In Memoriam: Dr. James R. Seyler, Chief of Party, DAI-SSENNP “Nyungwe Nziza” Project
Message from the staff of the Nyungwe Nziza Project in memory of Dr. Jim R. Seyler, Chief of Party, DAI-SSENNP “Nyungwe Nziza” Project
On November 23rd, 2013, Dr. Jim Seyler, who was Chief of Party of the DAI-SEEENNP “Nyungwe Nziza” Project suddenly and unexpectedly passed. It’s still hard to believe that he is no longer with us. He always stayed in contact with us on line even when he was out of the country, so every time we turn on our computers, we still keep hoping to receive a nice email from him. Jim was so friendly to us, that we could seek his guidance anytime since he was always there for us. Yes, he was our boss, hence tough sometimes on strict deadlines, as he expected and demanded the best from each one of us. We now wish we could tell him how he has made us more efficient and professional. He made us better! We still hear his voice echoing in our office corridors and his happy whistle after he proclaims “DONE” for all to hear, when he ticks off something on his to-do list, and his hearty laughter after receiving an exciting email! Jim will remain alive forever in our hearts.
Jim loved and believed in his work. We will miss his strong technical and leadership skills in tourism planning and development. His contributions to tourism development in Rwanda, particularly in Nyungwe National Park will not be forgotten. We send our heartfelt thoughts to his family, friends, partners and all staff at DAI and sincere appreciation for having known and worked with him. He was an amazing person! We will carry on the work that he started and do our best as he has always demonstrated to us. We will make him proud.
May his soul rest in eternal peace!
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Strengthening Sustainable Ecotourism in and around Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda (SSENNP) or “Nyungwe Nziza” (Beautiful Nyungwe) Project
Topic of the Project: Ecotourism and Conservation
Implementing Organization: Development Alternatives Inc. DAI
As Rwanda is an emerging tourist destination, Nyungwe Nziza seeks to help the country reach its tourism potential. To do so, this project targets the spectacular and protected Nyungwe National Park (NNP), focusing on inclusive ecotourism development for the benefit of local communities surrounding the park, and leveraging private sector investment in the management, construction, and maintenance of new and existing park infrastructure.
Nyungwe Nziza project is working to transform NNP into a viable ecotourism destination, capable of generating employment and sustainable and equitable income for local communities and other stakeholders, thus providing economic incentives to conserve the rich biodiversity of the Park. Our ultimate goal is a thriving economy in NNP with engaged communities and a private sector that realize they can benefit economically by protecting and leveraging the unique environment in which they live and work.
In addition to establishing Nyungwe as one of Africa’s premier bird watching destinations, Nyungwe Nziza seeks to decrease threats to biodiversity, such as fire, poaching, and mining, by working with communities to develop alternative sources of income; increase NNP visits and revenue; develop NNP as a brand that goes beyond tourism products; and increase local household incomes.
What we are doing:
Our team is designing and implementing market-driven product development and marketing strategies to result in more private sector investment in infrastructure and services. The project is working on developing partnerships and joint ventures between local communities and the private sector to increase the availability of accommodation around the park, as well as new attractions. At the same time, local communities will be trained to integrate into existing and new value chains around niche products such as bird-watching, chimpanzee tracking, and cultural activities. Additionally, the project is targeted to improve policy and enabling environment for ecotourism development as well as building the capacity of the public and private sector towards sustainable ecotourism planning and management.
In the end, the investment to increase the attractiveness of Nyungwe National Park as a unique tourist destination will:
- Diversify the local economy, create jobs, and increase family income, resulting in reduced poverty and reduced threats.
- Forge scalable and creative public-private partnerships to increase investment in and around the Park, resulting in a sustainable, market-driven ecotourism business plan for NNP.
- Improve the ecotourism enabling environment, resulting in sustainable ecotourism development at Nyungwe and beyond.