Information : Profile: Frank HabinezaArticles, Poems & Information > Profile: Frank Habineza
Author: Mark Naughton
It was early January 2003 and we were fortunate to meet Frank Habineza of the Rwanda Wildlife Clubs. This extraordinary young man was over visiting a friend in England.
Frank spoke passionately about the environment and what RWC were doing to help preserve the environment in his native land. With some friends, they set up the RWC in July 1999. They have gone from strength to strength in their collective aim to secure a better ecological environment for their country. RWC aim to promote awareness of the environment through talks at schools, towns and universities. In November 2002, they organised the planting of 15,000 trees in an area of 7 miles from their University. They managed to convince the Rector of the National University who is so much supportive to environmental activities to give a public holiday to students such that they participate in the tree planting activities,which was a very big thing. The Provincial Police and Army also were actively involved.
The communal village of Nyanza, in the province of Butare, was closed while houses packaged the trees. Much of the trees had been lost during the civil war in the 1990s, and the people couldn't believe that these trees were for them. At the opening of the tree planting day, the Chief of Police, the Chief of the Commercial Bank, the Army commander in the region, Provincial top administators, Municipality leaders and many influential figures and the Minister of State for Forestry officiated on the opening day of the national tree week. Over a cup of coffee, on the south bank in London, Frank spoke of his determination to help the environment. He discussed many ideas including setting up a charitable organisation to help. Frank left us with with these words, "They should be protected, the tree is a source of life."
In March 2003, we received an email from Frank. He reported that RWC had achieved National [Non] Governmental Status (NGO) by the ministry of Local Government and Social Affairs in Kigali. The RWC is now able to carry out their activities in the whole of the country and "are in a better position to negotiate on saving Mother Earth with International organisations."
March was a busy month for RWC. They were working with UNR PEARL-USAID project. RWC are in a joint project providing coffee shades to the farmers in Maraba Butare for its pilot project. The project is now in progress. They are working in conjunction with the ICRAF- World Agroforestry Center, OCIR - Cafe (National Coffee Authority) and Abuhuza mugambi ba Kawa ya Maraba. The shades will help to improve the yield and quality of the coffee, in an environmentally friendly way. RWC also hope to expand the program to benefit the farmers in the whole country. Maraba coffee was number two on the international market last year and is selling highly in America and Japan as well as England. (I have tasted the Cafe Maraba Bourbon coffee, and it is a beautiful coffee - see Fair Trade Links for details.)
If you would like to read the report on the Tree Planting Day, click here.
If you would like to visit Rwanda and work with RWC, then please visit www.rwc.itgo.com
Document last updated on Tuesday 30 August 2011
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