Master in Tourism Destination Management /Experience from TDM perspective

My name is DUSHIMUMUKIZA Marie Claire, a former TDM student (2012-2013) at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands. I am currently working with Kitabi College of Conservation and Environmental Management (KCCEM) as a Director of Academic Programs and Research Development. KCCEM located on the outskirts of Nyungwe National Park, Nyamagabe District, South East of Rwanda, is an academic institution, operating under the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and its programs accredited under Workforce Development Authority (WDA), with the mandate to develop capacity in Conservation, Tourism and Environmental Management in Rwanda and the wider Albertine Rift Region. The college offers two years diploma programmes in the following three departments; diploma in Wildlife Management, diploma in Wildlife Tourism and diploma in Forestry and nature conservation while it offers several different tailor-made Competence Based Learning short courses training programs.

The following are few of my responsibilities: Ensure KCCEM functions as a regionally recognized college of choice in conservation, tourism and environmental training through the coordination and implementation as well as on-going review of academic policies, plans and programmes which are consistent with its mission and objectives and in compliance with the national Law and policies. Coordinate and enhanced sustainability of KCCEM’s academic activities, through competence-based learning programmes at certificate and diploma level; and tailor-made short courses for mid-career professionals.Coordinate and develop KCCEM research unit through a cost-effective applied research programme, supportive to the training programmes, providing field exposure and research skills to its students.

Since my arrival in the institution, considering my TDM experience and professional experience in tourism (worked with Rwanda Development Board, Tourism and Conservation department for 13 years), I was and still am the key coordinator for the development and implementation of several training programmes in tourism such as agri-tourism, community based tourism, avi-tourism, religious tourism, cultural tourism etc. I also contributed to the review of a tourism curriculum developed at the college.

Although, I have too much work, I like my job because it is directly linked to my background studies, I meet several academicians, I expand my networks and take part in decision making of the institution. Biodiversity conservation, environmental management and research activities are new areas of focus I have to deal with, even if they are all interlinked with ecotourism.

Recently, I travelled to Wageningen in Netherlands for work mission, and I used that opportunity to catch up with my former classmates and share great moments we had together. From 17th to 28th November 2014, I was in training on the “Landscape functions and People” at RECOFTC, Center for People and Forestry at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand. It reminded me the HNTV programs, the overall TDM experience was great but the most memorable time was the second phase of field work when we travelled to different destinations in Asia including Bangkok, Thailand.

Sincerely speaking, this is a challenging position, which requires a combination of different leadership characteristics, values and skills. I am quite doing well towards the institutional goals and I am inspired to create an impact within and beyond the institution.

This story is written by Marie-Claire Dushimumukiza who was a student being able to study at the NHTV via a NUFFIC scholarship.