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Rwanda Landscape

Planet Birdsong is running a case study for its proposed impact model in Rwanda. The Centre of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management (CoEB) at the University of Rwanda provides an established entity and a ready and able partner.
The partnership aims to foster an increased knowledge and interest in the natural world, to expand the role of bird life as a measure of diversity richness, and to develop a better appreciation and knowledge of the interface with sustainable development, whether in communities, education, forestry and agriculture, water management, tourism or urban development, all to enable people to expand their knowledge and grow their livelihoods. The economic distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the imperative of building our natural capital into managing sustainable development in the face of climate change, gives even more urgency to the task. Planet Birdsong anticipates fostering a rigorous, enthusiastic and enduring approach to technical capacity building and sustainable development goals. ​
Participants in the Planet Birdsong project at all levels, flourish through exposure to art, science and technology in the fields of biodiversity, music, audio recording, and computer science. At community level, knowledge and appreciation carries into the working activities of agriculture, forestry, water management and sustainable community development. At a more scientific level, international connections for science and wildlife tourism will benefit.

The project's role of education in sound recordings provides considerable potential contribution locally to the Rwanda Biodiversity Information System and globally to the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology eBird dataset.

COEB Newsletter

In November/December 2021, Planet Birdsong delivered a series of online webinars on birdsong recording, with a view to establishing a cohort of sound recordists and data gatherers in Rwanda. Having completed this initial introductory phase, either through e-learning or (Covid permitting) Planet Birdsong personnel visits, local personnel will continue the programme, with Planet Birdsong providing remote mentoring and technical support. It is expected that data quality control and continuation of data collection and game disbursement will be managed locally. Success metrics include seeing participants move into and actively engaged in practical science at local and international levels, in sustainably implemented development projects and in productive engagement in wildlife tourism.

As a specific example is Planet Birdsong’s aim to record for Rwandan science and posterity the unique and very high-quality work and knowledge of Claver Ntoyinkima a key Guide in Nyungwe Forest National Park. It is believed that his skills, using verbally generated bird sounds to attract the special Albertine Rift Endemics in Nyungwe Forest National Park and then find and identify them to visiting clients, is virtually unique amongst the guides and has a very special legacy value, potentially worthy of being lodged in the National archives at the National Museum of the Environment, subject to government agreement, as well as being used for educational purposes.

The specialised birds and acoustic variations of Rwanda are an example of where a country and sub-country level approach can capture local bird sound characteristics. Rwandan work on the technical aspects will advance the value of the data collection approach for other countries and sub-regions around the world. ​​

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