From a degraded wetland to an Eco-tourism Park
The rapid growth of Kigali and the associated human activities have put significant pressure on the wetlands. Human activities increased the destruction of wetlands which is leading to biodiversity loss. The Nyandungu wetland complex was one of the wetlands subject to pastoralists illegally grazing cattle and the underutilization of the site has led to flooding of the downstream area. The wetland also received polluted water including sewage outflow from upstream.
The Government of Rwanda noted that the wetland complex was worth preserving and had potential to generate revenue by conserving biodiversity if the right measures were put in place. Therefore, a pilot project was developed by REMA to demonstrate a model that shows the potential of wetlands to abate pollution and flood risk. Conservation could be achieved by creating a wetland rich in native flora that will conserve the environment, increase the biodiversity and create the touristic opportunities to generate revenue.
The completion of Nyandungu Wetland Eco-Tourism Park project is a true example of Rwanda’s efforts and strong commitment towards environmental protection, particularly for the restoration and conservation of wetland ecosystems at large.
In 2016, the Fund invested 2.4 billion Rwf in this project to promote sustainable management of natural resources and support livelihood diversification by enhancing incomes for local communities through the transformation of Nyandungu wetland into an eco-tourism Park.
The main outcome of the project was to create a nature reserve and urban park by increasing biodiversity, reducing flood risk, managing pollution as well as raising awareness of wetland conservation and creating green jobs.
As of today, the construction and rehabilitation work of 130 hectares are completed. For the residents of Kigali, this is great news as the city gets its first urban Eco-Tourism Park which will serve as a public recreational and touristic facility.
“The formation of an eco-park in Kigali was necessary due to the rapid development. Most developed cities in the world have adopted eco-tourism. This shows how our country has evolved, both in the tourism sector and environmental conservation,” commented one of Kigali’s residents after the news about the completion of the project hit local media.