Banda Cultural Village
The Banda community nestles at the bottom of a valley against the edge of Nyungwe National Park, an area with the distinct advantage of hosting the largest habituated Chimp group (Mayebe) for about three months a year due to the abundance of fig trees in the area.
The Cooperative was formed in 2003 and has 55 active members.
The objectives of the Cooperative are two fold: to protect nature especially Nyungwe forest; and enhance the community’s ecotourism activities in Banda village. More specifically, the second objective aims at increasing productivity and income for the community around Nyungwe National Park through development of community-based ecotourism activities.
Cyamudongo Tourism Promotion Cooperative & Kiosk
The newly constructed kiosk for the Cyamudongo Tourism Promotion Cooperative is located in Nkungu sector Rusizi District in the far south-west of the country, close to Cyamudongo forest, the home of one of the most visited groups of chimpanzees in the Park. The Cooperative’s kiosk is strategically located near the Park’s Mwinjiro and Muyange parking lots making it easy for tourists to access the community’s products and activities after tracking chimps.
The cooperative’s objectives include;
– To protect Nyungwe forest especially Cyamudongo part of the park.
– To generate income through cultural tourism and artesian and handicraft.
Their current products/activities include basket weaving and the production of other handicrafts including drum and banana fiber chairs, tables and trays, one of the vibrant. The Cooperative also has a very vibrant cultural dance troupe which visitors can enjoy while having a snack and drink at the new kiosk.
Kitabi Women’s Handicraft Cooperative
The Kitabi Women’s Handicraft Cooperative is also located at the entrance of Nyungwe National Park in Kitabi Sector, about a 3 hour drive from Kigali. The Cooperative is one of several community-based ecotourism initiatives supported by USAID to help transform Nyungwe National Part into a viable ecotourism destination, generating income for local communities living in and around the park.
The Cooperative was established in 2008 and is managed by 55 women members that are involved in the production and sale of Rwanda handicrafts including traditional baskets, place mats, plastic shopping bags, jewelry, wood carvings, sweaters and much more.
The Cooperative also seeks to improve the lives of Kitabi women by generating income through the sales of their handicraft products and by providing refreshments to visiting tourists at their sales point kiosk.
Friends of Nyungwe/Kitabi Cultural Village
The Friends of Nyungwe Cultural village is a new community-based ecotourism product in Kitabi funded by the USAID-Nyungwe Nziza project and the Rwanda Development Board’s revenue sharing scheme.
The objective of this project is to provide members of the local population neighboring the park with alternative sources of income linked to biodiversity conservation, while engaging in activities that attract visitors before and after visiting the Park.
The cultural village includes a campsite for tourists, a restaurant with catering services, agri-tourism with tea tours around the site, and a cultural village with a King’s palace and Rwandan traditional dance performances. Although currently open for business, the product will be officially launched in July 2012.