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Rwanda: Grassroots leaders organize to mitigate climate change through reforestation

Rwandan small farmers are increasingly seeing their crops lost to drought, hillside garden soil washed away by unseasonably heavy rains, and roofs blown off by strong winds. Now communities in the Kirehe District are joining together to take practical steps to mitigate climate change.  PICO/Faith in Action Rwanda leaders have planted more than 50,000 trees. Now the Mayor of Kirehe is asking these leaders to share their bottom-up approach to climate change with other communities.

Leaders are realizing the Rwandan Constitution guarantees of a “right to a clean environment” where everyone has the right to live in a clean and healthy environment.  As with other initiatives, building hospitals and schools, PICO Rwanda leaders understand these climate mitigation efforts to be integral to a national policy that calls on local communities to organize the resources in their hands and partner with government to amplify their impact. In most communities, where there is no grassroots organizing, the  government designs and implements top down activities.

The PICO Rwanda approach creates  community ownership that is meant to make change more sustainable . Adults and young people are learning about how climate change is exposing their communities to cycles of severe drought and rainfall. They are planting trees to protect their schools and villages. Community members are planting and maintaining tree groves along the roads to make sure people have access to health centers built through organizing campaigns. Through its climate change and reforestation campaign, PICO Rwanda organizers are visiting villages across Kirehe District and other parts of Rwanda to bring organizing and empowerment to new communities.

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