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Empowering Rwandan youth for the environment and sustainable development

Nature Rwanda is committed to providing 250,000 young Rwandans with skills and knowledge that are useful for conserving biodiversity and managing natural resources for the sustainable development of our country by 2025.

As part of the reciprocal exchange component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for young African leaders, more than 100 young Rwandans benefited from two workshops organized by Nature Rwanda in collaboration with Earth Corps, the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity Conservation and Nature Resources Management and Young Volunteers for the Environment Rwanda in Huye and Nyarugenge districts.

The workshops brought together undergraduate students from different universities, from various disciplines, with a common interest in nature conservation. Through different sessions, they discussed their role in biodiversity conservation and engaged in an interactive sessions on system thinking towards environmental advocacy. 

According to Jean Claude Dusabimana, Executive Director of Nature Rwanda, it is essential to enable young people to take initiatives in the field of the environment and to influence environmental policies, as they are the future leaders and decision-makers of the country.

“Providing them with the means to solve current environmental problems is the only way to ensure the sustainable development of our country,” he said.

In addition, Dusabimana added that young people can also make their institutions, homes, and communities more environmentally friendly by adopting environmentally friendly activities while encouraging people around them to do the same.

Steve Dubiel, Executive Director of Earth Corps, emphasized on the importance of youth empowerment for sustainable development.

“When young people acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and opportunities on current environmental issues, they can work with advisory bodies and be strongly involved in environmental management to makeover lasting impact,” he said.

Prudence Ndabasanze, President of Nature Rwanda and Mandela Washington Fellow 2016, explained why Nature Rwanda focuses on empowering young people as drivers of sustainable development.

“Understanding the role young people can play in biodiversity conservation and natural resources management; challenges and opportunities, is crucial for sustainable development,” he said.

It is worth noting that Nature Rwanda and EarthCorps both work to build communities where people live in harmony with nature. Both organizations are mandated to train the next generation of leaders to gain hands-on experience. Nature Rwanda is a registered, youth-led non-governmental organization that has been operating in Rwanda since 2017 with the goal of building communities where human being lives in harmony with nature and coexist without compromising the well-being of future generations. EarthCorps is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization based in Seattle, Washington, the United States that develops leaders to strengthen the community and restore the health of our environment.