By Justin Kayiranga
Zoubeda Faida Uwase, a young girl from Rwanda has clearly explained to participants at the fifth African Forest Landscape Restoration Meeting why African youth should be given opportunity to play an active role in afforestation and other environmental conservation programs that are being implanted with the African continent or in the countries in which they live.
Zoubeda Uwase, is an Environmental Activist, data analyst and advocate for sustainable youth in agriculture. She practices conservation farming and is the founder and CEO of Inkindi Modern farmers, a youth-led business that grows and supplies tree nurseries for sustainable land restoration, environmental rehabilitation and greening programs.
Speaking at the meeting which takes place in Kigali from 25th to 28th May 2021, Mr. Zoubeda said “As young people we really need to take part and be involved in the implementation just to achieve sustainable development goals.”
“We are the young people that can play a role in the protection of Environment.” Assured the participants among them the Minister of Environment in Rwanda as well as officials from the African Union Development Agency, development partners, head of environmental agencies among others.
She reminded that Young people constitute a large part of the world’s population and young people will have to live longer with the consequences of the current environmental decisions than were their elders.
She explained how Forest Landscape Restoration connects with agriculture adding that “250 million hectares of farmland is degraded in Africa costing the continent $ 6 billion per year.”
“Restoring Landscape means economic opportunity not only benefits the nation but also promotes social economic conditions, improves the livelihood and the wellbeing of the people.” Mrs. Zoubeda noted
She continues by emphasizing that “Youth in Africa must be equipped with the knowledge, skills and investment to develop innovative solutions that combat hunger and poverty.
We need to implement some areas of intervention, enhancing food security by working with the youth, we must have the young engagement to promote local coops and serve efficiently at household level, protecting and conserving the environment through the promotion of reforestation and planting fruit trees.”
“As the moderator has said, I am the co-founder of the Save environment Initiative. After seeing the challenges that we had, I mobilized my colleagues to do our part and pray a role in protecting the environment and we started from Tree Nurseries that will combat with the environment and fight the climate change while improving the food security where we discussed about that at the national level that we need to introduce the nursery trees at the sector level.” Explains Zoubeda
She reminded that Youth in Environment protection not only creates direct impacts on changing the youth behavior and attitudes but also possibly influences their parents and relatives to take also their part for the healthier Environment and green spaces in Africa.
“Youth are the backbone of the Nation, they can change future society because in Agriculture we have more opportunities and the challenges but also it is where we can do Agri-ecology, climate smart agriculture to have our country, Africa in general to improve the food security and be a continent with a zero hunger.” She noted
Rwanda has set to restore 2 million and have made progress hoping in 2023 will be restoring one and half million hectares with the youth involvement.
From various messages delivered at the AFR100 conference in Kigali, Speakers focused mainly on the importance of Forests in tackling the effects of climate change.
It was also pointed out that the problem of deforestation continues to be felt in various countries and therefore measures should be taken to achieve the goal of restoring 100 million hectares of forests.
The conference which discussed forests in Africa and their role in tackling climate change, might be the first international event held in Rwanda since the COVID19 epidemic.
In this conference, the Minister of Environment of Rwanda also called on the participants to keep in their thoughts the people of Goma and Rubavu Residents who continue to be affected by the effects of the eruption of Nyiragongo Volcano.