“YOUTH ENGAGEMENT IN ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION”
Save Environment Initiative in partnership with Ngozi Naturals has organized a virtual conference of two days from 18th August to 19th ,2021 with theme ” Youth Engagement in Ecosystem Restoration”.We had very important guests from Governmental and Non Governmental Organizations where they engaged with us on various topics!
In her opening remarks,Rachel TUSHABE,Director of Advocacy and MEAs at REMA, used definition of sustainable development where she argued that we restore for the present and for the future generations ,she also mentioned that Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) had been restoring different places and they will continue to do so.”We should look at ecosystem restoration as if it is a life restoration and we should be involved in ecosystem restoration as well”Tushabe said. “It is the responsibility of the youth to engage in any activity that will help with the climate crisis,ecosystem restoration should start in their homes,and everywhere they are because restoring the present environment will build a better future for the next generation,”she added.
We had also guest from Vital Landscape for Africa,Dr. Susan Chomba,urged youth in environmental sector that there are many opportunities to work on in terms of landscape restoration,she also thanked Government of Rwanda for its political will in landscape restoration and she encouraged young people from Rwanda to use that opportunity.
For other special guests and speakers in that event,we had Professor Beth Kaplin,Director of Center of Excellence in Biodiversity & NRM and researcher at University of Rwanda,urged all the youth to discuss with other youth groups,use global platforms on climate action,”All young people can use the available resources like social media,research and learn about the environment and always observe any change which helps us in the fight” she added.
Mr. Bernardin UZAYISABA a program analyst at UNDP Rwanda ,he emphasized on why youth are needed in ecosystem restoration.He urged entrepreneurs that they should before think on the problems instead of money and when they come up with sustainable solutions for those problems,money and all pieces will be around for the support.”Entrepreneur/agripreneur must be independent ,don’t wait for others”he added
We had also special guest from, University of Lay Adventists of Kigali (UNILAK),Dr. Abias MANIRAGABA,presented the roles of education in creating environmental awareness,he pointed out that education is a key to success and it help to gain personal control of the life,he appreciated the work that Save Environmental Initiative is doing and mentioned that UNILAK as institution where members of this organization come from,they are very happy for what the organization is doing and they will help them in community outreach and they will engage other students in what SEI is doing now!
Mr. Charles KARANGWA, IUCN Rwanda representative, urged the youth that there are many benefits of restoration,” A restored forest incorporates many diverse land use”,Charles said. In ecosystem restoration he added that ” Every dollar invested in restoration can bring 7 to 30 dollars in return,it is time for young people to use that opportunities ,there is no small change”.
Michelle DeFreese from the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI),urged the youth how they can explore opportunities and challenges in the energy sector,she presented how the energy sector in Rwanda is improving where she mentioned the electrical cars and motors that are being used in Rwanda.
We had also a young conservationist and greenpreneur ,Ms. Dorine MUTAGANZWA,”We as young people we need to understand that the biggest issue with climate change is the uncertainty that it brings because we are not sure of what our planet and country will look like in the future so we need to start acting now,”she said
In his closing remarks,Mr. Patrick Karera a permanent secretary in Ministry of Environment,urged young people to be aware that Rwanda is facing climate change and there are the ones to contribute in mitigation and adaptation measures,he dded that youth should get informed ,read a lot newspapers,joining global platforms in order to know what is really needed in ecosystem restoration.He also appreciated Save Environment Initiative and Ngozi Naturals for organizing this event.
ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLY ACTIVITY
On December 17,2021 Save Environment Initiative had event dubbed “Role of Youth in climate actions and implications for sustainable community livelihoods”. Save Environment Initiative together with the students and lectures of University of Lay Adventists of Kigali (UNILAK) and Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) collected non-biodegradable waste in Rugenge wetland,they also planted bamboo trees around Kagina river as the main activity of the day. Rugenge wetland and Kagina River are located in Kicukiro sector of Kicukiro District and connect to Gikondo, Rwintare and Nyabugogo wetlands which play a crucial role in water filtration that flows into Nyabugogo River. There are many problems caused by the solid and plastic waste dumped in wetlands where aquatic species suffer, and it is also a serious issue to water supply. Also bamboo trees were planted around Kagina river where we believe that they will reduce the potential for runoff and erosion. Josaphat Kanyeshuri, a researcher and lecturer at UNILAK emphasized on wetland management and he said that Kigali wetlands will fail to play a role in absorbing carbon dioxide if we sit with arms crossed! Kubwimana Concorde ,Representative of Save Environment Initiative argued that it requires consistent monitoring to ensure if wetlands are well protected and they will continue such activities. “Today’s activities are part of our objectives where we intend to promote environment safety and sustainability for future generations”,he added. Patrick Muhoza, in Charge of International obligations at Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), said that plastic waste dumped near the river connected to the wetland,cause many problems when it rains,he mentioned water bodies and biodiversity as the main areas to be affected by plastic wastes. “We are working with the World Bank to secure funding to rehabilitate polluted wetlands and control floods in Kigali,” he said.