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Virunga National Park, capacity building of education officials on tourism and environmental protection

As part of the implementation of ‘Programme Utalii Kwetu’ funded partly by Kwafrika Travel, trainings on the environment and tourism were organized targeting the various actors of education.  It should be noted that this program was officially launched in February 2022 at Goma Serena Hotels by HE the Vice-Governor of North Kivu Province, Major General Romy EKUKA. The program is carried out by Groupe Utalii Kwetu nonprofit, a consortium of two tours operators including Kwafrika Travel and Kasitu EcoTours.

Formations sur l'environnement et le tourisme Kwafrika Travel
Mr Muhindo Hanamli, Program Manager du Groupe Utalii Kwetu Asbl en pleine formation à l’EP UENEZAJI

The trainings initially targeted the Inspectors and Teaching Advisors who in turn trained the teachers of the 25 schools around Virunga National Park, involved in the pilot phase of the Programme. ‘Programme Utalii Kwetu’ aims to introduce schoolchildren to domestic tourism, nature conservation and environmental protection. It is based on the provision of scholastic materials on tourism and environment, school competitions, learning expeditions, reforestation campaigns and mass awareness on tourism and nature conservation.

To link theories to practice, right after their trainings on the environment and tourism, educational officials were involved in a learning expedition:

1°. Virtual tour of Kahuzi Biega National Park: This was done in the comfort of the training rooms where these actors of education using a state-of-the-art technology of virtual reality headsets visited the eastern lowland gorillas of Kahuzi Biega National Park.

pratique lors des formations sur l'environnement et le tourisme par Groupe Utalii Kwetu
Un enseignant en pleine visite du Parc National de Kahuzi Biega

2°. Proper Exploration of the city of Goma with stops at the port, Grande-Barrière Border Post, the village Shahero, the recent volcanic lava field, green lake,…

Classe d'exploration, tourisme scolaire au Nord-Kivu
Départ du bureau du Groupe Utalii Kwetu, des enseignants en exploration de la ville de Goma au 3ème jour de la formation.

The virtual reality headsets helped inspectors, teaching advisors, school directors and teachers access some of the most important touristic sites we have got in the Congo and which couldn’t be easily reached physically.

Concerning the exploration, this activity was organized for Inspectors, Teaching Advisors, School Principals and teachers benefiting from our trainings on the environment and tourism. The overall goal was to associate some practice to the theory learned as it’s universally recognized that any theory without practice is blind.

Formations sur l'environnement et le tourisme
Plage du peuple avec une vue sur le lac Kivu

Virunga Park is one of the most threatened protected areas on the planet, which is very rich in biodiversity and contains animal species endemic to the DRC.  These trainings on the environment and tourism will in fact allow us to make these actors of education ambassadors of biodiversity in the East of the DRC. They are important because they will pass on this knowledge to the children who will be leaders of tomorrow.

For the Deputy Principal Provincial Inspector in charge of training Mr Robert Kavatsi,

“This program not only contributes to the popularization of concepts on school tourism and environmental protection but also and above all, it does associate quality to the free basic education as envisaged by the actual government.”

Of the 100 people trained, there were 50 teachers, 25 school principals, 8 inspectors and 10 teaching advisers.  These, through training sessions organized weekly in primary schools, will be able to train others and create a snowball effect.

The representative of the trainers and Program Manager of ‘Groupe Utalii Kwetu’ nonprofit, Mr Muhindo Hanamali Bienfait said that he was satisfied with the mastery of the subject by the teachers trained on the textbooks on tourism and environmental protection, a major pillar to ‘Programme Utalii Kwetu’. Certificates were awarded to each participant at the end of these trainings on the environment and tourism.

Kwafrika Travel through ‘Groupe Utalii Kwetu’ believes like Nelson Mandela that education is a great weapon with which we can use to change the world. This is why through this program which is also supported by the US Department of State, we are laying the groundwork for a promotion of sustainable tourism and a restoration of endangered biodiversity in Eastern Congo.

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