla?
Chances are your response is ‘gorilla’. But for people living near the gorilla parks, a cow is far more valuable, potentially life-changing. Benjamin Mugabukomeye, IGCP’s Conservation Incentives Officer based in Musanze, Rwanda, sent in photographs from a ceremony yesterday (May 31, 2012) during which 100 cows were given to the poorest of Nyange and Kinigi Sectors near Volcanoes National Park.
The Sabyinyo Community Livelihoods Association (SACOLA) purchased these 100 cows (worth 60,000 USD) using revenue from Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, a luxury lodge owned by SACOLA. The International Gorilla Conservation Programme, along with our coalition member the African Wildlife Foundation, played a role in the initial development of the Lodge, facilitating the community-private partnership between SACOLA (the owners) and Governor’s Camp (the managers), with funding to build the lodge coming from USAID. SACOLA includes every citizen of Nyange and Kinigi Sectors over the age of 18- over 50,000 men and women. To date, SACOLA has earned over 750,000 USD since Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge started welcoming tourists in 2007.
IGCP continues to stay involved to support the further development of the SACOLA association and to help SACOLA make beneficiaries of their community development projects understand the link between the benefits they receive, in this case a cow, and the conservation of Volcanoes National Park and its mountain gorillas.