Conversation on Conservation

The Rwanda Development Board is pleased to announce this year’s Conversation on Conservation, a virtual session organised as part of celebrations marking the 16th Kwita Izina.

The session will be live-streamed on Visit Rwanda’s YouTube channel on Friday 25 September 2020 from 3pm to 5pm CAT. The goals of the discussions will be to:

  • Review Rwanda’s conservation opportunities and challenges
  • Encourage dialogue and engagement amongst key conservation stakeholders and collaborative conservation efforts
  • Highlight the impact of conservation and eco-tourism on community development
Register to participate HERE

Programme

Opening

Duration: 10 min

MC Welcome: Joan Mazimpaka

Remarks: Belise Kariza, Chief Tourism Officer

Keynote Speaker: Fred Swaniker, Founder & CEO African Leadership Group

Topic 1

Restructuring economic and financing systems to sustain nature conservation, Eco-Tourism and community livelihood development amidst a global pandemic

Duration: 25 min

Speakers

  • Kathleen H. Fitzgerald, Conservation Capital’s Business Consulting Africa division
  • Chris Roche, Private investor and conservationist
  • Eugene Rutagarama, Rwandan Conservationist and Businessman

Moderator

  • Peter Katanisa, World Bank Consultant
Topic 2

Scaling Innovation and Technologies in Conservation

Duration: 20 min

Speakers:

  • Jes Gruner, CEO Akagera Management Company
  • Yves Iradukunda, PS Ministry of ICT and Innovation
  • Mamy Ingabire, Managing Director, CHARIS UAS
  • Tesi Rusagara, MD Kigali Innovation City
Break – Video

Duration: 5 min.

Tourism Revenue Sharing Program Video:

  • Water supply project by Nyamasheke District with Cyangugu Diocesan CARITAS, in Gisakura, Bushekeri Sector, Nyamasheke District, Western Province.
Topic 2

The UN Global Biodiversity Outlook and Biodiversity Conservation in Rwanda

Duration: 25 min

Speakers

  • Mrs. Juliet Kabera, Director General, REMA
  • Dr Sue Snyman, Director of Research, African Leadership University
  • Charles Karangwa, IUCN Regional Technical Coordinator/ Rwanda Country Representative

Moderator

  • Carmen Nibigira, PhD: Key Expert Workplace Learning, GIZ Hanga Ahazaza Project
Topic 3

Zoonotics, the global pandemic and Gorilla Health: where are we now?

Duration: 25 Min

Speakers:

  • Dr. Julius Nziza, Country Head Veterinarian, Gorilla Doctors.
  • Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, DG Rwanda Biomedical Center
  • Dr. Olivier Nsengimana, Founder & Executive Director, RWCA.

Moderator:

  • Prof. Beth A. Kaplin, PhD: Ag. Director, Center of Excellence for the Biodiversity & Nat Res Management, University of Rwanda
Closing
  • Zephanie Niyonkuru, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, RDB

Moderators and Speakers

Deputy Chief Executive Officer, RDB

Zephanie Niyonkuru

Chief Tourism Office, RDB

Belise Kariza

Key Tourism & Workplace Learning

Dr. Carmen Nibigira

Director of Research, African Leadership University

Dr. Susan Snyman

Co-Founder ALU

Fred Swaniker

Country Head Veterinarian, Gorilla Doctors

Dr. Julius Nziza

Private investor and conservationist

CHRIS ROCHE

Managing Director of Kigali Innovation City

Tesi Rusagara

Director of the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity & Natural Resource Management at University of Rwanda

Beth A. Kaplin

DG Rwanda Biomedical Center

Sabin Nsanzimana

Director General, Rwanda Environment Management Authority

Juliet Kabera

World Bank Consultant

Peter Katanisa

Co-Founder and CEO of Illume Creative Studio

JOAN MAZIMHAKA

CEO Akagera Management Company

Jes Gruner

Managing Director, CHARIS UAS

Mamy Ingabire

PS Ministry of ICT and Innovation

Yves Iradukunda

Founder & Executive Director of Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association (RWCA)

Olivier Nsengimana

Conservation Capital’s Business Consulting Africa division

Kathleen H. Fitzgerald

Rwandan Conservationist and Businessman

Mr. Eugene Rutagarama

Deputy Chief Executive Officer, RDB

Zephanie Niyonkuru

Chief Tourism Office, RDB

Belise Kariza

Belise Kariza has served as RDB’s CTO since 2015. In her capacity, she also holds the position of Chairperson of the Great Virunga Trans-boundary Collaboration Secretariat.

Key Tourism & Workplace Learning

Dr. Carmen Nibigira

Carmen Nibigira, PhD  is a Key Tourism & Workplace Learning at the GIZ International. A passionate and champion for inter and intra travel and tourism trade. With two decades in hospitality and tourism industry, Carmen served as a Project Director at Horwath HTL and Regional Coordinator for East Africa Tourism Platform. She is the Chair of the Rwanda Board of Directors of Davis College, an East African higher education institution. She also serves on the advisory board of Inkomoko, a business incubator in East Africa, an outlet for her interest in entrepreneurship. Her most recent areas of interest have been how to migrate businesses and institutions up the value-chain, by instilling a commitment throughout the culture of the enterprise to optimising customer experience. Her area of specialism is public policy and political economy of tourism as well as socio-political fabric of emerging tourism destinations.

Director of Research, African Leadership University

Dr. Susan Snyman

Susan Snyman, PhD, is the Director of Research at the African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation.  Previously, Sue worked for Wilderness Safaris, a private sector ecotourism operator, for 10 years in various roles, including as Group Sustainability Manager. She is vice-chair of the IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist (TAPAS) Group and Coordinator of the Communities & Heritage Working Group in the TAPAS Group.  She recently managed the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme for IUCN in 24 countries in Africa.  Her research focus is on sustainable, diversified wildlife economies in Africa.

Co-Founder ALU

Fred Swaniker

Fred Swaniker

Founder & CEO, African Leadership Group

Fred Swaniker is on a mission to bring better leadership to Africa and the world. He is the founder and CEO of the African Leadership Group – an ecosystem of organizations that are catalyzing a new era of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders. Over the past 15 years, he has founded and led the pre-university African Leadership Academy, the African Leadership University, the African Leadership Network and ALX — a next-generation leadership development and talent sourcing platform. Collectively, these endeavors aim to transform Africa by developing 3 million African leaders by 2035. He is also the founder of The Room, a talent agency for the world’s ambitious doers.

Fred previously worked as a McKinsey consultant before earning an MBA from Stanford and becoming an entrepreneur. He is an Echoing Green Fellow; Aspen Institute Fellow; and most recently, was recognized as one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people of 2019.  He holds honorary doctorate degrees from Macalester College, Middlebury College and Nelson Mandela University.

 

Country Head Veterinarian, Gorilla Doctors

Dr. Julius Nziza

Dr. Julius is a Wildlife Veterinarian. He has a degree in Veterinary Medicine from Makerere University, Kampala and also graduated with Masters in Public Health from University of Rwanda in 2018. He is Rwanda’s Country Head Veterinarian at Gorilla Doctors (https://www.gorilladoctors.org/about-us/team/) and Country Coordinator for Emerging Pandemic Threats Program- PREDICT project.

His main work is overseeing Mountain Gorilla health and doing research on zoonotic viral infectious disease pathogens (surveillance and laboratory aspects) in wildlife that are potentially pandemic at the human-wildlife interfaces. He has been working with Gorilla Doctors since 2010 to date.

Prior to that he worked with Rwanda Development Board as the Field Veterinarian in-charge of Nyungwe National Park.

His much interested in wildlife conservation bridging it with Public Health.

Private investor and conservationist

CHRIS ROCHE

Well-known and respected ecotourism and conservation consultant with nearly 25 years’ experience with landmark African ecotourism companies such as Wilderness Safaris and &Beyond including at executive level in areas such as sustainability, marketing and business development. Strong ability to mesh both conservation and commercial aspects related to rural nature-based development and to ensure positive integration of associated communities; both academic and practical. A passionate advocate for the good that ecotourism, conducted properly, can achieve for biodiversity conservation. Has worked on or advised ecotourism and conservation projects in 18 African countries and provided ecotourism advisory services in South America, the United Kingdom, Europe and the Far East.

Managing Director of Kigali Innovation City

Tesi Rusagara

Tesi Rusagara is the Managing Director of Kigali Innovation City, whose mission is to nurture and accelerate Rwanda’s innovation ecosystem to position Rwanda as a pan-African hub. She was previously with Deloitte Consulting in San Francisco advising financial services clients on digital transformation, growth strategy and divestitures. Tesi has also worked in the President of Rwanda’s Strategy and Policy Unit and for Bank of Kigali, Rwanda’s largest commercial bank. Tesi holds an Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Business Science in Finance from the University of Cape Town.

Director of the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity & Natural Resource Management at University of Rwanda

Beth A. Kaplin

Beth Kaplin is Director of the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity & Natural Resource Management at University of Rwanda since 2016, a knowledge management research center aimed at contributing science to policy in support of SDGs.  She has raised funds with Center colleagues to develop a freshwater biodiversity information system for Rwanda and to upgrade and digitize the National Herbarium of Rwanda.

Other projects she managed include creating the guidelines for access and benefit sharing of traditional knowledge associated with plant genetic resources in Rwanda, and providing research capacity training for postgraduate students to conduct impact research in landscape restoration and ecosystem-based adaptation projects. Beth is a Professor of Conservation Science in the Biology Dept, College of Science & Technology at University of Rwanda, and she teaches and mentors BSc, MSc and PhD students.

She is also a Research Professor in the School for the Environment and Senior Fellow at the Center of Global Governance and Sustainability, both at University of Massachusetts-Boston.  Beth was in the Environmental Studies Dept at Antioch University New England, USA for 20 years (1998-2018) where she served as PhD program director, developed curriculum, and founded and directed the Center for Tropical Ecology & Conservation.  She received her BSc in wildlife biology from Colorado State University, and MSc and PhD in Zoology from University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA with a focus on ecology and conservation science.

From 2006 to 2015, Professor Kaplin raised over 1 million USD from the MacArthur Foundation to develop BSc and MSc programs in biodiversity conservation at National University of Rwanda. She also created the Regional Network for Conservation Educators in the Albertine Rift to support and empower conservation scientists in Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Tanzania, and Uganda.   She maintains a research program with her students on forest ecology, seed dispersal, primates, protected areas conservation, ecosystem services, and human-wildlife interactions that began in 1990 when she first came to do research in Nyungwe forest, Rwanda.  She has published numerous articles and book chapters on these topics.

Her current projects include buffer zones and biodiversity indicators, primate ecology and conservation, and developing a biodiversity information system for effective policy-making and climate change adaptation.  She has focused her career on building capacity for biodiversity conservation, research and natural resource management in Africa.

DG Rwanda Biomedical Center

Sabin Nsanzimana

Dr. Sabin NSANZIMANA holds a Medical Degree (MD) and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Epidemiology from the National University of Rwanda; a PhD in Epidemiology from Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute,University of Basel, Switzerland.

He serves as a Fellow at the African Scientific Institute (ASI), a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (FRCP Edin) and serves as Assistant Professor of Global Health at the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) and teaches Epidemiology and Research Methodology at the University of Rwanda.

Dr Sabin is currently the Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre and has been working for the health sector for over 14 years with extensive experience in control of infectious diseases and research with more than 120 published scientific articles.

Director General, Rwanda Environment Management Authority

Juliet Kabera

World Bank Consultant

Peter Katanisa

Mr. Peter Katanisa is a consultant with the World Bank in the department of Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy since 2018. Previously he has been advising the Government of Rwanda in all initiatives in Rwanda’s Environment and Natural Resources Sector for smooth Implementation of the Rwanda Environment, Natural Resources and Climate change Policies, Strategies and Programmes as the Advisor for the Minister of Environment of Rwanda.

Mr. Katanisa has served in different leadership roles and on many government programmes committees related to Environment, Natural Resource management and Climate Change in Rwanda. Mr. Katanisa is a passionate farmer and he holds dear the principles of sustainable and green farming.

Co-Founder and CEO of Illume Creative Studio

JOAN MAZIMHAKA

With over ten years’ experience in the tourism industry, Joan has a passion for travel and for creating unique tourism experiences for herself and for others. She has several years under her belt organizing numerous events in Rwanda and other countries on the continent, including leading the team that brought Africa’s first edition of the global event, Le Dîner en Blanc to Rwanda. As a consultant in the tourism industry, and Co-Founder and CEO of Illume Creative Studio, Joan remains active within the industry by contributing to policies and projects, and by producing original content and events to attract tourists to Rwanda.

CEO Akagera Management Company

Jes Gruner

Raised on a farm in Malawi, Jes Gruner has worked in conservation for over 18 years. For the past ten years he has been working in Akagera National Park in Rwanda since the beginning of the public private partnership between African Parks and the Rwanda Development Board in 2010. Jes’s first role in Akagera was as operations manager from early 2010, then moving into the role of Park Manager in 2012. Born in Switzerland he holds both Swiss and Danish nationality, however, Jes was raised in Malawi and studied in the UK where he obtained a BSc in Applied Biology and Animal Science. Jes began his conservation career when he helped to set up a small community game ranch in Salima, Malawi, before joining African Parks at Majete Wildlife Reserve in Malawi as Operations Manager in 2006. Jes has also undertaken the course in Chemical and Physical Restraint of African Wildlife. He has a wife and three children.

Managing Director, CHARIS UAS

Mamy Ingabire

PS Ministry of ICT and Innovation

Yves Iradukunda

Founder & Executive Director of Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association (RWCA)

Olivier Nsengimana

Olivier is a wildlife veterinarian and passionate conservationist. He studied veterinary medicine at the University of Rwanda and has a Master of Veterinary Science, Conservation Medicine from the University of Edinburgh, UK. In 2014, Olivier designed a unique conservation project to abolish the illegal trade of the endangered Grey Crowned Cranes in Rwanda and won the Rolex Award for Enterprise which allowed him to start implementing the work. He established a non-profit Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association (RWCA) in 2015 to build on the work with Grey Crowned Cranes and expand research and conservation efforts to other endangered and threatened species in Rwanda, including bats.

Olivier’s work has gained international recognition through grants and awards; he is a National Geographic Explorer, has been a finalist in the 2016 Tusk Conservation Awards, received the 2017 National Geographic Buffett Award for Leadership in Conservation in Africa, winner of the 2018 Whitley Awards and 2019 Future for Nature Awards.

Prior to this, Olivier worked for 5 years as a field veterinarian with Gorilla Doctors (www.gorilladoctors.org), providing life-saving veterinary care to critically endangered wild mountain gorillas. He also worked for the PREDICT program (in partnership with Gorilla Doctors), a worldwide program aiming to build a global early warning system for emerging pandemic threats that move between wildlife and people. In this post he conducted disease surveillance, capturing and handling animals (mainly rodents, nonhuman primates and bats) and collecting samples at the interface between wildlife, livestock and humans.

RWCA website: www.rwandawildlife.org

Conservation Capital’s Business Consulting Africa division

Kathleen H. Fitzgerald

Kathleen has more than 25 years of experience in integrated large landscape conservation programs in Africa and North America.

She is a partner at Conservation Capital and a Senior Technical Advisor to the African Wildlife Foundation. Kathleen has helped create new state and community conservation areas, improve management of existing protected areas, established protected area co-management arrangements with governments and designed innovative models for community integration in conservation. She has completed dozens of conservation land transactions in North America, helped the Rwanda Development Board expand Volcanoes National Park for the first time in four decades and works extensively on increasing and diversifying sustainable conservation finance.

She is widely published on conservation and has an undergraduate in Environmental Studies and Government and a Master of Science. Africa has been her home for 13 years.

Rwandan Conservationist and Businessman

Mr. Eugene Rutagarama

Mr. Eugene Rutagarama have had over 20 years of experience working in conservation in the Congo Basin, Rwanda, Uganda and DRC especially, with particular expertise in wildlife and park management, capacity building, program coordination, contingency planning, emergency programming, and institutional and team building.

Mr. Rutagarama has held senior positions with the International Gorilla Conservation Program(IGCP), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest Reserve, and with Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center, also in Rwanda.  He also held the position of Deputy Director of ORTPN following the war and genocide.  In this capacity, he was instrumental in rehabilitating and restructuring the park department, restoring park capacity and operations, and reinitiating gorilla-based tourism in Volcano National Park.

Mr. Rutagarama is a committed and respected conservation professional, whose work in support of the mountain gorillas has been internationally recognized.  In 1996, with park staff in Rwanda’s Volcano National Park, he received the 19th John Paul Getty Conservation Prize in recognition of outstanding contributions in times of conflict.  In 2001, he was individually recognized as Africa recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize.  In 2007, Eugene Rutagarama was selected as a global CNN Hero, category of saving planet.

Mr. Rutagarama holds an MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation from the University of East Anglia/UK, and a Bachelor of Biology (Licence en Biologie) from the University of Burundi, Bujumbura (1985), in addition to numerous technical training certificates in areas of agro-forestry, park management, leadership and teambuilding.

Though Mr. Rutagarama has retired from executive positions in wildlife conservation, he is still engaged in consultancy mainly as a professional facilitator, researcher and institutional management specialist.

Conversation on Conservation | Kwita Izina