Save Environment Initiative in partnership with Ngozi Naturals organized a two-day virtual conference from August 18th to 19th, 2021, with the theme “Youth Engagement in Ecosystem Restoration.” The event featured important guests from governmental and non-governmental organizations who engaged in discussions on various topics.

In her opening remarks, Rachel TUSHABE, Director of Advocacy and MEAs at REMA, used the definition of sustainable development to emphasize that ecosystem restoration is an endeavor for both present and future generations. She highlighted the ongoing efforts of the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) in restoring various areas and expressed their commitment to continued restoration. “Ecosystem restoration should be viewed as a restoration of life itself, and we should all be actively involved in this process,” Tushabe stated. She underscored the role of youth in addressing the climate crisis, emphasizing that ecosystem restoration should begin in their homes and surroundings to create a better future for the next generation.

Dr. Susan Chomba from Vital Landscape for Africa addressed the youth in the environmental sector, emphasizing the numerous opportunities available for landscape restoration. She commended the Government of Rwanda for its dedication to landscape restoration and encouraged Rwandan youth to leverage this commitment.

Professor Beth Kaplin, Director of the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity & NRM and researcher at the University of Rwanda, urged young people to engage in discussions with their peers, utilize global platforms for climate action, and harness available resources such as social media and research to better understand and combat environmental challenges.

Mr. Bernardin UZAYISABA, a program analyst at UNDP Rwanda, highlighted the significance of youth involvement in ecosystem restoration. He encouraged entrepreneurs to focus on problem-solving before considering financial gain, suggesting that sustainable solutions to challenges would naturally attract support. He emphasized the importance of independence among entrepreneurs and agripreneurs.

Dr. Abias MANIRAGABA from the University of Lay Adventists of Kigali (UNILAK) emphasized the role of education in raising environmental awareness. He acknowledged the contributions of Save Environment Initiative and expressed UNILAK’s support for community outreach and engagement of students in the organization’s initiatives.

Mr. Charles KARANGWA, IUCN Rwanda representative, highlighted the multifaceted benefits of restoration, stating that restored forests support diverse land use. He pointed out that every dollar invested in restoration could yield a return of 7 to 30 dollars, emphasizing the opportunities available to young people.

Michelle DeFreese from the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) encouraged youth to explore opportunities and challenges in the energy sector. She presented Rwanda’s advancements in the energy sector, including the adoption of electric cars and motors.

Ms. Dorine MUTAGANZWA, a young conservationist and greenpreneur, stressed the importance of taking action against climate change due to the uncertainties it poses for the planet’s future. She urged fellow young individuals to begin acting immediately.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Patrick Karera, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, underscored the responsibility of Rwandan youth in contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation. He urged the youth to stay informed by reading newspapers, participating in global platforms, and understanding the requirements of ecosystem restoration. He expressed appreciation for Save Environment Initiative and Ngozi Naturals for organizing the event.





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