Efforts to improve access to water recognized

The International Gorilla Conservation Programme congratulates Imbere Heza for their recent recognition and award from the Rwandan Ministry of Public Service and Labour.

Imbere Heza, meaning ‘Better Future,’ is a cooperative of women founded in 2008 with a mission of improving both the environment and the livelihoods of its members and their communities. Their activities include construction of water tanks, improved cultivation of potatoes, bamboo planting, and support to artisans.

IGCP has partnered with Imbere Heza on the construction of water tanks, and to date the cooperative has constructed 54 water tanks throughout Gahunga and Rugarama Sectors of Burera District, near Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.

Read more about their work and the issue of water from this blog post written by IGCP Director, Eugene Rutagarama.

On May 1, in commemoration of Labour Day, Imbere Heza was honored by the Mayor of Burera District on behalf of the Ministry. They were applauded as the only women’s cooperative in the country constructing rainwater collection tanks and training others to do the same.

Athanasie Mukabizimungu, chairwoman of Imbere Heza receives the award from the Mayor of Burera District at a cereomony held on May 1, 2011.

Athanasie Mukabizimungu, chairwoman of Imbere Heza receives the award from the Mayor of Burera District at a cereomony held on May 1, 2011.

“We in IGCP are proud to work alongside such strong community leaders and support their efforts. The award is a recognition that conservation of mountain gorillas can contribute to the empowerment and wealth of communities, including those considered as traditionally weak or marginalized,” stated Rutagarama.

IGCP's Benjamin Mugabukomeye adds his appreciation for and recognition of the efforts of Imbere Heza at the ceremony.

IGCP's Benjamin Mugabukomeye adds his appreciation for and recognition of the efforts of Imbere Heza at the ceremony.

By bringing sources of water closer to communities where they live, IGCP aims to reduce the impact on mountain gorilla conservation that comes from water collection in and near mountain gorilla habitat.

IGCP is celebrating 20 years of mountain gorilla conservation, and with your help we can build an additional 20 household rainwater harvesting tanks around Mikeno Sector of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. IGCP staff will be there to help in the construction alongside our Congolese community partners, getting training and guidance from these same incredible women from Imbere Heza.

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