Rosette Chantal Rugamba, the founder of Songa Africa, an East African tourism and hospitality company has been appointed to the World Wide Fund (WWF) for nature international board.
Rugamba was appointed alongside Kenya’s Paula Kahumbu, according to a statement released by the organisation on Tuesday, January 18.
The appointment of Rugamba, the former Deputy Chief Executive of Rwanda Development, was attributed to her extensive experience on the African continent, which the organisation said ‘will be a strong asset’ as it works with communities and partners to help build a nature-positive world by 2030.
Rugamba’s appointment is also part of the organisation’s efforts to put women’s participation in decision-making at the forefront, the statement added.
“I am delighted to welcome Rosette Rugamba and Paula Kahumbu to the WWF International Board. These esteemed leaders share a passion for and experience in the fields of African conservation, sustainable tourism, protected areas, community engagement and women’s empowerment,” said Marco Lamberthini, Director General of WWF International.
She added that both trustees are an inspiration in their passion and achievements in marrying nature conservation and socio-economic development.
“Given the significance of Africa to conservation, it is an honour to be able to count on the support of two tremendous African leaders based on the continent who bring with them a wealth of directly relevant experience and insights,” Lamberthini added.
The development, according to her, comes at a time when the organisation is working hard with communities and partners to help build a nature-positive world by 2030.
“Our new trustees will provide crucial insight that will help our efforts to promote gender equality as an essential building block for sustainable development and effective conservation.”
Rugamba has wide ranging experience in ecotourism since joining the tourism sector 24 years ago.
She currently serves on the board of Women for the Environment Africa, a body whose aim is to empower women leaders working in conservation in Africa as well as being a special advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation on sustainable tourism in Africa.
Commenting on the appointment, Rugamba said it was humbling and enthusiastic to join the ‘panda family.
“Serving on WWF’s board is a great opportunity to increase my contribution to collective efforts to save our planet and help safeguard the future of nature and humanity,” she added.
Among other previous roles, Rugamba has also served as Deputy CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), and a member of the Global Ethics committee at the United Nations World Tourism Organization.