Who We Are?
Mark and Kristin Sullivan have had a lifelong interest in ecosystem preservation and environmental justice. They began traveling to Africa in 2004. In Rwanda, the Sullivans connected with the people, the cultures, the landscape and the animals. While traveling to one of Rwanda’s national parks, the Sullivans met Vincent and asked him to join them in Nyungwe Forest National Park. It was during that visit that Vincent and the Sullivans bonded with each other and with Nyungwe’s tropical mountain forest with its 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee. The Sullivans visited Rwanda again in 2005-2006.
Rwanda Environment Awareness Organization (REAO) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) created on 05th September 2011 with four Board members. The organization started officially its activities in Rusizi District, Western Province of Rwanda, and registered under the Registration Number: 236/RGB/NGO/2017 of Rwanda Governance Board (RGB). REAO was created to respond to the need of Rwanda’s economy towards Environment Conservation and Protection of Natural Resources which are among the cross-cutting issues of the Rwanda Vision 2020. Rwanda’s economy is heavily dependent on its environment and natural resources, and the livelihoods of communities depend on access, use and management of such resources. Without sound environmental management, development activities in key sectors such as agriculture, industry, infrastructure, commerce, and energy can lead to significant environmental degradation that can undermine economic growth. Thus, there is a need to promote environment awareness and mainstream environment and climate change while addressing national priorities. Priority areas for environment and climate change as cross-cutting issues include:
- Mainstreaming environmental sustainability into productive and social sectors;
- Reducing vulnerability to climate change; and Preventing and controlling pollution.
- Environmental Education
- Capacity building and youth empowerment
- Forest protection and conservation of natural resources
- Community awareness against the dangers of Environment degradation and climate change issues
- Improving livelihoods of local communities.
In 2011, the members of REAO met to create an organization of environment awareness. Environmental concerns prompted them to take measures aimed at environmental protection including the degradation of environment as a result of the population pressure, serious erosion, pressure on natural resources, massive deforestation, pollution in its various forms, and lack of a strong and coherent political, institutional and legal framework.
In May 2012, the “Rwanda Environment Awareness Organization” (REAO) was launched. During the same period, the first 50 secondary school students visited the Nyungwe National Park (Southern Province, Rwanda). Secondary school students were taught the three Rwandan National Parks and their importance, and environmental policies. This was made possible by the existence of shared responsibilities at the organization level, where the general orientation and guidance is provided by a statutory Board of Directors, while a strong Executive Secretariat supported by a technical team of experts manages day-to day activities under the supervision of the Board of Directors.
REAO has a working experience of more than 7 years within the community with a strong team of experts, a good reputation with the donors both locally and internationally and the country administrative authorities.
REAO has experienced employees in asset management, coordination, planning and activities’ implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programs and projects. Experienced professionals advice the managers and the Board of Directors how to affect employees to different roles whereby helping adopt successfully on its environments. The team helps REAO develop a competitive advantage which involves building the capacity of the organization so that it can offer a unique set of goods and services to its recipients.
Our staff and volunteers have strong relationships with the communities they support, as well as an understanding of the social and cultural environment of our beneficiaries. The commitment, passion and skills of our staff, ambassadors and volunteers are at the heart of our organization, and our successes are as a result of their commitment to delivering life changing projects to those who need it most.
Our Intervention Zone
We focus our work in primary and secondary schools of Rwanda. Rwanda is one of Africa’s most densely populated countries, and until the mid-1990s, the government managed to protect the country’s natural reserves from the pressures of its growing population. However, the devastating violence of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide also had a lasting impact on the environment. A large proportion of Rwandans rely on natural resources for day-to-day living, and with little focus on conservation or environmental protection.
REAO initiated environment awareness projects in primary and secondary schools of Rusizi District, Western Province of Rwanda, then in Kigali City, focusing on environmental education and nature conservation providing school teachers and students and their families with opportunities to improve their environmental awareness and livelihoods. Our project areas include:
- Our areas of operation include, Kicukiro district, Gasabo district, Nyagatare district and Rusizi district areas.