Up next in our Climate Change Case Studies Series, we hear from a Project Manager from Rwandans4Water, who oversee our borehole projects in Rwanda. Rwandans4Water are an NGO providing training and support to communities for efforts in environment, water, sanitation and hygiene.
Occupation: Project Manager (Rwandans4Water)
Have you seen any effects of climate change over your lifetime? If yes, what are these effects?
Yes, for the past decades, Rwanda like many other countries has experienced climate change and this has brought numerous effects ranging from agricultural to economic effects. Below are the effects of climate change that I have witnessed over the past years:
- Rising of average annual temperature across the country and warmer conditions in the highlands, which results in longer seasons than expected and affect certain crops.
- Shift in the timing of precipitation which affects most farmers, as they depend on rainfall for their agricultural activities.
- Droughts in the eastern and southern parts of the countries which result into a series of severe famines and decreased access to safe water.
- Heavy rainfall in different parts of the country, mostly northern and western regions which leads to erosion and flooding, and this destroys crops and reduce agricultural production.
- Increased disasters like human mortality, destruction of homes, roads, water infrastructures and other different critical infrastructures.
How has climate change affected your livelihood?
In recent years, the effects of climate change like prolonged droughts, increase in temperatures, heavy rains and so many others have affected the livelihood of Rwandans in many ways.
- Altered food productivity due to change in climate, weather, and crops’ diseases.
- Extreme floods which result in infrastructures damage, human and animal deaths
- Food security is threatened because the efforts of the farmers are weighed down by the effects of climate change like drought, hence affecting the production.
What are your attitudes towards climate change?
We have always believed that fighting the climate change require everyone to act; that is why we developed environmentally friendly projects that reduce the carbon emission. We have developed water projects and clean cooking projects that are both helping halt the carbon dioxide emission. In different parts of the cities in Rwanda, people are also adopting clean cooking by shifting from using charcoal to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Have you taken any action to adapt to changes in the climate? If yes, what action have you taken?
Since 2015, at Rwandans4Water, we have partnered with different stakeholders and partners and developed environmentally friendly projects. We drilled and rehabilitated hundreds of water sources across the country and these water sources are helping the community. Today people are travelling less distance to find water, collecting less fuel because they don’t need to boil their water to drink, and this reduces the pressure on local wildlife and the rest of the ecosystem.
What are your concerns for future generations?
We have both concerns and hope. Our concern is that a lot of commitments are made to fight climate change but have always been undelivered. Political and businesses leaders make a lot of commitment like climate finance, but they have fallen short of their commitment; and this is a big problem that leaves us concerned. On the other hand, our hope is that young people are willing and have started to act and a lot of projects are emerging to sustain our climate and most of them are developed by young generation, and this is promising. Young people of today are the future leaders and if they continue to act as they are doing, our future might be brighter.