Annual Workshop of the Regional Network for Conservation Educators in the Albertine Rift in cooperation with the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resources Management
From 16 to 20 June 2015, the Regional Network for Conservation Educators in the Albertine Rift (RNCEAR) hosted its annual Workshop for its members from Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, Uganda, and Tanzania in Huye, Rwanda.
 
 
In cooperation with the recently set up Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resources Management, this year’s workshop was dedicated to the theme of Enhancing Community Based and Institutional Partnership for Biodiversity Conservation Excellence at the Country Level.
 
The agenda of the overall week of workshop led by Prof. Beth Kaplin in her quality as both CoE Coordinator and RENCEAR Technical Advisor entailed a program of paper presentations and discussions, as well as specific two-day-trainings on a helpful monitoring software and a conservation research approach.
 
On its opening day of the workshop, the participants were looking into different topics of biodiversity and natural resource management after being welcomed by M. Christine Gasingirwa, DG STR in the Ministry of Education. In individual testimonies, different members briefly outlined how they had profited from the RNCEAR workshops in the past, i.e. by enlarging their network for exchange, gaining technical skills, or learning about the dynamics of different fields of research.
 
In short presentations, representatives of the member organizations were explaining subthemes as community involvement, spatial tools, or strengths and challenges in biodiversity and natural resource management in general, regarding their individual respective situation and area within the Albertine Rift. These included, i.e., the Burunge Wildlife Management Area in Tanzania, the conservation and protection of Grauer Gorillas, as well as participatory mapping efforts in DR Congo, reforestation efforts in the Gishwati-Mukura Landscape of Rwanda, and institutional obstacles in Burundi.
 
After introducing the National Geographic Society to the participants, the afternoon was dedicated to presenting the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management and its nodes that are connected by the HUB at the University of Rwanda. In turn, the KCCEM, DFGFI, CAVM and CGIS explained their respective functions and roles as partners related to the Center. Ultimately, a group discussion on overlaps, differences, and alignment possibilities of the CoE and the RNCEAR took place. These concluded in the findings that both institutions aim at a similar goal of networking for enhanced biodiversity and natural resource management achievements, yet are based on different milestones and structures which are, however, complementary.
 
In the following four days of the workshop, the participants were going deeper into the sub themes from social and technical sciences in biodiversity and natural resource management; the CLASlite RS software for tropical forest monitoring and the opportunities of indigenous knowledge research.
 
The CNRU was happy to participate in the opening event of the workshop as a supporter of the launch and development of the Center of Excellence.

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