The Embassy of Israel in Rwanda on Thursday, April 22, joined the world to celebrate the annual International Mother Earth Day.
The celebrations were marked with the launching of a training workshop to increase university students’ research on plants.
The training involving 30 students was financed by the Israel Embassy in Rwanda, and aimed at contributing to the development of the National Herbarium of Rwanda and the country’s documentation of its rich botanical heritage.
Rwanda’s National Herbarium is located at the University of Rwanda (UR), and accommodates 17,000 plant species.
In a bid to promote research and help graduates to better understand biodiversity research, the university students and their lecturers were facilitated to visit the Nyungwe National Park to get first hand skills.
The team collected 30 plant species, which will be a starting point to help them conduct further significant research and studies on the role of plants in nature and biodiversity.
At the event, the Israeli Ambassador to Rwanda Ron Adam said that preserving biodiversity should be the country’s priority.
“One of the key areas of concern is the preservation of biodiversity and of the biological ecosystem on Earth. Humanity needs to preserve biodiversity which became more challenging in the current age of climate change and global warming,” Amb. Dr. Adam said while opening the training.
The Director-General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), Juliet Kabera, who accompanied the trainees, said that Rwanda is also committed to preserving the environment and such skills are highly needed among youth to promote the government environment policies.
Kabera said Rwanda’s Green Growth and Climate Resilience strategy of 2011 as well as its updates on the Nationally determined contributions NDCs of 2020 are examples of strategic documents that highlight priority interventions which Rwanda embarked on to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
“These interventions include but are not limited to promoting the use of renewable energy, rainwater storage and efficient use, landscape restoration, and promoting e-mobility,” Kabera said.
The trainees said that the skills have given them an opportunity to understand their courses outside the classroom setting.
Aime Sandrine Uwase, Coordinator of National Herbarium of Rwanda and a graduate in Botany and Conservation at UR, also hailed the visit.
“I enjoyed the trail; I got to learn new things. I was able to see with my eyes plant species we were taught in class. We thank the Israel Embassy in Rwanda for this opportunity given to us.”
Prof. Elias Bizuru, a lecturer of Botany and related courses at UR College of Science and Technology said the training and trip will help to monitor the evolution of plant species in relation to climate change.
“I have learned a lot with my students; we discovered a lot of species and collected samples that were not at the National Herbarium of Rwanda,” Bizuru said.