The Minister for Environment, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, has urged Rwandan youth to play a role in the country’s efforts of conserving the environment by planting trees.
She was speaking at Ecole Belge on Tuesday, November 22 in an event organised to boost tree planting – especially fruit trees- in schools as a means of not only fighting malnutrition but also conserving the environment.
Addressing the students, Mujawamariya highlighted that the globe is currently faced with a common threat of climate change, and it affects everyone regardless of their age.
“You can see it all over the world in the media, or social networks, and sometimes you experience it. Even in our country, disasters including floods, drought, bush fires, land-slides and so on, take place. It’s all because of climate change,” she said.
She noted that this is why there is a need to work together for the protection of the environment, starting with tree planting but also doing more.
“Trees play a very important role in protecting the environment, because they absorb carbon dioxide and provide oxygen that each of us needs to breathe,” she said.
Working with partners, the Ministry of Environment will provide fruit trees as well as vegetable seeds to various schools in the country.
Such efforts are under a program dubbed “Tera igiti urengere ejo hazaza” (translated as Plant a tree, Save the future). It aims at planting 36 million trees this rainy season from September to December.
Students are encouraged to plant at least one tree every year and follow its growth until it reaches maturity.
“Don’t wait for Umuganda to plant trees. Do these activities whenever you have time,” she urged.
Jean Michel Swalens, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Belgian Embassy which is one of the partners of the campaign, encouraged schools to plant fruits to increase the wellbeing of children in schools.
We want children to have this spirit of loving plants, knowing the importance of planting trees. We can export these fruits to neighbouring countries or some to Europe, but mostly it’s needed here for children for their good nutrition like avocados, mangoes. It’s very useful for the population,” he said.
Pudence Rubingisa, the Mayor of the City of Kigali, said this year is a special one for planting trees, especially due to the fact that it is bringing youngsters into the campaign, “so that children will grow with some skills about conservation.”