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Evaluating the Relationship between National Park Management and Local Communities’ Perceptions Based on Survey, a Case of Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda

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Document pages: 19 pages

Abstract: A sustainable management of national park requires collaboration between park staff, NGOs, local organizations and stakeholders, and government intervention. This collaboration promotes community-based welfare and inspires a sense of responsibility, thus promoting more benefits than conflicts. A survey administered to residents surrounding Nyungwe National Park was used to evaluate the relationship between Nyungwe National Park management and local communities. The residents acknowledged a positive attitude towards participating in conservation organizations where there was involvement, while a negative response revealed weak community mobilization. The community’s opinions about protection and tourism progression noted weak conflict resolution, but a positive attitude towards tourism activities in the area since they believed employment was likely as a result. In addition, the residents asked for support from government investments and stakeholders to develop the local private sector, and asked to be involved during the planning process. Approaches including the design of coordination mechanisms and integrated conservation and developments projects are suggested to promote a management structure leading to community involvement in conservation and tourism activities. This will increase visitor numbers and contribute to economic development not only in the region but also in the whole country. Empirical studies along with the factors shaping tourism and conservation activities should be considered as the basis for sustainable decision and policy making for sustainable management, and will contribute to government, stakeholders and park manager collaborations at Nyungwe national park.

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