Environment Club seeks to extend conservation campaign to local communities in Gikomero
By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU
As the world continues to encounter the effects of climate change, some residents of the Gikomero sector in Gasabo District confirm that they themselves feel the consequences and therefore play a significant role in tackling the crisis.
Uwizeyimana Pierre, in charge of feeding livestocks at Don Bosco Muhazi Center said“When we talk about climate change, we as responsible of feeding livestock understand it very well. There are times when we expect rain to fall in March and fall back in February and that’s how we start to experience consequences. The grass dries up and we are unable to feed livestock, and again people plant crops and find it dry which leads to the decline of yields.”
Kabukuru Deogratias works as a farmer in Gikomero Sector. He says that at the moment, in addition to the effects of climate change in different ways, the population growth continues to be a leading cause to the damaging environment.
He said the population increase results in land use pressure.
“For example, a parent owned one hectare of land and probably had four children. Now four children have grown up needing to divide the land. Since the divided land is not enough for farming, people start to overuse it. Once upon a time we used to use our land in a manner that favors crop rotation system. Now it is not possible because of the fact that the small portion we have cannot be spared for crop rotation. We always cultivate the same land without pause and that leads to the loss of soil originality which diminishes yields” Kabukuru added.
“First and foremost, people need to be educated on how to use land wisely and to be guided on how to conserve it,” he said.
Climate change issues are one of the world’s biggest concerns due to the continuing impact on human health and the environment.
Chantal Musabyimana is a member of the Don Bosco Muhazi Environmental Protection Club.
On her side, she explains, “When we look at our families for instance, personally I see that the crop harvest has reduced compared to the past when they were easily getting organic fertilizers. To fertilize the land enough, they could put in manure but because the weather has changed, they can’t get that fertilizer easily.”
Not only that, Musabyimana cites the example of the past saying that “Rwandans used to grow crops that were beneficial to other organisms, yet due to the toxicity of the soil or the chemicals used, there are other organisms that are dying from the efffects of chemicals used in modern agriculture.”
She added “Some decades ago, in many places of Rwanda they used to cultivate coffee plantations. And through the plantations bees came to find honey from coffee flowers, but because of the use of pesticides sprayed on coffee trees to fight diseases for example, bees die instantly because the place where they extracted the honey is not natural.”
Ndahayo Jean Cluade, Head of the environmental club at Don Bosco Technical and Vocational Education Training Center Muhazi which is located in Gikomero Sector confirms that as a Club they have the ability to tackle the effects of climate change through conservation of environment.
“We have been in the club for two years and we are doing a variety of activities including protecting the trees in the center, planting new trees, removing the waste that can damage Lake Muhazi, campaigning and advocating for the environment and so on,” he said. He added that “as club members if we have the means we can start a nursery trees from which we can get trees and distributes them to local communities on Gikomero hill. Of course fruits trees are most favorable here and in that case we can fight hunger and malnutrition among the people here.”