Gorilla Highlands Experts now exists for real! 10.5 years after the Gorilla Highlands idea was born in southwestern Uganda — as a humble project by Edirisa — we finally have two proper entities:
• Gorilla Highlands Limited as a tour company (this one has been in existence for a couple of years and is the current only source of funding) and
• Gorilla Highlands Experts, a nonprofit organisation (founded on 18 June 2022)
Over 20 of us gathered at Casa Keza, the cozy green home of our Kigali advertisers and friends, and formed the first general assembly to elect the following leadership of Gorilla Highlands Experts (GHE):
Francois “Misigaro” Rebero (president; student at the African Leadership University), John Peter Rukundo (vice-president; tour guide), Sandrine Benimana (secretary; student at University of Rwanda College of Agriculture, Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine), Florence Uwamahoro (advisor; student at INES-Ruhengeri) and Jean Paul Tuyishime (advisor; social worker)
Do you see how young we have gotten?! We want Gorilla Highlands Experts to be youthful because of the GHE Hubs it will run. Unlike other GHE projects it doesn’t yet have its own page but you can download the concept paper here (it also includes some basics about GHE). If you are interested in helping us make the Hubs a total success, please link up with Misigaro on +250 728 588 396 (WhatsApp) or +250 788 288 496 (calls).
UPDATE, December 2022: The GHE Hubs project is now called Youth Spaces and commences in 2023.
But there is more, so much more! GHE might be new as an organisation, however, as an informal cooperation it has already birthed some powerful projects that we are determined to continue (click on their names below or in the menu above to learn more). And guess what? We welcome helpers from anywhere!
If you fancy media production, we have the SEE AFRICA BREATHE AFRICA podcast for you (message Kahiri on +256 757 822 944 if you want to be part of our podcasting team) and the Pocket Guide booklet (message Charlotte on +256 758 802319 to co-create it in the future).
If you are a foodie, the Gorilla Highlands Silverchef cooking competition and networking event will be your darling. It will be led into the youthful post-pandemic era by Chef Rama. You better drop him a line on +250 788 808 493 — but only if you want to be on the organising team; we aren’t yet ready to accept competitors.
Finally, if you wish to be on the cutting edge of gorilla conservation, have a look at ACTION:GORILLAS and help Turinawe (+256 772 374 519) define where we will be taking this pilot.
… Nope, our project coordinators aren’t students. They are sourced from the international team of experts that will support the local team. This is where the Gorilla Highlands Experts name comes from, after all!
photos by Safari Ombeni and Miha Logar
PS: GHE congratulates our executive board member Jean Paul for becoming Daddy to his first born, Hero Blessing Ishimwe, on 21/6/2022!