26 Jun 2024

Wilderness Sabyinyo and SACOLA Provide Housing and Water Supply to Local Communities in Rwanda


In partnership with Wilderness Sabyinyo, the Sabyinyo Community Livelihood Association (SACOLA) recently launched transformative housing and water-supply projects benefiting five villages in the Nyange and Kinigi sectors near Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

The project successfully constructed 20 houses for 15 vulnerable families, and five families of genocide survivors. Each fully equipped and furnished home includes three bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom, a kitchen and a water tank. Valued at a total of USD 220,000, these homes were handed over to the families along with essential supplies such as rice, flour, cooking oil and soap.

Additionally, SACOLA's efforts have significantly benefited the local communities with the launch of a RWF 100 million (approximately USD 80,000) 6.5 km water pipeline, providing essential water access across multiple villages.

"We are proud to have supported the housing project and the installation of this pipeline, made possible by revenue generated from Wilderness Sabyinyo, Rwanda's first community-owned lodge. These combined projects, valued at over USD 300,000, will provide safe housing for families in need and deliver clean water to the villages of Kareba, Nkiriza, Nyakagezi, Kamata, and Kamakara, serving and positively impacting a remarkable 800 households", noted Leonard Harerimana, Wilderness’ SACOLA & Sabyinyo Communication Officer.

Formerly enduring a challenging 3-kilometre trek to access clean water – often resorting to contaminated sources and suffering related illnesses – residents expressed their deep gratitude for the readily available clean water supply. And the families who previously resided in cramped, nearly collapsing huts and often slept on bare floors, now find security and stability in their new homes.

Pierre Celestin, Chairman of SACOLA, highlighted the organisation’s dedication to improving living standards and fostering community development through collaboration with the Musanze District and the Rwandan Government.

"In partnership with Wilderness, we are dedicated to improving residents' quality of life and will continue collaborating with Musanze District to elevate living standards from poverty to prosperity. Through good governance, we've provided essential resources such as water and livestock while building crucial public infrastructure, including schools, bridges and administrative offices, in various villages and sectors. We extend our gratitude to President Kagame for his unwavering support, and to the Musanze District for their invaluable partnership. Special thanks also go to the Wilderness team for their strong co-operation and effective management of Sabyinyo, without which the new housing and water supply pipeline would not have been possible”, he added.

Recognising the transformative impact of safe housing and access to clean drinking water, these projects represent a ground-breaking development for these communities. Aside from the basic needs associated with this life-source and bettering the wellbeing of local residents, the fair and sustainable use of water fosters harmony and builds resilience for a more stable world.

Perched along the foothills of the volcanic Virunga Mountains, Wilderness Sabyinyo is proudly owned by SACOLA, with the community trust using rentals and community fees generated from the lodge to bolster socio-economic and conservation projects in the local communities. This is closely aligned to Wilderness’ pioneering conservation tourism and impact model, based on the three key pillars of Empower, Educate and Protect.

“Thank you to all our Wilderness Sabyinyo guests for choosing this special destination to enjoy the beauty of the Volcanoes National Park area. Your stay contributes directly to projects like these and improves the lives of so many”, concluded Leonard.