Environmental Awareness Week Organized by REASON in Rwanda

27 November 2010 | News story

Planting bamboo along Nyabugogo swamp was one of many activities during REASON's week-long series of events. CEC member Charles Gahire reports from Kigali, Rwanda. 

In commemorating the World Environment Day of 5th June 2010, REASON (Rwanda Environment Awareness Services Organisation Network) organized an environment awareness week in Kigali from 10-13 June 2010. The week’s events included lectures, debates, seminars, environmental drama and planting of bamboo along Nyabugogo swamp in Kinamba. (See attached report for photographs)

Nyabugogo swamp is a critical habitat for city biodiversity and an industrial effluent hub of wastes from Kigali City environs and Kigali industrial area. The swamp does the work of filtration and storage of the unwanted heavy metals in our environment. Plantation of bamboo will play a very big ecological role in the control of the pollution of river Nyabugogo and Nyabarongo respectively which are within Kigali city.

Background and history

REASON, a national NGO that has been operating in Rwanda since 1996, has made a steady progress in creating environmental awareness among various stakeholders including government through sensitization campaigns and advocacy. REASON’s activities have been concentrated in schools and other higher institutions of learning by creating environment clubs and environmental action groups.

REASON activities started in Kigali City and later spread to other parts of the country carrying out the following activities:

  • Establishment of environment clubs in schools
  • Afforestation programme in the in Kigali City, Gicumbi, Kayonza, Karongi and Bugesera districts
  • First to decampaign the use of plastics as a non-biodegradable material in Rwanda and the use of Asbestos as a building material
  • Training of women and youth groups in the construction of the improved energy cooking stoves in the districts of Gatsibo and Nyagatare
  • Training of district education officers on how to support and encourage the establishment and management of environment clubs in schools
  • Training of 73 teachers from primary and secondary schools in the country
  • Working with schools and communities around the Akagera National Park in creating public awareness about natural resource conservation and protection of the environment in general.

The awareness week activities will concentrate on issues of water resources, wetlands, biodiversity conservation, and education for sustainable development in Rwanda.

Aims and Objectives

  • To revitalize the environmental club activities in Kigali City schools and the country at large
  • To involve local community mobilization and media in environmental awareness raising
  • To raise advocacy among decision makers in the mainstreaming and adoption of ESD, (Education for Sustainable Development) in all institutions of learning and other development programmes in the country

Global theme: Many species, One planet, One future
Our theme: Biodiversity protection and conservation for sustainability

The activities of the Environment Awareness Week included the following:

DAY 1: Bamboo planting, in Kinamba 1 in Kigali city along Nyabugogo swamp, and was held on 10th June, 2010 about 220 students, 13 teachers, members of the National Police, local leaders and the local population from Rugenge Sector attended the function. Among the dignitories who attended the function was Cyprian Gatete the officer in charge of disaster preparedness and prevention in the Ministry of Disaster and Refugee Resettlement and senior Police Officers representing the Commissioner General of Police. All in all, 2000 bamboo stocks were planted.

DAY 2: Teachers, Local leaders, and Media representative’s attended the workshop held at Hilltop Hotel on 11th June 2010. This attracted 26 teachers from the four districts of Nyarugenge, Kicukiro, Gasabo in Kigali city and Nyanza districts.

DAY 3: Free day

DAY 4: Interclub Parliamentary Mock Debate- Motion ‘Environment and Economic Development”, during morning hours. 220 students from four districts of Nyarugenge, Kicukiro, Gasabo and Nyanza participated in the Debate.

Environmental Concert: This comprised the following activities performed by 220 students from four districts of Nyarugenge, Kicukiro, Gasabo and Nyanza:

  • Songs
  • Music, Dance and Drama
  • Poetry
  • Role plays and mimes

The one-day function was officiated by Mr. Africa Janvier a representative from the Catholic Relief Service in Rwanda.

Conclusion

The awareness week was a great success thanks to Catholic Relief Service and FINA Bank for their support. Thanks to all Head teachers and teachers for their commitment and participation that made this very important day a success. REASON and its staff are determined to keep the candle burning in ensuring the revival and sustainability of environment activities in schools. This activity served as a symbolic gesture in what can be done in the near future by all actors involved once funding and facilitation are put in place and also cover the entire country within a very short time. For the environment to be protected particularly the biodiversity of Rwanda and that in world at large the young people must play a very big role as a result they need to be supported both morally and financially.

For more information, please contact Charles Gahire, National Coordinator, REASON, reasonrwanda@yahoo.com