The role of community-based organizations (CBOs) in the conservation of National parks:a case study of volcanoes National Park (VNP) In Rwanda

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Kampala International University, School of Natural and Applied Sciences
Protected Areas in Rwanda continue to face serious problems despite efforts made to conserve them. For example, Volcanoes National Park (VNP) since its creation in 1925 has reduced from 340 km2 to 160 km2 and continues to face threats. Community conservation was adopted in the conservation ofnational parks for ensuring the participation oflocal communities. The objective ofthis study was to assess participation of community based organizations, in the conservation ofVolcanoes National Park. Simple Random Sampling was used to selected sectors and districts. Purposive sampling orjudgmental sampling was used to determine the local leaders and Rwanda Development Board staff and non community based organization members. Stratified Random Sampling was used to identify the community based organizations to visit. In total, 96 questionnaires to community based organizations (CBOs) members, non- community based organizations members (non-CBOs), and 2 focus groups of discussions were used for data collection. Results revealed that activities through which local communities participate in park conservation differ between two community based organizations (CBOs) and non community based organizations (non-CBOs) involved in this study. In the CBOs, community activities concern reduction of crop raiding through the maintenance of buffalo wall; reduction of illegal activities and guarding crops, while in non-CBOs communities, they concern park conservation through joint patrols and information sharing. It has also been revealed that the increase or decrease in participation depends on costs and benefits available in each zone. Solving problems of both park and communities, and ensuring technical and financial capacity building of CBOs will lead to effective and efficient participation and sustainable conservation ofVolcanoes National Park (VNP). In all these interventions, emphasize will be put on the non-CBOs zone, as it was left behind the efforts ofboth conservation and development. The study ends up by giving recommendations for sustainable conservation of Volcanoes National Park as well as development of communities living adjacent to this park. They include mechanisms of reducing crop raiding and linkage between conservation and relative benefits. All stakeholders need to be involved in making decisions on conservation, development mechanisms and strategies of implementing them. Key words: community based organization, conservation and volcanoes national park
A Thesis Submitted to the College of Higher Degrees and Research in partial fulfillment of the requirements for Award of the Degree of Master of Environmental Management of Kampala International University, Uganda
Community-based, Organizations, National parks, Conservations