Community Initiatives Project
Community Initiatives Project
Red Rocks Community Initiatives focuses on the key pillars that support its mission and vision of integrating sustainable tourism and environmental conservation for community development. The programs target the communities living in the Virunga massif.
We seek to empower the local communities through promoting their rights, improving their environmental management systems, supporting innovation, and strengthening local engagement in activities that enhance their livelihoods and health among others.
All our volunteer abroad programs are in line with achieving the “Agenda 2030”.
They include, but not limited to:
- Arts and Cultural Conservation (Recreation for Peace and Development)
- Community-Based, Sustainable Tourism (Mountain Gorilla conservation & Tracking)
- Tourism Based Vocational Skills Training
- Agricultural Tourism (Flora and Fauna)
Arts and Cultural Conservation
This involves a plethora of activities aimed at recreation for peace and development. Our organization established:
- Rich arts and crafts galleries
- Promotes cultural music
- Dance and drama
- Organizes indigenous and conventional games for peacebuilding and conservation among others.
Red Rocks has strong partnerships with local artists, who provide environmental conservation and sustainable tourism inspired art pieces.
Community Based Tourism
Our operation area is home for Africas, and most probably the world’s only surviving Mountain Gorillas. This wild species is highly endangered and faced with extinction, so requires ardent conservation. The population of the Mountain Gorillas is currently estimated at one thousand, and all are habited in the Virunga massif of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The organization undertakes activities aimed at Mountain Gorilla conservation and runs services of Gorilla tracking for the local and international tourists.
There are many other opportunities available like Hiking Bisoke Volcano, trekking the Golden Monkey and experiencing other stunning, tourism destinations and activities.
Tourism Based Vocational Skills Training
The organization empowers young people with conservation and sustainable tourism inspired life skills in a non-formal training mode. The locals are trained in art and crafts, housekeeping & hospitality, tour guides, basic foreign international languages, and international culture and norms.
We intend to scale up the training, following the initiatives and opportunities available. We look forward to the like-minded partners, to enable us to expand the scope of our training.
Away from the current non-formal training; we envisage a training center (school) for carrying out and generating scientific-based research and knowledge respectively.
Agricultural Tourism Initiatives (Flora and Fauna)
In this initiative, we work with the local communities to build synergies and partnerships with other organizations that do conservation and tourism. We encourage conservation and tourism-based farming like indigenous fruit growing, tree planting, indigenous domestic animals and pets rearing and horticulture among others.
This is aimed at enhancing community livelihoods in regard to nutrition and food security as well as income generating; as they sell the surplus to the local population and the international guests.
Red Rocks Livestock Support Program
The key aim of this program is to improve and uplift the livelihoods of women and youth living on the slopes of Volcanoes National Park. This park, also home for the last surviving mountain gorillas require a handful of initiatives to mitigate the risks faced by the wild, and this is one such.
For many decades now, livestock has played a significant role in the survival of families in Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo. This is a major source of income for the local communities.
Our program thus is geared towards improving the livestock sector and generating income for poor and vulnerable households through supporting small-scale dairy activities in Kinigi including milk and fodder, production of improved livestock for nutrition, and health services in Nyakinama village for the benefit of families headed by women.
The animal waste is recycled to produce biogas for home use, a key initiative in substituting wood fuel. This is aimed at immensely reducing the depletion of the environmental cover for fuel. The waste is also a source of compost manure, used for subsistence agriculture.Challenges associated with animal husbandry Diseases
Farm animals suffer from different diseases due to lack of vaccines and proper treatment. Some infectious diseases such as brucellosis and tuberculosis are not well managed, and this leads to losses and low production by the farmers. The public veterinary service providers are however handy in providing vet care services, as well as ensuring due diligence in the quality of animals and animal products put on the market for human consumption.
The inadequate transport of farm animals is a challenge. Animals are overloaded on the trucks, pigs transported on bicycles, chicken bundled on motorcycles, and many other unfair acts livestock are subjected. These lead to stress, bruises, injuries, suffocation, heart failure, sunburn, bloat, dehydration, exhaustion, and disease transmission.
All those mistreatments amounts to animal cruelty, even death. As long as transport is unavoidable, all persons involved have the responsibility to reduce stress and discomfort to bare minimum levels. Basically, management before transport, during transportation and planning a journey should be done by providing acceptable space allowance, and fitness tests before travel. Transportation vehicles and transport practitioners should undergo quality assurance tests.
The Mistreatment of Pets
Besides the farm animals, pets (dogs and cats) are mistreated at a high level. Some people keep dogs for security purposes. Those dogs lack the basic necessities for living. They are not able to get vaccines on time, they are injured and never treated, and they are not allowed free access to water, food and sometimes shelter. In case of any disease outbreak; the public health is endangered. Interventions have to be made to avail vaccines, dewormers, shelter, access to clean water and enough food. According to what is mentioned above, animal welfare is highly required in and around the Virunga massif for both domestic and wild animals.
Animal welfare is defined as protection, well being and good care of animals; where the animals live in harmony with their environment. As the communities continue to live in abject poverty, animals have been denied shelter, abandoned, or denied adequate vet care.
Welfare for animals is equally important; they are sentient beings and should, therefore, be accorded convenience. They have to be protected from injury, pain, diseases, stress and unnecessary suffering. Red Rocks initiatives intend to support extremely low-income earners by contributing pet food and vet care as a means of enhancing animal welfare, as well as mitigating the outbreak of pet-related epidemics.
Our Initiative will focus on partnership with individuals and organizations to provide low-cost veterinary care to the pets of the communities we work with in Musanze, Goma, and Kisoro, within the Virunga massif.
We plan to establish low-cost veterinary clinics in Musanze, Goma, and Kisoro, to serve more than three thousand pets. Our vets will meet clients biweekly to offer vaccinations, micro-chipping and basic care.
In the countries within our operation, the animal welfare legislation is inadequate, despite the urgency of need.
Red Rocks Trans-Boundary Initiatives
Red Rocks Initiatives implements activities for sustainable development in the communities around the volcanoes national park. We partnered with neighboring community-based organizations to enhance the conservation process of the Virunga massif. In collaboration with Mgahinga Community Development Organization (MCDO) in Uganda and Kivu Cooperatives of Coffee planters and Traders in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we work as an umbrella organization, coordinating the various activities in the 3 countries bordering the Virunga chain of mountains of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Our goal is to use the gorilla tourism business as a tool to promote sustainable development through conservation of the environment by tree planting, preserving the mountain gorillas, training and sensitization of the communities on the various conservation-related issues, and initiating income generating activities for sustainable livelihoods. We focus on community capacity building, promotion of good practices to protect the various cultural heritages, research, and development of an ecotourism database to speed up the socio-economic development for the communities residing on the slopes of the Virunga chain of mountains, and the entire great lakes region.