By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU
The Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS), Alinea International that is implementing the Canada’s Climate Action in Africa Project, Members of Africa Regional Mountain Forum and other partners joined the rest of the world to celebrate the International Mountains Day. This was during a virtual event held on Monday 12th December 2022 where various stakeholders from different countries in Africa convened to mark this important day who’s under the theme ‘Women Move Mountains.’
According to the organizers, this week running up to Friday 16th will be marked by Africa Mountains Community-to Community-Exchange event, to celebrate the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development. Several physical events including the exhibition of mountain products will take place at Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village. This will be an opportunity to promote knowledge sharing and exchange to promote resilience to climate change in the mountain communities.
According to Dr. Sam Kanyamibwa, the CEO of ARCOS, “This week is going to highlight the creativity, hard work of the mountain community, and also show determination to produce something very strong with a solid impact that we can get from the community’s creative products.”
Dr. Sam made the remarks during the webinar session which was organized as part of this week’s planned events.
The Africa Mountains Community-to-Community Exchange is also an opportunity to promote knowledge exchange on best agricultural practices, biodiversity conservation, sustainable tourism, value addition on products from the mountain communities and widening their market.
However, Dr. Sam noted that whatever we have done for nature is centred around land management assets, adding that “the environment we take care of and benefit from is the asset.”
“When we’re talking about nature based community enterprises it is not a quick fix. So, we need the long-term measures, a good mind-set change, which is going to lead to transformative change. But we can’t just talk without walking the talk.” he added.
Gioconda Ortega-Alarie, the Manager Climate Action Africa Project thanked ARCOS for bringing together different stakeholders to exchange knowledge and experiences on how to improve adaptation to climate change in Africa.
There was a panel discussion with Sarah Kigongo Kwaggwa from the Virunga mountains who indicated that the communities in Virunga are using climate smart agriculture to transform the community livelihoods. Nthara MacPherson from the Malawi – Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife noted that it is important for the people from mountain counties in Africa to share a platform for exchanging knowledge to promote nature based enterprise.
The Africa Mountains Community-to-Community Exchange is expected to bring together more than 200 physical participants in Kigali from 14th to 16th December representing the Africa mountain regions. Brigitte Kanyamugenge, the Head of Community Development Program, informed the participants that ARCOS continues to explore platforms of bringing together different communities to learn from each other on how to cope up with climate change.
Furthermore, government, development partners and civil society organizations will attend the event to interact with community representatives and witness innovative nature-based solutions undertaken by mountain communities in Africa.