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Eco-Tourism Partnership Projects

Through these projects the VSPT helps to link Kyambura Gorge Lodge to the community and helps promote sustainable eco-tourism and conservation. Initiatives include not only those listed below but also a series of smaller projects with the local schools, teaching them of the benefits of tourism and the natural value of the wildlife diversity in the area. The project is the first of its kind in the area and is an example of the pioneering work conducted by the VSPT.

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Women’s Omwani Coffee Co-Operative

The Kyambura Woman’s Coffee Cooperative provides a vital source of extra income for local families. The women and their families harvest coffee from 100 acre site owned by the VSPT, and then process, roast and package their own coffee at a dedicated processing station opposite Kyambura Gorge Lodge. The VSPT sponsored a counselling session to teach co-operative management and finance. The group have now drafted a constitution and are a fully-functioning co-operative. The coffee plantation also acts as a buffer zone between the protected area of the gorge and local farmlands, reducing animal / human conflict.

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Omumashaka Wetland Restoration

The VSPT secured 30-acres of wetland south of the Volcanoes Safaris Kyambura Gorge Lodge. The wetland, which previously had been used as an illegal brick works, is now regenerating rapidly back to its natural state. The rejuvenated wetlands now attract over 100 species of birds and the sight is used to train members of the community in birding and guiding. This project has been a key success for the VSPT, particularly regarding its ecosystem conservation efforts given the amount of species that have now repopulated the area:  new entries are added to the spotters’ lists almost daily!

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Empundu Community Playground

Opened in November 2010, the playground was built by members of the community  on land purchased by the VSPT. The playground provides a safe environment for local children and a focal point for the local community. The area is used for football, netball and the local Kyenzaza Primary School’s fitness lessons. By supporting the local community, the VSPT seeks to encourage conservation of chimpanzees and other local wildlife. In March 2012, the VSPT sponsored uniforms for the Kyenzaza Men’s Football Team and Kyenzaza Primary School’s boys’ team. In return for these uniforms, the teams are being trained how to maintain the ground on their own.

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Bee-Keeping Training and Fences

In January 2012 the VSPT, in association with Malaika Honey, organised beekeeping training. The course provided apiary management, care and harvesting information to fifteen members of the Omumashaka Bee Keepers Co-Operative, who have been producing honey in Kyambura since 2006. The local farmers were taught the necessary skills to become commercial beekeepers through practical, on-site training. The hives have been set up to create a fence surrounding farmers’ land, helping to deter elephants from raiding the crops and reducing human-wildlife conflict as elephants detest bees.

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Omumashaka Dance Group

The Omumashaka Community Performance Group is made up of 30 members from the local area. Representing members from five local tribes, they perform plays for the community and Volcanoes Safaris clients about issues including AIDS awareness and the environment. Led by the enigmatic Robert, they use the medium of dance to promote education and awareness of local issues as well as providing a great show for guests at the Kyambura Gorge Lodge.

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Rusty Roof Exchange

In 2011, the VSPT partnered with Kyambura Gorge Lodge to provide new roofs for families in the Kyambura area. Five family homes and one primary school were re-roofed between June and December 2011. In March 2012 Kirungu and Kichiwamba primary schools and a mosque in Kyenzaza were also re-roofed. The iron sheets were purchased by the VSPT and the Volcanoes Safaris construction team provided transport and helped with the removal and installation of the new roofs. The new roofs will help keep the families dry and healthy during the rainy seasons, improving their welfare through VSPT support. Families who benefited from the initiative were single parents raising children orphaned by AIDS or caring for physically disabled or HIV-positive family members.