In June 2020, Prime Biodiversity Conservation (PBC) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Rwanda (FES) organized a virtual YOUNG LEADERS DIALOGUE to inspire young actors from different universities in Rwanda to act on climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The program directly brought together forty (40) student leaders from twelve (12) Universities both public and private. Indirectly the selected leaders have the potential of reaching up to 15,000 young people through students organized public talks in their respective universities and social media outlets.

David Niyonsaba, the executive director of PBC said that“Being in a partnership with FES Rwanda to carry out this program has presented the group with an immense opportunity to contribute towards the global obligation of educating and exposing young leaders to issues that affect our planet, health, and economy. Involving them at such a young age means that we are planting seeds that will grow to be future drivers of the environment.” He expressed his deepest gratitude and appreciation to FES Rwanda for owning the program, Speakers, and participants to prioritizing climate change conversation at the right time’’

Oliver Dalichau, the FES Rwanda resident representative said that, together with local NGO's and trade unions, FES Rwanda promotes Social Justice, Social Protection, Good Governance, Decentralization and Democracy for about two (2) years now in Rwanda. FES hosted conversations from Gender, ICT, Economic Integration SDGS awareness and implementation with many more. This year we partnered with PBC as our key partner in driving conversations on climate change. Also being part of organizations that are tackling the effect of climate change in one way or another is not only a privilege but also an obligation since we are one of oldest foundations hence making programs like “Young Leaders Dialogue on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Program” a perfect fit for our activities. I would like to thank PBC, Speakers, and participants who joined us in implementing this program and we are looking forward to working with you in any associated activities. Murakoze Cyane’’

The first 2 days workshop kicked off at the FES office in March 3rd and 4th, 2020 whereby 10 university students joined the conversation. On the first day, Aicha Seifelislam, currently doing her PhD in Ecological modelling, facilitated a discussion on General effects of climate change on a global scale narrowing the conversation on the local context. Students asked questions about environment, global warming, and climate change.

During a panel discussion facilitated by Yvette Ishimwe the CEO at Iriba Group, Students raised questions to the panelist Faustin Munyezikwiye; the Deputy Director General at Rwanda Environment Authority about climate change initiative financing, awareness, and citizen participation in government agenda. Mr. Faustin appreciated the effort of PBC and FES and he added that such programs will help the government to achieve its targets towards climate change mitigation and adaptation.

On the second day during a panel discussion facilitated by Jaqueline Musoni from RDB, the panelist Mr. Karera Patrick who is the permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Environment emphasized on analysis of Coupled Human-Environment Systems and what should be done on individual level. In his final remarks, he reminded participants that they are future business owners, policy makers, farmers, therefore they should be mindful of their daily actions towards environment since every decision affect the present as well as the future. Another session on strategies for Limiting Climate Change on Rwandan context was led by Mr.Eugene

Digital discussion

Joining the efforts to utilize technology in support of remote learning, distance education and online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic; on June 3rd and 4th, 2020 the program was organized via a virtual video conference.

The second workshop focused mainly on SDGs and climate change using the SDGs comic book recently developed by FES Rwanda. Salvatrice Musabyeyezu, the program officer at FES, highlighted the impact of climate change in achieving agenda 2030.

In the second session Dr. Kalisa Egide a lecturer at the university of Rwanda, facilitated a session on air pollution during COVID-19, Dr. Kalisa discussed the effect of air pollution on health, economy, and environment.

On the second day of the workshop, Miss Magalie Ntahokaja, a lecturer at the university of Rwanda and individual consultant, hosted a workshop on Rwanda preparedness and response on the effect of climate change especially in the times of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. She shared on the measures used and that can be used for mitigation and adaptation including Climate metrics.

In his closing remarks, Oliver Dalichau said that, he is delight at being part of the propitious occasion that brought together young women and men from various higher learning Institutions of Rwanda. He emphasized that youth are the leaders of today and tomorrow, therefore we should engage them to be part and parcel in solving pressing problems that affect them as well as their entire nation. "FES Rwanda is committed to keep hosting conversations like this and is open to new ideas that help to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change." Oliver concluded


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