Since 1995, the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS) has worked as a regional conservation organization focused on biodiversity conservation. Since its inception, ARCOS has upscaled its areas of intervention from the Albertine Rift Region to Africa’s Great Lakes and Africa Mountains.
In December 2022, with support from Climate Action Africa’s South-South exchange mechanism, ARCOS hosted the Africa Mountains Community Exchange to celebrate the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development. The event brought together 200 members of mountain communities from 15 African countries. Special attention was given to the participation of women community group representatives.
Over five days, participants attended sessions to promote information and knowledge exchange on best agricultural practices, biodiversity conservation and value addition on the products from mountain communities.
The CEO and founder of ARCOS, Dr. Sam Kanyamibwa, highlighted the importance of bringing representatives from mountain communities working uphill and downhill, at lake shores and with wetlands to share experiences and practical knowledge on how to enhance sustainable practices in African mountains.
“For the last 27 years, ARCOS has put much effort into capacity building and networking with local institutions,” said Kanyamibwa. “Most of the mountains in Africa are so special because of the services they provide, making the mountain communities so special as the guardians of this treasured resource.”
The mountain exchange was an opportunity to promote resilience to climate change in mountain communities. Ms. Dorothea Mukantabana, from Rwanda, was one of the 21 exhibitors at the exchange.
“It was an honour representing other women from my mountain tea farmer cooperatives at this exchange,” said Mukantabana. “This occasion allowed me to share how women are generating income from tea and taking care of our farms through the power of agroforestry.”
Three field visits in Sholi, Rulindo and Cigumbi were organized for participants to witness various field practices and learn from them.
As a result of the exchange, representatives from the various stakeholders in Africa agreed to promote nature-based enterprises to build resilience to climate change and improve the livelihoods of their communities.