Gorilla Doctors PREDICT Field Veterinarian in Rwanda, Dr. Olivier Nsengimana, has been named as one of 22 finalists for the 2014 ROLEX Enterprise Awards. The 22 finalists hail from 13 different countries and are in the running to win vital funding for their particular projects, as well as international acclaim as a 2014 ROLEX Young Laureate. 

In a recent press release, ROLEX announced that the finalists were “chosen from more than 1,800 applicants from around the world in a competitive pre-selection process. These pioneers have demonstrated their determination to solve some of society’s greatest challenges in five general areas: science and health, applied technology, exploration, the environment, and cultural heritage”. 

Dr. Olivier is a native of Gitarama, Rwanda and graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Higher Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (ISAE) – Busogo. In early 2010, Dr. Olivier interned with Gorilla Doctors, working to develop a management plan for the dairy farm at Imbabazi Orphanage. Later in the year, he volunteered for the Gorilla Doctors PREDICT program, taking blood samples from rodents around Volcanoes National Park to be analyzed for infectious disease. For the last 3 years, he has worked alongside Dr. Julius Nziza, the Gorilla Doctors PREDICT Rwanda Country Coordinator, conducting research on emerging pandemic threats in and around Rwanda’s national parks. 

If Dr. Olivier is awarded the 2014 ROLEX Enterprise Award, he will receive funding for a conservation project to save the Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum), an exquisite, large bird found in Sub-Saharan Africa that is threatened from habitat loss and a growing illegal trade. Classified as “endangered” by the IUCN in 2012, the Grey Crowned Crane’s population estimate ranges between 58,000 and 77,000 individuals. 

The Grey Crowned Crane, threatened by habitat loss and a growing illegal trade.

A jury of 8 scientists, environmentalists, conservationists, and social entrepreneurs will meet in Geneva, Switzerland on June 24th to select 5 of the 22 finalists to be awarded the 2014 ROLEX Award for Enterprise. “Each of the 5 winners will receive 50,000 Swiss francs to further their work, a ROLEX chronometer and the benefits of an ongoing, international publicity campaign. They will also have access to the network of more than 100 previous Laureates of the ROLEX Awards”. 

We wish Dr. Olivier the best of luck!

For more information about the ROLEX Awards for Enterprise, click here.

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