Nkotsi is a small village located in the south-western side of Musanze, a town in the Northern Province of Rwanda. It is one of the villages part of Volcanoes National Park, internationally recognised UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and home to 30% of global population of mountain gorillas. Gorillas’ sighting is the main tourism attraction of Rwanda, but the offer must be diversified in order to assure tourism as a sustainable source of income for the population.
That is why Nkotsi brings together communities around the Virunga Mountains to promote community sustainable development, involving local people in programs which improve their livelihood through Environmental Conservation, Arts & Culture, Education, and Community Health & Food Security Initiatives.
The village does not only preserve the culture and indigenous knowledge but also is a place where tourists can come and experience in first person the heritage transmitted from generation to generation. These initiatives create employment opportunities for women and youth through arts and culture experiences focused on conservation and skills sharing through workshops.
Education as pillar for a sustainable future
Through Red Rocks Initiatives for Sustainable Development (RRSD), local community members can access to a variety of educational paths, designed to build practical skills which are in line with the tourism development. The courses are particularly delineated to let people understand the value of their resources and the importance of conservation.
Women against plastic pollution
The Igihoho project was started in 2016 with the aim of reducing the use of plastic bags with eco-friendly Seed bags made from banana barks. The project actually involves 20 women and helps meeting the consumer’s demand for sustainable products while generating revenue.
Preserving and promoting cultural heritage
Festivals in Nkotsi area are a great opportunity to slip inside the local culture and tradition. A great example is the Red Rock Cultural Festival where everyone is welcome to botanical garden tours, debates about medicinal plants, dancing, drumming and so much more. Everything always in view of preserving the balance of this small ecosystem.