18 Sep 2018

Community Revenue Earned from Governors’ Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge Surpasses US$3.25 Million!

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Governors' Camp’s Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge in Rwanda is a uniquely community-owned lodge, with revenue received by the surrounding SACOLA Community. In August, we reached an incredible milestone when revenue earned by the community surpassed $3.25 Million. 

On 7th September Rwanda celebrated Kwita Izina, the annual national celebration where new baby gorillas are named in an event attended by heads of state, world conservation figures, and celebrities.

The loud and clear message throughout the week of celebrations is that in order to protect gorillas, you must look after communities. Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge’s revenue-sharing model has allowed a community of over 5000 households who live at the edge of Volcanoes National Park to benefit directly from gorilla tourism.

Opened officially in 2008 by President Paul Kagame, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is uniquely community-owned, the only such lodge in Rwanda. The Lodge was designed, built and is managed by Governors’ Camp, with revenue streams in the form of lease fees and levies from each guest stay going directly to the community.

Revenue from Sabyinyo Lodge is invested in socio-economic development projects, as determined by the SACOLA community through an elected board that uplift the lives of the community members.

To date, some of the projects that have been achieved with the revenue stream from Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge include:

  • Connecting 5800 households to electricity
  • Construction of 65 classrooms in 6 schools, including two computer labs
  • Purchase of 40 acres of land to build Nyarubande School - one of the six schools
  • Donation 60 computers to 2 schools
  • Equipping schools with desks
  • Payment of school fees for children from the poorest families
  • Building of 40 houses for donation to survivors of the genocide, ex-poachers and the communities most vulnerable people. All houses are fully plumbed, electrified and provided fully furnished
  • The construction of two villages (34 houses) which house 126 formerly destitute farmers on the fringes of Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda who subsisted from the park. The village provides houses, water tanks and plots of land to people living close to the edge of the national park who are being resettled within the framework of the park extension project.
  • The construction and maintenance of 12 kms of local roads. Construction of bridges over waterways
  • Purchase of land to build a new technical school, aimed at upskilling members of the community with marketable skills
  • Donation of water tanks to community members for household water storage
  • Repair of damaged houses for community members
  • Provision of healthcare insurance for 7000 of the poorest community members
  • Construction of a health centre
  • Construction of piping and water collection points servicing over 10s of thousands of community members
  • The establishment and support of a local pig project.
  • The establishment and support of a local sheep project
  • Provision of capital to create a poultry business run by a coop of widows of the genocide
  • Ongoing support of livestock business with a SACOLA financed vet.
  • Financing of the construction of 2 SACCOS (community banks)
  • Initiating a one family one cow program which provides cows to poor people in the local community, with over 250 cows donated

Every guest staying at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is making a direct contribution to the uplifting of lives of the people living alongside the Volcanoes National Park, thus ensuring the future of Rwanda’s Mountain Gorillas.