Young environmentalists from across Rwanda are meeting today to share knowledge and ideas and participate in an exhibition that will scale up the impact of their green initiatives. The gathering has been organised by the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) with the support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations and the European Union, through UNDP-UNEP Poverty Environment Action for SDGs Project.
The one-day workshop will equip young Rwandan entrepreneurs leading existing climate change, environment and natural resources initiatives with knowledge on environmental innovation and how to access green investment.
Young people have a critical role in protecting our environment, addressing the climate crisis and halting biodiversity loss. While not responsible for the environmental challenges they face, young people have passion and ingenuity that can be harnessed to bring about behaviour change in their communities, create green jobs as well as foster tangible benefits for the natural world.
“Young Rwandans are already coming up with exciting businesses that are solving complex environmental challenges, from organic compost and green pavers to sustainable furniture. We need to draw on their innovation and spirit of entrepreneurship to demonstrate and promote the benefits of linking socio-economic transformation with environmental sustainability,” said Juliet Kabera, Director General, Rwanda Environment Management Authority.
As part of the workshop, the participants will have the opportunity to showcase their initiatives through an interactive exhibition. The exhibition will allow attendees to learn and share experience and skills and encourage others to join in building a green Rwanda by creating green innovation initiatives and investments that promote the sustainable use of national resources for socio-economic development.
Participants of the workshop come from all 30 districts of Rwanda, and many have been awarded through green innovation competitions organised by REMA and UNDP since 2019. Upon completing the workshop, the young people will be linked to investment opportunities, including Made in Rwanda initiatives, and the most innovative initiatives will be promoted to expand their impact.
“At UNDP, we recognise that youth play a pivotal role in driving innovations that help to protect the environment and use natural resources sustainably. We reiterate our commitment to support and accompany them to find sustainable solutions to the growing challenges posed by the environment and climate change crisis, through green entrepreneurship,” said Varsha Redkar-Palepu, Deputy Resident Representative of United Nations Development Programme in Rwanda.
Young people play an important role in sustainable development and there is a need to empower them to take a stake in their future, be part of solving the challenges facing their communities and support them to create new opportunities for employment and green growth. The joint Rwanda Environment Management Authority, UNDP-UNEP Poverty Environment Action and European Union workshop aims to achieve this.