Mark and Kristin Sullivan have had a lifelong interest in ecosystem preservation and environmental justice. They began traveling to Africa in 2004. In Rwanda, the Sullivans connected with the people, the cultures, the landscape and the animals. While traveling to one of Rwanda’s national parks, the Sullivans met Vincent and asked him to join them in Nyungwe Forest National Park. It was during that visit that Vincent and the Sullivans bonded with each other and with Nyungwe’s tropical mountain forest with its 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee. The Sullivans visited Rwanda again in 2005-2006.
Rwanda Environment Awareness Organization (REAO) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) created on 05th September 2011 with four Board members. The organization started officially its activities in Rusizi District, Western Province of Rwanda, and registered under the Registration Number: 236/RGB/NGO/2017 of Rwanda Governance Board (RGB). REAO was created to respond to the need of Rwanda’s economy towards Environment Conservation and Protection of Natural Resources which are among the cross-cutting issues of the Rwanda Vision 2020. Rwanda’s economy is heavily dependent on its environment and natural resources, and the livelihoods of communities depend on access, use and management of such resources. Without sound environmental management, development activities in key sectors such as agriculture, industry, infrastructure, commerce, and energy can lead to significant environmental degradation that can undermine economic growth. Thus, there is a need to promote environment awareness and mainstream environment and climate change while addressing national priorities. Priority areas for environment and climate change as cross-cutting issues include:
- Mainstreaming environmental sustainability into productive and social sectors;
- Reducing vulnerability to climate change; and Preventing and controlling pollution.