Cultural Tourism uplifting the local economy
07-09-2021
Local experiences are an upcoming trend when it comes to traveling. Local customs and traditions become more important to travelers. They want to immerse themselves in the country’s culture. More people are leaving all-inclusive resorts and are shifting towards real experiences with locals. It is interesting for these people to go off the beaten path and focus on CBT activities. Travelers nowadays want to feel and understand the destination. It has changed people’s perspectives on how they travel around. They do not just want to visit tourist spots anymore. ‘Off the beaten path and recommendations from locals’ were in the top five when it comes to value and exploration. These two aspects are highly considered when people are planning a trip. It also illustrated that ‘museums, historical sites, arts, and culture’ are one of the top five inspirations for travelers.
Red Rocks Community Conservation Research Centre-Bridging Adventure, People and Nature!
22-03-2021
River Mukungwa Adventures- The source of River Mukungwa located in the Northern Province is where the foot adventures begin near the Volcanoes National Park and a true definition of co-existence showing how the people from the nearby areas and nature live in peace and harmony. The calmly surrounding region provides you with a chance to escape the crowded towns of Rwanda and get to experience the beautiful views of the lake all through to the amazing backdrop scenery of the Virunga Volcanoes. Soothe the mind with blistering sounds of the lake and the melodious sounds of the birds as you choose from a wide range of engaging activities we offer while you are here. The walk is not so physically demanding but rather an easy walk alongside the terrain of the lake. If You are looking for an exquisite way to enjoy the breathtaking views of the lake complemented by the amazing backdrop scenery of the Virunga Volcanoes and the open blue skies or perhaps for photographers looking for a natural scenario then you will be mesmerized by the beauty of the area as you get some of the best shots, or even an opportunity to watch some of the many bird species found in the region from Kingfishers, cormorants, pelicans, white egret just to mention a few. The trail gives you a superb way of meeting with the local people while they go on about their daily everyday life chores- the area also offers an abundant way of joining local fishermen for an all hands-on fishing expedition using locally made rods and if you are lucky enough you will catch your next meal. The walking safari also offers several on-road stops over’s for resting or simply a moment to eat your packed snacks. Studies on the water birds, local trees, soil, and vegetation will be carried out from this center to help us and the community better understand how to mitigate climate and environmental change. And if you are looking for ways in which you help us ensure that we continue with our conservation efforts.
Red Rocks Biodegradable straws
15-03-2021
As the world is increasingly aware of the disadvantages of the plastic crisis, we declared to say no to using plastics straw, it is in this regard that we initiated the idea of planting the Lepironia Articulata wild grass to combat the issue, we have come up with new, more sustainable materials to make straws from the wild grass. To make both the fresh grass straws and the dried grass straws, the grass is harvested, washed, and cut into straw-sized tubes. Then, an iron rod is used to clean the inner part of the straws, followed by one last washing. While paper straws have seen a surge in popularity lately, many have criticized them for their lack of durability – in terms of them getting soggy. Metal straws have been popular too, they are reusable and have the ease of being washable. We found a zero-waste alternative to growing sustainable plastic straws. The straws are made from grey sedge grass of the species Lepironia Articulata. We have the intention of protecting the environment by reducing the use of plastic straws. To make both types of straws, the grass is harvested, washed, and cut into straw-sized tubes – lengths measuring 20 centimeters (about 8 inches). We plan in the future to sell the biodegradable straws, thus supporting the women and youth populations around our area.
RED ROCKS APES CONSERVATION ARTISTS
01-03-2021
In Kinigi , near the volcanoes national park and in Kigali, we established art galleries as a place for promoting the cultural heritage of Rwanda and disseminate information about the conservation of the great apes found within the great lakes region. The project is aimed at encouraging the local community to tell and sell the Rwandan story through art and crafts, tapping into, training and nurturing artistic talent and proper mastery of craft skills to make quality materials that can compete with and sell our culture internationally and create awareness of protecting the habitat and the rare mountain gorillas, chimps, Monkey and other species. Apart from arts and crafts, our centers also encourage performing arts like music dance, and drama which are enjoyed by visitors from all over the world that come to this center. So as a cultural center. Our project is creating alternative avenues for the local communities to earn income thereby diverting the undue pressure that had previously been put on the natural resources through illegal activities like poaching and deforestation of the national park, and also preserving our cultural heritage for future generations through art. At our center, we house conservation-themed artworks, cultural objects (material culture), and numerous handicraft items made by local women groups and youths in the Virunga massif region and even beyond. We use art projects as a way to help our local children develop their arts and crafts skills, which provide a unique, fun opportunity to learn and improve their creativity. When creating an arts and crafts piece, children are able to develop their skills and carry over into a multitude of other activities which will be especially important in giving the child a head start in school after the long holidays experienced due the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most important benefits that arts and crafts give, is the chance to be creative. This makes the child see that their imagination has no limits
RED ROCKS SPORTS FOR CONSERVATION PROGRAM
25-02-2021
Red Rocks Initiatives for Sustainable Development brings together the community in support of its children through conservation and health education programs. Our dedicated team of Conservation Heritage members provides education to these children and their families to attain sustainable knowledge, practice, and enhance their health and communities through artistic and experiential projects. Our main focus is conservation and health education programs in schools from communities adjacent to the Volcanoes National Park, home to the endangered mountain gorillas. This initiative was established not only to provide opportunities for future generations (children) who want to practice and play tennis, basketball, table tennis, and chess but also to encourage healthy living habits and unite communities in safeguarding Rwanda’s National Parks and wildlife. Children learn etiquette on and off the court, practice teamwork and proper sportsmanship, gaining strength, and being honest. They also understand how to win and lose! Competition becomes part of their life, it makes them improve and they try harder next time. We expanded our conservation education program to other places in our centers, that is in Northern, Western, and Eastern provinces where we established community centers and promoting health through sports, and create awareness of the advantages of protecting our environment. Our sports for conservation have made remarkable impacts on community members and the children providing an important role in community conservation and wellness.
Red Rocks taking care of baby steps through provision of early childhood education
18-02-2021
The early years of life are critical for a child’s growth and development. Kids who are well nurtured, instructed and cared for during their earliest years in a family and social environment are more likely to grow physically and mentally healthy, develop language, thinking, social and emotional skills and achieve their full potential when they become adults. The above statement is the premise behind establishment of Red Rocks Kindergarten in Nyakinama village, Musanze district, where 150 group of children between the age of three and five years are now enrolled to receive early childhood education. Most of the children come from vulnerable families, they provided holistic education and we initiated this program to provide the best care for these young kids from poor rural families who otherwise would not have had access to early intervention in education at this young age due to their family backgrounds. The establishment of the kindergarten is part of Red Rocks Initiatives for Sustainable Development’s efforts to integrate tourism, conservation and community development around the Volcanoes National Parks, adding that some of their parents also have been actively involved in income-generating activities like making of traditional handcrafts they sell to tourists to uplift their living standards. We realized that apart from helping their parents to market their skills and products, and initiating programs to help them support their families, their children also needed an early good start in life and this is how the idea of kindergarten was born. With the support of donors and well-wishers, we also purchase them the scholastic materials they need so that they can have the best education possible at their early age. We teach the children positive values and Rwandan culture so that they can be agents to push forward the country’s rich cultural heritage, adding that we also involve them in bible studies to instill discipline in them at early age.
COMMUNITY BASED TOURISM
04-02-2021
Red Rocks initiatives for sustainable development have fulfilled the dream of ensuring communities are the direct beneficiaries of all our actions. All the activities go under the name of Eco-tour have been designed to work on local sustainable development through tourism and the collaboration of external partners. The Igihoho seed bag is one of these. This project idea came with Greg from Spain in 2016, and is implementing the governmental restriction on use and manufacturing of single-use plastic items, which were banned in 2008 and finally became law in 2019. For a long time already, these bags have represented a new norm for the region’s communities. They now regularly recycle the fibre of the abundant banana trees, and even before plastic was conclusively banned by law, they were experiencing the benefits and had introduced ecological alternatives for all their tree-planting activities. All the activities linked directly to the land, like local food preparation, farming with local families and beekeeping, and the botanical tours which can be taken in the Kinigi centre, are working in two directions: generating alternative income as well as educating the locals on the eco-friendly alternatives available, often from the same products that were considered as waste. Recycling, upcycling and other circular economy concepts are available to be explored and applied. In Red Rocks currently, the workshops on the use of banana eco-paper production, the Igihoho eco-friendly seed bag and even the banana beer preparation are excellent opportunities to maintain environmental sustainable activities while providing extra income for the people directly involved and, at the same time, bringing benefits to the local environment and to the community as a whole.
COMMUNITY BASED TOURISM
04-02-2021
Red Rocks initiatives for sustainable development have fulfilled the dream of ensuring communities are the direct beneficiaries of all our actions. All the activities go under the name of Eco-tour have been designed to work on local sustainable development through tourism and the collaboration of external partners. The Igihoho seed bag is one of these. This project idea came with Greg from Spain in 2016, and is implementing the governmental restriction on use and manufacturing of single-use plastic items, which were banned in 2008 and finally became law in 2019. For a long time already, these bags have represented a new norm for the region’s communities. They now regularly recycle the fibre of the abundant banana trees, and even before plastic was conclusively banned by law, they were experiencing the benefits and had introduced ecological alternatives for all their tree-planting activities. All the activities linked directly to the land, like local food preparation, farming with local families and beekeeping, and the botanical tours which can be taken in the Kinigi centre, are working in two directions: generating alternative income as well as educating the locals on the eco-friendly alternatives available, often from the same products that were considered as waste. Recycling, upcycling and other circular economy concepts are available to be explored and applied. In Red Rocks currently, the workshops on the use of banana eco-paper production, the Igihoho eco-friendly seed bag and even the banana beer preparation are excellent opportunities to maintain environmental sustainable activities while providing extra income for the people directly involved and, at the same time, bringing benefits to the local environment and to the community as a whole.
CONSERVATION AND COMMUNITY BASED TOURISM ACTIVITIES
21-01-2021
We at Red Rocks Rwanda fulfilled our dream of starting the process that puts communities at its center, and that ensures they are the direct beneficiaries of all its actions. All our activities that go under the name of Eco-tour have been designed to work on local sustainable development through tourism and the collaboration of external partners. The Igihoho seed bag is one of these. This project idea came after the government restricted the use and manufacturing of single-use plastic items, which were banned in 2008 and finally became law in 2019. For a long time already, these bags have represented a new norm for the region’s communities. They now regularly recycle the fiber of the abundant banana trees, and even before plastic was conclusively banned by law, they were experiencing the benefits and the locals had introduced ecological alternatives for all their tree-planting activities. All the activities linked directly to the land, like local food preparation, farming with local families and beekeeping, and the botanical tours, are working in two directions: generating alternative income as well as educating the locals on the eco-friendly alternatives available, often from the same products that were considered as waste. Recycling, upcycling, and other circular economy concepts are available to be explored and applied. At our premises the workshops on the use of banana eco-paper papers, the Igihoho eco-friendly seed bag, and even the banana beer preparation are excellent opportunities to maintain environmental sustainable activities while providing extra income for the people directly involved and, at the same time, bringing benefits to the local environment and to the community as a whole.
MUSANZE THE ECO TOURISM DESTINATION OF RWANDA
18-01-2021
Musanze district is the hub of Rwanda’s tourism industry and a source of many adventures, also known as the food basket of Rwanda, due to the fact that it’s the only area in Rwanda which receives high rainfall and got volcanic soils which are good for food growing. It has a long list of adventure activities on offer. However, when the spotlight is put on an adventure, most people will immediately think of the mountain gorillas. This would be right since the primates have positioned themselves as the icon of Rwanda’s tourist attraction. But there are other must-see attractions in Musanze, such as the Musanze Caves, as well as other animals that reside in the Volcanoes National Park. There is also the historic Buhanga Eco-Park, which was a sacred forest where Rwandan kings performed initiation ceremonies. Whenever you get to visit this city, do miss out on some different tourism attractions, that are around the city, take your time to visit Diana Fossey Museum, continue visiting Red Rocks Arts Center in Kinigi, that is focusing on art for conservation, Continue your trip with the visit to Inshuti Art center. If time permits, get the local guide from Red rocks cultural center, who will give you a full tour of Musanze, that includes the visit to the cultural center and during your city tour, take time to check on one of the famous Mirror on the Rock behind Amahoro Tours office, that has also a very nice view of the city of Musanze, take some good photos of the view and the Mirror that Reflects, life in the Rwandan community, from the past to the present. The tour will take you up to Ruhondo Lake and enjoy fishing with the locals and get to taste some if you can.
RED ROCKS COMMUNITY CONSERVATION CENTERS IN RWANDA
18-01-2021
Red Rocks community conservation centers within Rwanda, the center are based in Kinigi, Kigali, Kayonza, Kabaya, and Bulera, we work with the local community to improve their livelihoods using tourism as a tool for sustainable development for both the community and the biodiversity areas through research and projects that implement grassroots conservation of wildlife. KINIGI COMMUNITY CONSERVATION CENTER (ARTS FOR CONSERVATION) Since 2018, after the establishment of Red Rocks Arts Gallery in Kinigi, near the volcanoes national park, we have been the sole visual Arts gallery, promoting painting workshops in the Kinigi village to empower the young talented artisans to get involved in the efforts of conserving the endangered Mountain gorillas through arts and crafts. KAYONZA COMMUNITY CONSERVATION CENTER (ECO-FARMING) Located at Kayonza District, Rwinkwavu Sector, some 70 kilometers from Kigali city, Eastern province - we initiated the idea of commercializing the emerging eco-farmers who lack the resources and expertise to participate in the mainstream economy and to help them adapt to climate change. KABAYA COMMUNITY CONSERVATION CENTER (CULTURAL & HERITAGE PRESERVATION) Kabaya center is located in the western province, near the Gishwati forest national park. We involve the local community to focus on protecting and caring for tangible cultural heritage items, including artworks, architecture, archaeology, and ancient collections. BULERA COMMUNITY CONSERVATION CENTER (FARM TOURISM) Bulera community center is located just at the foothills of Muhabura mountain of the extinct volcanoes of the Virunga massif, 30 kilometers from Musanze town, on the way to the border of Rwanda and Uganda – Cyanika. KIGALI COMMUNITY CONSERVATION CENTER (ARTS & CRAFTS GALLERY) Great Vision Needs Great Partners, Red rocks initiative for sustainable development(RRISD) partnered with Rwanda Ex-combatants and other people with disabilities organization (RECOPDO) and Inshuti Arts
More than Gorillas
07-01-2021
Red Rocks Initiatives for Sustainable Development has always known that there is more to in Rwanda than the gorillas it is famous for, and we wanted to create more reasons for tourists to visit this green land. We involve community engagement as the core of the tourism offer; we discovered interconnectedness and wants to use tourism as a tool for local development. There is indeed more than just gorillas in Rwanda. There is a variety of bountiful natural environments. On the thousand hills for which the country is famous, agriculture flourishes. Tea and coffee plantations follow bananas, avocados, oranges and other fruit trees, and, of course, plenty of maize, rice, cassava and other crops. Five national parks cover a relatively small area, incorporating volcanic mountains in the north, an inland sea – Lake Kivu – trekking trails and waterfalls in the west, the montane rainforest of the Nyungwe Forest National Park, with the chimpanzee and the blue monkey, in the southern province, and savannah woodland in the eastern province. But again, there is more than that. There is also art, and many local artists and artisans. The women use grass to weave colourful baskets and clay and water to mould rounded vases. They also set the rhythm of many celebrations in Rwanda. Umutima w’urugo’ –‘the heart of the house is a woman’. Therefore, it is usually our women usually welcome the visitors with powerful drumming sessions and take the backbone of any cultural performance. There are women and there is youth, as well as ancient knowledge, and many skills that are ever-improving so we linking all the dots through tourism. RWANDAN COMMUNITY-LED INITIATIVES : Red Rocks Rwanda (RRR), the social enterprise established in 2010 that offers tours led by well-trained locals, gave birth in 2017 to its sister organization, Red Rock Initiative (RRI). This local NGO focuses on the sustainable development of communities through a variety of programmes. RRI’s mission is to ‘improve community
digital “igitaramo”
28-12-2020
You are invited to an open digital “igitaramo” – which is the Rwandan word for an occasion when people of diverse cultures come together to share their stories. A concept fitting perfect into the idea of OUR FUTURE. The aim with OUR FUTURE is to open up for conversations between communities and destinations around the globe. To learn from each other, to share experiences and to reflect on identified dilemmas, challenges and opportunities. In the Rwandan spirit of igitaramo, the event will be broadcast worldwide from the Red Rocks Intercultural Center. This will be the time for Rwanda to showcase local and regional assets and good examples from across the country of sustainable community based tourism, promoting conservation and community development projects. Rwandans will have the chance to share snapshots of their vast cultural richness as well as openly discuss their most pressing concerns with a tuned-in, progressive digitally hosted group of "outsider" panelists from around the world. Welcome to the conservation, no matter who you are. We invite you, the people of Rwanda, but also everyone else from around the globe. Tour operators, stakeholders of community-based tourism, universities, conservation and destination development organizations, and others with special interest in this event. This is a locally held event, in an international context. So, SAVE THE DATE and register to the event already now! More information will be posted first week of January together with the announcement of the panel members.
INTEGRATING TOURISM, CONSERVATION AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
10-12-2020
Despite spatial importance of national parks and other protected areas and increasing threats posed to nature by different agents, successful conservation still remains inconsistent and, in some instances, controversial. Tourism is a challenging business. The whole of Africa only attracts 5% of global travellers. And the market is quite competitive. Tour operators have to deal with high overhead costs and low profit margins. Furthermore, this industry is sensitive to shocks caused by disease outbreaks, natural disasters and political instability and the current global pandemic effects of COVID-19. What all these imply is that there’s little money spared for large-scale conservation efforts and/or sustainable community development. And strong competition among tour firms for bookings necessitates promotion of famous animal species like the mountain gorillas in the Virunga massif and the Big 5. The protection of the critically endangered species has also been a major concern for industry players. However, less captivating animals and plants are often overlooked. The hope, for these reasons, placed in ecotourism as part of solution to Africa’s poverty and conservation problems has not been realized. But all is not lost. There’s a flicker of light beginning to shine at the end of a tunnel. At our premises based in Nyakinama Village, 8 kilometers from Musanze town we are taking a lead in integrating tourism, conservation and community development around the Volcanoes National Park. Instead of basing our activities on wistful thinking and profit-driven motifs, we changed the narrative by establishing partnership with other ecotourism ventures, charitable NGOs and volunteers to fulfill our different programs running under Red Rocks Initiatives for Sustainable Development . And these partnerships seem to be working better. Red Rocks ecotourism programs continue to provide environmentally-sensitive employment to the locals, mostly youth and women,
UNWTO AWARD WINNER GREG BAKUNZI CONTINUES TO LEAD SUSTAINABLE RURAL DEVELOPMENT THROUGH TOURISM
02-11-2020
Early last year the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recognized founder of Red Rocks Cultural Centre http://www.redrocksrwanda.com/ and Red Rocks Initiatives for ustainable Development http://development.www.redrocksinitiative.org/ for his role in pioneering sustainable tourism development in Africa. The award was in recognition of what Greg has been doing to promote tourism, conservation and community development in and around the Volcanoes National Park and the community tourism operator is using his vast amount of knowledge and experience to lobby for the inclusiveness of local Rwandans into destination and product management which ensures that the community plays a greater role in developing cultural products that are both directly beneficial while ensuring they sustaining their environment Bakunzi ‘s humble beginning is a journey that spans over 15 years in the travel and hospitality industry, taking him from working as young Rwandan tour organizer and guide for various international tour operators in the volcanoes way back after the conflict and through gradual hard work over the past years, he has gained experience and exceptional understanding of the needs and desires of the communities surrounding the national park and using his wide range of networks he has been able to motivate and engage locals in beneficial cultural based tourism activities that offer visitors memorable experiences while creating sustainable sources of income for the community. Greg continues to serves his community with passion and still manages to do more philanthropic work which has created awareness for the protection of environmental and natural resources, Under the initiative for sustainable development, he has been able to bring under-served communities together into the tourism supply chain and also supports community development projects that help people help themselves through the Igihogo Banana Seed Bags,
Red Rocks conservation and Tourism Education Programs
08-10-2020
Tourism is a tool for peace and dialogue among civilizations. Peace profits everyone and conflicts scare away visitors and retard development. It compels all of us to find the means to create a universal peaceful coexistence. Beyond its economic importance, tourism can play an imperative role in relation to world peace. Tourism is potentially the most important vehicle for promoting personal perception, trust, and goodwill among the peoples of the world. It offers the ideal opportunity for people to discover other different cultures and to develop an admiration of cultural diversity. It enables people to interact and learn from each other. It also allows an exchange of ideas through cultural synthesis. The most important lesson tourism can teach the world is the existence of diverse cultural differences and similarities. It can also be used to make people in different parts of the world to be more aware of each other’s problems and points of view. It promotes tolerance, cultural understanding, and respect. Tourism can as well play an important role in healing the wounds of conflicts. Tourism creates employment opportunities for women, youths, and other underprivileged groups. This, in turn, helps in deterring people from taking part in illegal activities, thereby contributing to harmony. It is for the above and other reasons that there is strong confidence that tourism can have a philosophical impact on creating a conducive environment for peace. Let us implement the idea of education for peace whereby schools, universities and other training institutions, plus the media, join hands with the tourism industry to initiate awareness of tourism through Peace Programs.
How Red Rocks Initiatives link tourism, conservation and community Development in Rwanda
29-09-2020
Red Rocks Initiatives believes that Surplus income from ecotourism allows workers or their family members to start up small businesses or to pass on the money to other community members by buying local goods and paying for child care and other services. Having transformed from a social enterprise to a non-governmental organization operating mostly around the Volcanoes National Park, Red Rocks Initiatives basically target different fields including conservation, responsible tourism and community development as key pillars to ensure the local community gains, and have a say, in tourism activities that would eventually uplift their living standards while they actively take part in conservation efforts. For instance, the IGIHOHO Support Cooperative program promotes sustainable forest management, which balances social, environmental and economic concerns to meet today’s requirements, while guaranteeing our forests for future generations. Early last year, as part of Red Rocks Initiatives to promote forestation around the protected areas, we, under Igohoho involved a group of local women cooperatives to plant 20,000 trees using seedling they grew from biodegradable banana stem bags. We also made mutual partnership with Soldiers for wildlife, based in Zambia to find ways through which we can inclusively work together to harness Tourism, Conservation and Sustainable Community Development in Africa. Red Rocks Initiatives also partnered with local visual artists, where we opened an art gallery in Kinigi, the hub of tourism industry in Musanze, and Rwanda in general to promote conservation and tourism through art classes while the artists also develop art works that promote conservation and environmental protection for future survival of endangered animal and plant species.
RED ROCKS ARTS FOR CONSERVATION PROGRAM
28-10-2019
Art has been used to tell conservation stories that have captivated the world and make people act. Artists have painted different images that speak for animals and plants that cannot speak for themselves. Red Rocks Initiatives founded the Red Rocks Art Gallery in Kinigi where it engages the local community in tourism, conservation and sustainable development in and around Volcanoes National Park. The Arts for Conservation initiative is a partnership between Red Rocks Cultural Centre and local artisans at the Kinigi Community, we opened doors to a cooperative of 12 members who produce arts and handcrafts. The gallery targets education, art, research, and community development programs. Arts for Conservation activities include painting and learning more about painting. Tourists visiting our art gallery may participate in painting with local artists, and also learn painting techniques from them. Visitors are welcome to take their paintings home as a souvenir. The community and their families benefit directly from this project since many of our artists are community members. Since the art exhibits emphasize conservation, the local community now understands the essence of protecting the park.
RED ROCKS COMMUNITY CONSERVATION CENTER
25-09-2019
Red Rocks community conservation center works with community livelihoods in biodiversity areas through research and projects that implement grassroot conservation of wildlife. We build community networks for conservation by the established summer institute. The community conservation center is based on the vision to create a sustainable business model in conservation work by creating eco-tourism schemes that focus on conservation based tourism. RESEARCH CENTER The research center is geared towards continued work that ensures we build sustainable business models for our environment and communities, we work to find sustainable solutions for the co-existence of our wildlife species alongside community people by improving the understanding of wildlife ecology, status and conservation requirements. Our activities involve developing practical solutions that mitigate wildlife-human conflict, environmental damage and climate change. SUMMER INSTITUTE The center’s summer Institute offers short-term opportunities to work on conservation and research projects through direct exposure to diverse wildlife plus also engaging students in the study and discussion of principles and best practices for sustainable conservation with hands-on experience. WILDLIFE PROTECTION AND CONSERVATION Our wildlife protection and conservation work comprises projects that are committed to the protection of the volcanoes endangered wildlife through conservation awareness and community engagement. We collaborate with communities to address a multitude of issues that impact people and wildlife
Women Empowerment through Arts & Crafts
19-09-2019
Red Rocks initiatives for sustainable Development improvised ways to empower women so that they can become their own agents of positive change. Community arts and crafts projects made a positive contribution toward empowering Women to improve their wellbeing, enhance the sense of self and self and economical gains.
Red Rocks Cultural Festival
20-08-2019
Since its inception, a few years back, the cultural tourism week has brought about positive gains to communities through its focus on bringing Tourism, Conservation and community for a sustainable development. The event brings community, conservation and tourism stakeholders together for sustainable development around the Volcanoes National Park. Through the cultural tourism week communities have a chance to exchange ideas and learn from one another how they can use their talents, culture, and other local tools for development through effective sustainable planning, maximizing social and economic benefits to locals, and reducing tourism’s negative impact to cultural and environmental heritages? During the event local community members will be happy to share their success stories concerning harnessing tourism as a means of socio-economic and sustainable development. Apart from celebrating viable conservation efforts that the local community has undertaken, attendants will also have the chance to meet different tourism and conservation players from a broad spectrum in the industry who will provide with significant details about the history of ecotourism around the Virunga massif, and the greater need to promote awareness of ecotourism concepts and approaches the government and private institutions have undertaken to encourage growth of ecotourism. Rwanda is a small country that prides itself in its rich and diversified cultural heritage. Passed from generation to generation, they include customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values among others, and often expressed as either tangible or intangible cultural heritage. Our community members will exhibit hands-on experience of how Red Rocks is keeping our cultural heritage alive. There will be a show of how local community benefits from tourism activities together with the ways we can preserve our pristine culture for the benefit of future generation. Visitors will participate in different cultu
RED ROCKS POTTERY WORKSHOP
08-08-2019
Pottery is more than an activity in Rwanda, but it is a way of expressing our cultural values and telling our story through imagination, creativity and skill. The beauty of the end product shows who we are. Telling our story and living the story are two different things. This is why on 21st of July 2019, we organized a pottery workshop at the Red Rocks Campsite and welcomed participants from all walks life to experience the story of Rwanda people of the Northern Province of Musanze through pottery.Working side by side with the community, our visitors were provided with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the traditional Rwandese methods of ceramic production. As a sustainable tourism organization, we seek to create transformation from our travel experiences and provide deeper connections between cultures. Our visitors had to get their hands dirty. They had to form that bond and learn from the people by practically participating in the local activities. This is what makes our programs unique. All the pieces made during the workshop were produced by our visitors and artisans from the community. The workshop had some benefits for both the community and visiting tourists; it was a perfect way to unwind after a stressful day at work. Those who attended met new people, and created new bonds while working in a creative and tranquil environment.
Red Rocks Education Initiatives for Sustainable Development
22-07-2019
The above statement is the premise behind establishment of Red Rocks Kindergarten in Nyakinama village, Musanze district, where 150 children between the age of three and five years now enrolled to receive early childhood education. Most of the children come from vulnerable families in this tourism rich district. The children are provided holistic education and we initiated this program to provide the best care for these young kids from poor rural families who otherwise would not have had access to early intervention in education at this young age due to their family backgrounds. The early years of life are critical for a child’s growth and development. Kids who are well nurtured, instructed and cared for during their earliest years in a family and social environment are more likely to grow physically and mentally healthy, develop language, thinking, social and emotional skills and achieve their full potential when they become adults. The establishment of the kindergarten is part of Red Rocks Initiatives for Sustainable Development’s efforts to integrate tourism, conservation and community development around the Volcanoes National Parks, their parents have been actively involved in income generating activities like making of traditional handcrafts they sell to tourists to uplift their living standards. We realized that apart from helping their parents to market their skills and products, their children also needed an early good start in life and this is how the idea of the kindergarten was born. With support of donors and well-wishers, we also purchase them scholastic materials they need so that they can have the best education possible at their early age. We teach the children positive values and Rwandan culture so that they can be agents to push forward the country’s rich cultural heritage and also involve them in bible studies to instill discipline in them at early age. Our government has made positive strides in provision of education, but still there are some
RED ROCKS VOLUNTEERISM PROJECTS
17-06-2019
Our volunteerism projects allow enjoying the sights and sounds of Rwanda while at the same time making a difference to the host community. This is an excellent way to get the most out of your holiday in Rwanda, and spend some time with us making a difference to the hosts and the environment. There are so many remarkable, charitable projects that Red Rocks initiatives are involved in, both conservation and community led which our clients can visit and be a part of – from clinics, to schools, to hospitals, to self-improvement, to conservation projects. When you travel and give your skills and your time it makes us feel better, not only about ourselves, but also about the potential difference that you are making in the world. It makes us feel part of something bigger than just us … alive. Become a part of ongoing efforts to support sustainable development while exploring Rwanda and its culture. BRIEF INTRODUCTION ABOUT WHAT WE DO Red rocks initiatives believes that benefits of the local people need to, come from what they own or what has been initiated benefit in order to value them. We provides a multitude of benefits to surrounding communities including establishing mechanisms where local people can engage with the tourist and ensure their interests are considered in management decisions. Local environmental education programmes are established to promote understanding among the local population of the need to conserve natural resources and use them sustain-ably. Where possible, we also engage with development organizations to provide social welfare services around our initiatives area particularly in the fields of education and health.
CULTURAL TOURISM WEEK 2019
23-05-2019
The annual Cultural Tourism Week at Red Rocks in Musanze is back and in its seventh year running, the Cultural Tourism week is a forum through which Rwandans reflect on the gains made in conservation efforts and also showcase and partake in the country’s rich cultural heritage. The event typically attracts conservationists, government and local leaders, community members, tourism industry players and policy makers, as well civil society organizations, creating abundant networking opportunities. The activities kick off on 31st August and close with the Cultural tourism week after party on the evening 06th september 2019 , there will be a local display of events and products that reflect the country’s art of conservation for cultural heritage and this will run alongside discussion dialogue and conversations on wild life and nature protection.
Backpackers Haven
25-03-2019
Red Rocks in Musanze, Rwanda. There are very few places that will make you feel right at home, inspire you to visit more and to do more for planet and for people. This is especially if you are sustainable travel junkie like I am or what I like to call a “greenpacker”. Red Rocks in Musanze is one of such places. It’s a place that made me view Rwanda differently, as more than a gorilla tracking destination. It’s also a place where the loyalty of my taste buds was tested. Red Rocks Inter Cultural Exchange Center, is a unique budget accommodation facility and camping site in Musanze, Rwanda that also offers exciting responsible travel experiences that contribute to local community development and conservation, through their Red Rocks Initiative. In other words, its a “greenpackers” haven that does more than offer budget accommodation, but involves you in the life of the people, to appreciate their culture and contribute to their development in one of the most responsible and immersive travel experiences. It’s also a place to participate in conservation activities, learn art, appreciate camping, hike and meet new people while sharing stories at a bonfire.
Red Rocks Initiatives
25-03-2019
Red rocks initiatives visit. Why visiting Red rocks initiative, the more you get to learn from the community initiatives, that connects community, conservation and tourism the better you will admire our nature and cultural, visiting Red rocks initiative, will always be a memorable experience, and leaves you with an education that comes straight away from the community .Our initiatives target the local community towards sustainable economic development. We believe responsible tourism has the power to uplift the living standards of the vulnerable local Community. Get to know how our initiatives recognize that we all have a part to play when we influence on tourism as a means of sustainable community development aspect by creating a physical place that will unite communities of artist, musicians, and locals in one place in which they can all get involved in building a stronger society by bringing in their different competencies. visit the link www.redrocksinitiative.org
Red Rocks Success Stories
17-09-2018
Red Rocks Rwanda is a social enterprise that was established in 2013 in Nyakinama village, Musanze district. Our main mission is to harness tourism, conservation, intercultural exchange and community development through working together with local communities living around the Volcanoes National Park, which is among the homes to the last surviving mountain gorillas and other precious but endangered animal and plant species. We have a compelling desire to empower socially and economically the people living around the park so that they can see the benefits of conserving the environment and natural resources for the benefit of everyone and posterity. It is with this in mind that we created a physical space where talented artists, craftsmen and women, musicians, entrepreneurs, farmers and those supporting them, like cultural and social institutions, government agencies, corporate organizations, NGOs, private funders, volunteers, educational institutions and researchers among others can have a place they can get deeply involved to build a stronger society through bringing in their own local community development agenda, and to use tourism as a vital tool for community development. We envisage Red Rocks Rwanda to be a place where local talents can be tapped and promoted, and the youth can have enough training to secure their future through using their respective talents. We also envision that tourists, entrepreneurs, financers and corporate organization can come together so that we may ultimately succeed in creating positive impact in our community through supporting various community programs developments we have initiated. Visiting Red Rocks Initiatives is more than adventure. This is an experience and education of Rwanda’s rich cultural heritage, signifying how the local community can develop, and how the people can become even more responsible in protecting our natural environment and heritage.
Red Rocks supporting conservation and community development
07-09-2018
Red Rocks Rwanda is a social enterprise that was established in 2013 in Nyakinama village, Musanze district. Our main mission is to harness tourism, conservation, intercultural exchange and community development through working together with local communities living around the Volcanoes National Park, which is among the homes to the last surviving mountain gorillas and other precious but endangered animal and plant species. We have a compelling desire to empower socially and economically the people living around the park so that they can see the benefits of conserving the environment and natural resources for the benefit of everyone and posterity. It is with this in mind that we created a physical space where talented artists, craftsmen and women, musicians, entrepreneurs, farmers and those supporting them, like cultural and social institutions, government agencies, corporate organizations, NGOs, private funders, volunteers, educational institutions and researchers among others can have a place they can get deeply involved to build a stronger society through bringing in their own local community development agenda, and to use tourism as a vital tool for community development. We envisage Red Rocks Rwanda to be a place where local talents can be tapped and promoted, and the youth can have enough training to secure their future through using their respective talents. We also envision that tourists, entrepreneurs, financers and corporate organization can come together so that we may ultimately succeed in creating positive impact in our community through supporting various community programs developments we have initiated. Visiting Red Rocks Initiatives is more than adventure. This is an experience and education of Rwanda’s rich cultural heritage, signifying how the local community can develop, and how the people can become even more responsible in protecting our natural environment and heritage.
How botanical gardens help to conserve the environment around Volcanoes National Parks
21-08-2018
To conserve and educate people on the value of plants, Red Rocks Cultural Centre started a botanical garden around the Volcanoes National Parks in 2016. The main aim of the gardens was to make environmental sustainability a priority and to protect endangered species of plants. So far, Red Rocks botanical gardens have played a great role not only as resource for the study and cultivation of plants with healing properties but also as key component for environmental conservation. The botanical gardens are also starting to play a role in the mitigation of the effects of climate change, and could be vital to the survival of the planet as they are perfectly placed to help ecosystems to adapt to new climates in the Volcanoes National Park and the Virunga massif. We have hosted many researchers and students from various universities and other institutions in Rwanda who are doing botanical studies. They come and we teach them about the scientific names of various plants together with their medicinal value. Red Rocks botanical garden project has become a useful resource for various national and international researchers. Apart from helping in environmental conservation-which was the key objective of establishing the gardens, they have also become a significant component of tourist attraction, saying ‘many tourists visit the gardens to see some species of plants for the first time that can only be found around these areas.
Red Rocks Cultural Tourism Week 2018
20-08-2018
31st August – 04th September Join our exhibition on this date to have a hands-on experience of how Red Rocks is keeping our cultural heritage alive. There will be a show of how local community benefits from tourism activities together with the ways we can preserve our pristine culture for the benefit of future generation. Visitors will participate in different cultural expressions like basket weaving (The AGASEKE), Pottery and the process of making the banana beer (URWAGWA) among others. Conservation & Community Success Stories 05th September The local community will be happy to share their success stories concerning harnessing tourism as a means of socio-economic and sustainable development. Apart from celebrating viable conservation efforts that the local community has undertaken, you will also have the chance to meet different tourism and conservation players from a broad spectrum in the industry who will provide you with salient details about the history of ecotourism around the Virunga massif. Football & Arts for Conservation, plus Crazy Gorilla Night 06th September Our key mission is to promote art for conservation. Consequently, we have scheduled an event on this date where you’re going to be introduced to conservation-themed art exhibits, live painting demos, and you too are going to actively take part in the demos by doing your own painting and taking it with you home as a souvenir. This is an event you cannot afford to miss. Furthermore, our host of activities will include also a football tournament organized with conservation education in mind. Kwita Izina 07th September The Kwita Izina annual event has become a must-attend ceremony. Now in its 14th year, this year’s event promises to sparkle just like it has done before. It has also played a significant role in conservation of the rare mountain gorillas. This year, 23 baby gorillas are to be named. But we have organised a party for you at Red Rocks Rwanda where you will join our local people
Igihoho Support Cooperative helping kick out plastic seed-bags.
17-08-2018
Red Rocks support the local women associations who came together under Igihoho Support Cooperative to seek ways on how to promote environmental conservation but also sustain community development.
Art and tourism painting a new future for women
02-07-2018
I am Swarna Chitrakar, and this is my story…. I belong to the village of Naya that is around 160 kms away from the city of Kolkata, in India. Our village has found a place on the cultural map of India because of its thriving tradition of Pata-chitra, or traditional scroll painting. I went through the hardships of daily life like any other woman of my community. But I wanted to break free from social shackles and taboos, especially those that prevented painting and singing by women. I settled down at Naya with my husband and daughters and started painting Pata-chitra, encouraged by my father Amar Chitrakar and my uncle Dukhushyam Chitrakar. Traditionally this art form was practiced by the menfolk. Men primarily painted and sang while the women helped in making colors from minerals, fruits, flowers, seeds and leaves. Women were not supposed to paint the pata themselves. All this has changed now. Naya was once a poor village, but today it is an active settlement of around 60 families of Patua – the community of scroll painters, many of whom are women. The community is called Patua and all of them have their last name as Chitrakar, meaning painter. I belong to this community of painters. Naya is now a flourishing hub of Patachitra painting and a year round cultural and tourist destination. At one point of time, this art form was dying as electronic media made inroads into the village community. It was tough to sell the paintings and our survival was difficult. A social enterprise www.banglanatak.com started working in our village to revive the tradition with support of the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre in 2005. There were only around 20 painters and hardly anyone knew the songs. Veteran painters like Dukhushyam, Shyamsundar, Rani Chitrakar trained the young people on painting. Dukhushyam taught singing. Audiovisual CDs were published on our painting tradition. The lost art of the use of natural colour was revived. In 2010, www.banglanatak.com organized POT Maya a three day fair in our village. They also set up a resource centre. The resource centre provided us much needed space to practice and showcase our art tradition. The fair and the resource centre created a new tourism culture. Tourists and visitors began to pour in with great interest and I could now have a direct communication and interaction with the collectors. POT Maya held in the second weekend of November celebrated its fourth edition in 2014. Our art has found appreciation among the local people as well as across the country and the globe. More and more artists and mainly women are now involved in Patachitra and there are more than 300 painters in our village. It has opened up a new world of freedom for womenfolk particularly. The women who had restricted mobility, are enjoying a new freedom and are travelling across the country. Patuas have now travelled to countries like France, Germany, the UK, Italy, China, The US, Australia and Japan. Today Patachitra has become a vibrant folk media telling stories not only from epics and mythology but also on new contemporary subjects. We paint on themes like climate change, violence against women, human trafficking or events like 9/11 and tsunami. Collectors and buyers travel all the way to our village to see and buy our paintings. My village Naya has now become a most important tourist destination. The Department of Micro, Small, Medium Enterprise and Textiles is now supporting development of comprehensive infrastructure as our village has emerged as a successful Rural Craft Hub. Today, I feel so happy to see children in the village taking up brush and color on weekend mornings anticipating visitors. I feel proud and happy that I am a part of this renewed culture.