Rwanda’s Youth Participation in environmental protection

 “Rwanda, a developing country in East Africa with overly dense population has agricultural economy. About 82 percent cultivable land needs irrigation. During dry season and due to climate change, demand for secondary irrigation is increasing. Irrigation by electric power, diesel pump and solar pumps are some of the existing alternatives. However, due to the high cost of buying, running, and maintaining these systems smallholder farmers are unable to use them, constantly keeping them in their cycle of poverty”, said Joseline Ihirwe

Climate change intensifies the current vulnerabilities of young people.  Seemingly the youth are worried about the remarkable dangers postured by global climate change and many are as of now encountering its effects, for example, expanding water shortage, declining nourishment security, and increasing disasters and infection dangers. Youth not just have a privilege to take part in reacting to environmental change, however they additionally have a should be included since environmental change is a defining issue of their present and future lives.

The gap between knowledge and action poses a major challenge to behavioral responses to climate change despite growing knowledge and awareness. Education for sustainable development and action competence provide a framework for viewing the role of climate change education in developing the awareness, motivation and skills necessary for youth participation in climate change to overcome these challenges. Responding to climate change offers an opportunity to address and prioritize sustainable development if the broader system of interdependent economic, social and environmental forces is also considered. Youth participation, in responding to climate change, can help reorient development pathways toward sustainability.

GGGI Rwanda was approached by group young students from African Leadership University to enquire about the organizational programmes and projects ; ask for guidance and input on their project as they prepare to submit their green innovative technology for the local and international competitions for young people participating in making contribution to the environment. Our Fonerwa (For Green & Resilient Fund) representative Mr Alex Mulisa gave the students some insight on preparing proposal preparations for their project. The young team was ecstatic to have received so much knowledge and guidance and decided to improve on their submissions for the different stakeholders they plan on approaching.

“A participatory approach to issues of environmental governance that includes youth is therefore essential in many developing countries.  Youth create informal groups, non-profit organizations (Clarke & Dougherty, 2010), for-profit organizations, and social enterprises and can work with advisory bodies, such as the youth wings of political parties or youth councils to promote developmental agenda. “Rwanda has some a vast talent of youth that are dedicated to making a difference to their community and the environment.

On Friday 18th May 2018 Volta Irrigation won in the Finals of the Hult Prize National Competition the prize money of $30,000, and now have the chance of winning the ultimate prize of $1Million at the global stage this September. Volta will be representing Rwanda at the Global Accelerator in the UK this summer.

“We wanted to take a moment to thank you for all the support you’ve shown us throughout our journey. You’ve always been someone we could call our “biggest fan”. We always appreciate your ability to see how our solution can make a difference and you’ve made us a believer too! After a chat with you, we always feel more confident and capable, and for that, we will always be grateful.”  said Charles Nana Kwarteng.

Volta Irrigation is a team of undergraduate students Samuel Adewole Dotun; Moses Katala; Charles Nana Kwarteng; Joseline Ihirwe; David Masupa; Benedict Okolie Chinedu; Manzi Rachel; Alain Fabrice Baraka Uwayo at the African Leadership University, who believe, farming is the main livelihood of the poor and a mainstay of many countries’ economies. When farming is productive, poverty is reduced. When farming is unproductive and is buffeted by environmental stresses, poverty is intensified. Many smallholder farmers rely on rain to irrigate their farms resulting in 2/3 of Africa’s agricultural land being unused. Therefore, improvements in the productivity of farms motivate us to work on our project, which constitutes one of the most important pathways to eradicate extreme poverty, including hunger in rural areas.

The Problem

There are 85 million smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa who can’t increase their productivity, crop yield and income due to a lack of affordable and reliable irrigation options. They can’t access existing irrigation systems like solar, and fuel pumps due to its high cost. This limits opportunities for smallholder farmers and hinders their ability to break their cycle of poverty and be self-sufficient. At Volta Irrigation, we believe that when you take away a farmer’s ability to be productive, you take away their dignity. Every farmer deserves to be self-sufficient from farming. That’s why we’re here to change the nature of rural opportunities.

The solution?

An irrigation scheme solution that provides accessible, affordable, efficient, eco-friendly and reliable irrigation system to smallholder farmers. Smallholder farmers in Eastern and Western province Rwanda, are suffering from water insufficiency yet they are surrounded by rivers and lakes, fountains, and underground waters. These smallholder farmers walk 2km to fetch 40 liters of water fifty times every day to irrigate a quarter acre of land. Same applies to most smallholder farmers in African countries. These smallholder farmers produce food to meet the food demand of their respective countries. The entire population including us depend on these farmers for daily meals and so helping them to increase their crop yield will, in turn, ensure the entire population is food secured. We want to reduce poverty in Africa, and according to the World Bank, agriculture has been proven to be up to four times more effective than other sectors in reducing poverty. Increasingly, the world is counting on agriculture to produce more nutritious food for — and improve the livelihoods of — a booming population, especially the poor. It, therefore, more meaningful for us to work with smallholder farmers to solve such a critical challenge of poverty.

The Alma Volta

Volta Irrigation is an irrigation scheme solution that provides accessible, affordable, efficient, eco-friendly and reliable irrigation system to smallholder farmers living in rural farming communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“There is a massive irrigation crisis affecting smallholder farmers around the world. Irrigation is limiting the productivity of smallholder farmers because current options are inaccessible, unreliable and unaffordable” said Adewole Samuel Dotun. Volta Irrigation is a unique network of young problem solvers that are contributing to practical solutions for agriculture development in Africa. They work on: Providing an irrigation system that is affordable, efficient and eco-friendly to at least 22500 smallholder farmers. Addressing a market needing 750,000 additional irrigation schemes to be on par with global farm mechanization standards. Developing food production systems based on agricultural diversification, conservation of water, and efficient use of land. Increasing the rate of technology adoption by small farmers experiencing common irrigation challenges while preserving the environment. Expanding and build human and institutional capacity to solve problems of irrigation and food insecurity in Sub Saharan countries.

Learn more about their project, support their crowd funding campaign ,