Awareness rising on engaging youth and communities on environment conservation inMuhanga, Ruhangoand Bugesera districts

GER is a Peace building and development organization established in 2015 in Rwanda. The organization is currently present in 5 different districts to support community initiatives in peace building, reconciliation and environmental conservation. GER works with the government institutions, development partners and the communities and African Biodiversity Network.

GER in collaboration with African Biodiversity Network is implementing   a project :   “Engage youth and communities to increase knowledge and participation of young people and communities in environmental conservation”  in Ruhango , Muhanga and Bugesera districts .Participants  attended  dialogues : district’s representative, the sector’s representative, GER personal and many participants (like people from education sector, military, young people, elders, police women). Then all participants stood up to present themselves and the reason why they came to assist at the meeting. We saw so many people from different backgrounds (people from the education sector, farmers, breeders, young people, older people, etc …)

  1. Opening remarks

The GER , executive director Mr. Innocent Musore in his remarks saluted the collaboration with Muhanga   , Ruhango  and Bugeseradistricts and the participants in the event he stood up to thanks everyone for welcoming GER and explained the purpose of this meeting: the promotion of utilization of indigenous knowledge in environmental conservation inside the community.

Mr.Innocent highlighted the importance of environmental conservation as everyoneresponsibility and roles.He also underlined that we will focus on engaging young people and communities to address the environmental conservation issues by equipping communities and next generation with skills and knowledge to ensure the peace and ecological sustainability in their respective schools and communities in Rwanda. It will be done through awareness rising and community education.

GER executive director explained participants that the program involves dialogue among the group members, through welcoming a diversity of experiences.  Innocent said that this will help on bridging knowledge gap between young people and elders in environmental conservation in Rwanda and the selected districts as well.

He appreciates the collaboration with ABN to implement this program in Rwanda, by hoping that it will be scaled up in other area old Rwanda.

The sector’s representative, then, welcomed GER to come in this specific sector in order to share their knowledge on environmental conservation. She asked the executive of GER to continue to be close to the population. Mrs.NyiratungaMuhanga district’s representative thanked  GER for coming and raise awareness towards environmental conservation,  also thanked the participants to come in such number  and the engaging youth in environmental conservational.

  1. Methodology of community dialogue

The methodology used during that dialogue enabled the participants to share their experiences and knowledge on how the environment was before and nowadays, the difference between those two periods. Many differences were underlined. They also expressed the evolution and the factors of this evolution which lead to today’s situation where environmental. They said that their was a problem of deforestation, overpopulation on limited land and the pollution of water sources we used small groups discussion and also presentation, before every participant, on the different solutions.

  1. Group discussions and presentation

Through these discussion questions were about environment issues faced and how to promote the environmental conservation? Which sector of activity could we focus on in order to conserve the environment? (those two questions were brought by the previous discussion) Which part of the flora and fauna has disappeared over the years but was useful for the environment and the population?

To answer those questions, we decided to separate the participants in three different groups (randomly selected). For the first question, the three groups gave one main argument: the lack of knowledge, and specifically the indigenous knowledge andseeds towards environmental conservation. Another argument was that the deforestation for domestic cooking, construction, participants discussed on others  alternatives friendly with environmental conservation.

For the second question, we saw different answers like the sector of farming (which is today responsible of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide), but also the waste management (start a recycling system as well as a large compost system). However, in order to change those sectors to be more respectful towards the environment we will to focus first on the education.

As for the last question, the specie which was mainly named was the bee. The extinction of the bee is a disaster for the environment. In fact, the bee is the key factor the reproduction of the flora and without the flora there would be no life on earth.

Elders recommended mapping knowledgeable people (elders men and women) as mentors in this regards, participants recommended to deep d community dialogues on issues of climate change and rehabilitation of water wells and fighting deforest and disaster management   and drug abuse among young people.  In presentation the participants revealed some endanger species animal and indigenous plant.

GER staffs and communities in community services and terracing Ruhango district 27th January 2018

They also decided to plant trees around the production and GER helped the community. Those trees shall act as a rampart around the food production. We planted in total 9,000 trees.

GERVolunteer at GER from Germany participant in community services at Ruhango Sector Ruhango district 27th January 2018

GER had two main objectives during this visit for the community services in Ruhango district. First one was to give an extra hand to the villagers. And secondly, to promote the importance of indigenous trees on the environment. However, they did not use the indigenous trees to protect their production.

After the effort comes the recomfort. In fact, all villagers will seat down after the work done to listen to different people and authorities about other issues. The minister of the family talked about the importance of equality between women and men. But also, the importance of education and school for a child.GER was able to talk about the environmental conservation and to present itself, its purpose.

Group discussions on issues environment and climate change 2017

1.     Conclusion and Recommendation:

The dialogues on environmental conservation and the participation to the community service were only the beginning and revealed a lot of issues faced by the community. There was a discussion between elders and young people.

This pacific confrontation showed to the participant the knowledge they still need to inquire as well as different solution proposed.

The participants enjoyed of dialogue on environment conservation.As a matter of fact, the participants specifically asked to GER to come back for a more in deep instruction about environmental conservation through indigenous knowledge, training and develop information materials. Moreover, they asked if GER. could come back to that sector to participate in different community services in order to promote the conservation of the environment and support interactions between elders and young people. This enthusiasm proves that at the end every community will be able to protect important water sources by avoiding abusing ecosystems. Youth promised for planting trees and becoming friends of environment in their respective communities

The young people recommended GER to implement such dialogues in schools in order to promote environmental conservation by raising awareness at the youngest age possible.

Participants in community dialogues on enevironement conservation in Cyeza sector Muhanga district

Participants in community dialogues on enevironement conservation in Cyeza sector Muhanga district