The Banda community nestles at the bottom of a valley against the edge of Nyungwe National Park, an area with the distinct advantage of hosting the largest habituated Chimp group (Mayebe) for about three months a year due to the abundance of fig trees in the area.
The Cooperative was formed in 2003 and has 55 active members.
The objectives of the Cooperative are two fold: to protect nature especially Nyungwe forest; and enhance the community’s ecotourism activities in Banda village. More specifically, the second objective aims at increasing productivity and income for the community around Nyungwe National Park through development of community-based ecotourism activities.
The Kitabi Women’s Handicraft Cooperative is also located at the entrance of Nyungwe National Park in Kitabi Sector, about a 3 hour drive from Kigali. The Cooperative is one of several community-based ecotourism initiatives supported by USAID to help transform Nyungwe National Part into a viable ecotourism destination, generating income for local communities living in and around the park.
The Cooperative was established in 2008 and is managed by 55 women members that are involved in the production and sale of Rwanda handicrafts including traditional baskets, place mats, plastic shopping bags, jewelry, wood carvings, sweaters and much more.
The Cooperative also seeks to improve the lives of Kitabi women by generating income through the sales of their handicraft products and by providing refreshments to visiting tourists at their sales point kiosk.