New School Year for Karisoke Children
The start of the new year is the start of the Rwandan school year.
Since 1999, DFGFI has been supporting the education of the children of the Karisoke Research Center field staff, through the payment of school fees and the provision of school equipment (pens, notebooks, mathematic sets and school uniforms).
There are currently 124 children enrolled in primary school, 11 children in secondary school, and starting this year one student will be supported through his training at the nearby agricultural training school (ISAE). This program has been immensely beneficial, encouraging education.
To further encourage the children in their studies, this year we acknowledged the performance of all children achieving 70% or more in their end-of-year exams.
The top-ranked child was Habiyambere, who proved that high scores are indeed possible as he was awarded with an overall score of 94.7% at the end of the third year of primary school. Habiyambere is the son of Appolonaire Hingabugabo, a previous Karisoke employee who sadly died in 2004 following a long-term illness.
The new year is also a time of reporting, writing and planning ahead for 2006. This year 15 staff members participated in the Karisoke annual planning exercise and now the year looks set to be full of activities. A number of new staff are joining us, and some of the current staff will be continuing their important research.
Veronica Vecellio joins us from Italy. Veronica brings to us a wealth of previous field experience in Gabon, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, working with gorillas and bonobos. We are all excited to have her working with us on the collection and management of data on the long-term behavior and demography of the mountain gorillas.
Theogene Ngaboyimana has joined Karisoke to assist in an ongoing study of male gorilla behavior and physiology. Theo previously conducted his undergraduate research at Karisoke on ungulate behavior in the Virungas National Park, and has since been working as a research assistant investigating the economics of tourism. Theo is looking forward to getting back into the forest.
Other students from the National University of Rwanda will also join Karisoke to continue their research interests and to assist in the supervision of new students following in their footsteps.
Aimable Nsanzurwimo will continue to update the KRC botanical records, improving our herbarium and training field staff in plant identification.
Claudien Nsabagasani is undergoing further ornithological training in Nyungwe Forest, and upon his return will train field teams in the Virungas National Park, and also continue monitoring of the Albertine Rift endemic and endangered bird species, such as Grauer's rush warbler.
Deo Tuyisingize is helping analyze the results of the golden monkey research collected to date and continue training and supervision of the field staff. Deo will present the results of the study to date at the International Primatological Society meeting in Uganda later this year.