Notre Dame de Lourde, a secondary school located in the Southern Province, spent Rwf 5million, last year, on the firewood that it used to cook students’ meals. The school will be relieved of this expense it begins to use renewable energy in the form of biogas.
The government will finance the construction of biogas facilities in Notre Dame d’Lourdes, along with St. Joseph Kabgayi and Ecole des Sciences Byimana. This initiative will cost Rwf192m and the schools will contribute 20 per cent of the project’s total cost.
The switch from firewood to biogas, and other renewable sources of energy, is extremely timely because of the situation that Rwanda finds itself in. Because agriculture is the backbone of our economy, preserving our precious topsoil is of paramount importance.
This preservation isn’t going to be possible if we continue to use firewood, and charcoal, as the primary cooking fuel. Trees have to be felled to provide this energy and without sufficient tree cover, topsoil will continue to run off, muddying our rivers and wasting our precious resource.
While converting from wood fuel to bio and natural gas is expensive in the short term, it will prove to be cost effective in the long term.
The Government of Rwanda has put a lot of emphasis on protecting the environment, from banning polythene bags, launching re-forestation programmes, to encouraging the building of terraces. This initiative, which must be supported, is one such programme.