Youth have been called on to get involved work environmental conservation efforts as one of the ways to improve livelihoods.
The call was made at a regional conference organised at the weekend by Sustaining Rwanda Youth Organisation in partnership with Rufford Small Grant Conservation project, in Kigali.
The meeting discussed sustainable ways of conserving the environment and ways of enhancing coordination and partnership in conservation between the regional countries of Burundi, DR Congo, South Sudan and Rwanda.
Opening the conference, Dr Rose Mukankomeje, the director-general of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (Rema), said educated youth should teach others in their villages about conservation issues.
“Conserving the environment is not about planting trees alone but also helping Rwandans in changing their mindset. A country can depend on its people but also Rwanda’s economy and the livelihoods of its people depend on natural resources,” she said.
Alphonse Karenzi, director of Sustaining Rwanda Youth Organisation, an NGO, advised the youth to take advantage of various environment conservation grants provided by various organisations within and outside the country.
“Many people spend most of their time searching for jobs while there are many opportunities and grants in natural resources. Everyone can take advantage of this as long as you love and can conserve the environment,” Karenzi said.
Some of participants at the conference said Rwandan environment conservation policies offer good example to inspire others in their countries.
“Rwanda’s environment is inspiring. I am going to apply what I have learnt from Rwanda in my country,” Iregi Mwenja, from Kenya, said.
The two-day conference was attended by more than 70 leaders of youth organisations from regional countries, facilitated by Rufford Small Grant Conservation project, based in England.