Valerie grew up in Gakenke District in the Northern Province of Rwanda. In 2005, she worked as a translator and guide for Amahoro Tours, a community – based tourism company based in Musanze. During her studies at Ruhengeri Institute of Higher Education-INES, she interned with the Rwandan Parliament, translating and interpreting speeches and government documents. She also conducted an independent study, "Interpreting Problems Faced by Guides in Cultural Tourism", which focused on the importance of proper training for guides who work in community–based tourism. In 2007, she received a Bachelor of Translation and Interpreting. Since 2006, Valerie has worked closely with Julie Ghrist, the AoC director, assisting with administrative tasks, as well as teaching and translating conservation and health education lessons in the classroom. In June 2013, she started working as a Program Director for Conservation Heritage – Turambe.
Studio Artist and Conservation Educator
Eric grew up in Musanze District, Northern Province, Rwanda. He attended secondary school at the School of Art Nyundo in Gisenyi, Rwanda and has worked mostly as a graphic artist producing logos and signage for a variety of clients, including the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, The Gorilla Organization, and other NGOs, businesses, and eco-tour operators. From 2006 till 2013, he worked for Art of Conservation as a Studio Artist & Teacher leading students in lessons about drawing, painting, color theory, and other art topics. In June 2013, he started his work with CHT.
Project Manager and Data Collection Technician
Emmanuel Mukama grew up in Gicumbi District, Northern Province, Rwanda. He studied biology and chemistry in secondary school. In 2009, Mukama served as a science teacher at Groupe Scolaire de Bisika in Gicumbi District. He obtained a government scholarship to pursue his studies at the University of Rwanda in 2010. Due to his commitment and excellent performance in his studies of zoology and conservation, Mukama was awarded to conduct his bachelor project in Volcanoes National Park (VNP) sponsored by Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International/Karisoke Research Center in partnership with National University of Rwanda. His project was about “Mother-infant behavior in golden monkeys”. At university, he also served as a treasurer of the Rwandan University Club for Conservation of Biodiversity. In 2013, to pursue his carrier in biodiversity conservation he volunteered with Art of Conservation (AoC). At AoC, he was fully inspired and thrilled with its great and impactful work of providing conservation and health messages to local communities bordering VNP. After graduating from University in 2013, he worked on different tasks, but was always drawn to conservation education. In 2015, he started working with Conservation Heritage-Turambe as Project Manager and Data Collection Technician. He believes that education is a key factor to change human mindsets.