CEO travels to Rwanda for the Tusk Conservation Symposium

Our CEO, Theresa Sowry, recently attended the Tusk Conservation Symposium hosted by Tusk Trust in Rwanda from 3 to 8 March 2024. Held biennially, the Tusk symposium brings together beneficiaries to exchange project insights, share ideas, and foster partnerships. This year was particularly special as Theresa reunited with longtime friend, Miguel Goncalves, a Park Warden at Ponta do Ouro and Maputo National Park.  

Rwanda was selected as the venue for the symposium to showcase the country’s resilience and post-genocide recovery. Highlighted projects included the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association’s work at the Rugezi Marsh. This was led by Dr Olivier Nsengimana, who designed a unique conservation project to protect endangered grey-crowned cranes, earning him the Rolex Award for Enterprise. 

Following visits to Umusambi Village and Rugezi Marsh, workshops on community-driven conservation were conducted. The symposium also introduced the new CEO of Tusk Trust, Nick Bubb, (pictured right) who earlier this year took over the reins from Tusk founder, Charlie Mayhew OBE, who has taken on a new full-time executive role as Tusk’s President. 

Topics covered during the workshops at the MANTIS hotel outside Akagera National Park included Wildlife Conservation Economies, Fundraising and Communication with Donors. The participants were encouraged to develop and submit collaboration grants to Tusk for potential funding. The SAWC submitted several of these grants for funding opportunities along with other delegates. We are hopeful to receive positive news on these grant applications. 

The symposium’s last day was spent in Akagera National Park, where African Parks highlighted joint management options and explained community involvement in their programme’s success. The final session emphasized the crucial need for evolution and succession in African conservation organizations – a topic the CEO will be further addressing at the College. Returning to the MANTIS hotel, delegates enjoyed a fantastic final evening of fun and laughter, dressing in traditional African attire from supported countries. 

On behalf of our CEO, we are extremely buoyed by this incredible symposium experience. We would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Tusk team for their collaborative engagement and support over the years and to Sarah Watson for organising this unforgettable conference.

“Conservation is certainly not just a cause; it’s a community!” 

Leave a Reply