Minutes of the Public Lecture on World Environment Day (WED) Hosted by Centre of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resources Management 3rd June 2015

Minutes of the Public Lecture on World Environment Day (WED)

Hosted by

Centre of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resources Management

3rd June 2015

Public Lecture objective:

Highlighting the achievements, activities, and initiatives of the

College of Science and Technology

Including the various departments, staff, and BSc and MSc graduates around the theme of the 2015 WED theme:

“Seven Billion dreams. One Planet. Consume with care.”



Translation room, UR-Huye campus, started at 10:00

This event highlighted the breadth of activities related to environmental conservation within the College of Science and Technology.  Four departments within the College as well as lecturers, students and recent graduates, were represented and showcased the exciting initiatives happening in the College. Presentations ranged from alternative energy, waste management and sustainable livelihoods analysis to medicinal plants and national park conservation.  Students who have organized into a student club presented their work on behalf of the environment on campus and in the surrounding communities and the recent graduates talked about their research and the innovative organizations they have created based on their university training.




CST Departments (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Geography)

Conservation NGOs started by CST graduates (Biology Dept):

Rwanda Biodiversity Media Group (RBMG)

Biodiversity and Environmental Sustainability Trust (BEST)

Rwanda University Club for Conservation of Biodiversity (RUCCB) – CST student club

Graduates of the Biodiversity Conservation and Natural Resources Management MSc: Beata Kayirangwa and Methode Majyambere

BSc students from Chemistry Dept and Biology Dept

Huye District Staff

College of Arts and Social Sciences lecturers and students




Welcoming speech

Mr Jean Pierre Kabuyenge, Lecturer, Biology Dept, University of Rwanda- Huye Campus

Mr Jean Pierre KABUYENGE started by thanking all listeners and speakers for their time to join the CoEB in this Public Lecture. In his welcoming remarks, he mentioned that the CoEB is doing a great job promoting the environmental conservation work in the various nodes. He emphasized 2015 WED theme by encouraging everybody to be aware of environmental conservation by evaluating his/her consumption habits. He opened officially the public lecture, saying that the lecture is expected to be of great constructive ideas, discussions and suggestions.

Prof Beth A. Kaplin, CoEB Coordinator

The coordinator of the CoEB started by thanking the audience for attending the public lecture and the individuals and organizations who have taken initiatives that support the mission of the CoEB. She reminded the participants of the mission, goal and the structure of the CoE as well.

The CoEB Coordinator highlighted how the CoEB will be playing a great role networking between the nodes and the hub as well as being a facilitator to achieve more effective environmental conservation and sustainable use of resources.

She ended her speech by encouraging everyone to be aware of environmental conservation and sustainable use of resources by consuming them with care so that we can enjoy a safer, richer and more prosperous future.

Comments after the welcoming speeches from Mr Jean Piere Kabuyenge  and  Prof Beth Kaplin

Mr. Olivier Mazimpaka from College Arts and Social Sciences

I am glad for the CoEB achievements and activities. Are they any research projects that you conducted or running right now?

Prof Beth A. Kaplin, CoEB Coordinator

Thank you for your appreciation and for your good question. Currently we do not have any projects running but it is one of the objectives of the Center to intitiate and support research and we plan to eventually seek funding for priority research themes.



CST- Physics Department

Presented by Prof. Safari Bonfils, Head of Physics Department

Modeling Wind Speed and Wind Power Distribution in Rwanda”

CST- Geography Department

Presented by Dr Emmanuel Havugimana, Head of Geography Department

“Sustainability and Livelihoods Analysis”


CST- Chemistry Department

Presented by 4th year students in Bio Organic Option: Mr Ildephonse Nsengimana  in collaboration with Mr Ferdinand Habumugisha and Ms Carine Murekatete under the supervision of Prof Theoneste Muhizi.

“Natural Biocides from plants”


CST- Biology Department

The Biology department was represented by students and graduates

  • Ms Beata Kayirangwa: “Ecology and Distribution of medicinal plants used to treat HIV/ AIDS and Opportunistic diseases towards biodiversity conservation and protection”, graduate from Biodiversity Conservation and Natural Resources Management MSc program
  • Methode Majyambere: “Proactive community vs. lenient management for sustainable environment and livelihoods”, graduate from Biodiversity Conservation and Natural Resources Management MSc program
  • Biodiversity and Environment Sustainability Trust (BEST) – composed of graduates from the MSc program:

A vital input to environmental solutions in Rwanda”, presented by Ms Gloriose Umuziranenge, graduate from Biodiversity Conservation and Natural Resources Management MSc program

  • Rwanda Biodiversity Media Group (RBMG): “The power of image to inspire behavior change”, presented by Jean Claude Dusabimana, BSc graduate Conservation option.

Rwanda University Club for Conservation of Biodiversity (RUCCB):

“Environment  Awareness and Waste Management”, presented by Serge Placide Uwiringiyimana. Highlighted activities of this student club on the Huye campus and the surrounding communities.

Questions and comments after presentations

Mr. Jean Pierre Kabuyenge, Biology Department

He asked to Safari Bonfils why did not collect the data in Eastern region of Rwanda while this region is open enough where the wind can affect easily the environment. Jean Pierre asked Safari if possibly they can include the recommendation so that next study can take in account this region.

Safari Bonfils/ Physics Department

He thanked Mr. Jean Pierre for his useful recommendation and he agree with him that the next study can be conducted in Eastern region too.

Dr Donat Nsabimana/ Biology Department

It seems that the conclusion is based on the four sampling sites while it should play on general side so that we can overcome to know how the wind distribution varies and its impact on the environment.

Ms Ange Irutingabo/ REMA

She asked Mr. Ildephonse Nsengimana why they are conserving Eucalyptus species which are non-native and invasive, and may inhibit the growth of other neighboring plants species.

Mr. Ildephonse Nsengimana/ BSc Student

We did not work on the Eucalyptus species towards the growth inhibition of its neighboring plant species but we will recommend that further studies can be conducted on this.

Dr Donat Nsabimana/ Biology Department

In my opinion, I see that Eucalyptus species do not present more negative impacts than positive impacts on the environment and biodiversity in general. Do not forget that Eucalyptus can insure insect diversity through pollination and providing food for those insects.

Dr Emmanuel Havugimana/ Geography Department

He asked Beata on medicinal plants if the traditional healers knew the scientific name and if she has the vernacular names of the collected plant species so that every Rwandan people can know those plant species that they used to us.

Ms Beata Kayirangwa/ MSc Graduates

Ms Beata replied saying that the traditional healers did not know the scientific names of those plant species they use. They only know the vernacular names. “They told me the vernacular names and then I collected the sample of those plant species and take them to the herbarium for the identification”.   She said she has a large list for those vernacular names.

Mr. Jean Paul Dusabimana/ BSc student in Biology Department

He asked Beata what are the chemical compounds that those medicinal plants have so that they can treat those diseases?

Ms Beata Kayirangwa/ MSc Graduate

This research aimed to know what are the plant species that those traditional healers used to use. We aimed to list them and I hope that future research will focus on the chemical compounds of those medicinal plants to evaluate their bioactive effects.

Mr. Olivier Mazimpaka/ CASS, Lecturer

He asked Beata: as conservationist, between the tradition healing and the environment conservation what can you prefer?

Ms Beata Kayirangwa/ MSc Graduate

For me as conservationist, I support both but advising the traditional healers to use those plant species with care. Most of the time the leaves are the highest parts collected. So I advise them to collect the mature ones instead of the new ones. Also they may consider domesticating those plant species that they use. For those whose roots are the most used, I advice them to collect the secondary roots (adventitious roots) and not the principal ones because it well known that the root plays the primary role for nourishing the plant.

Mr. Jean Pierre kabuyenge/ Biology Department

He commented on Methode’s presentation saying that it must be more convincing. Kabuyenge said he did not believe that dung from cows is a problem, rather  the problem is their footprints as they damage plant species located in their way.

Mr. Methode Majyambere/ MSc Graduate

As I said at the beginning this is neither a research nor a study. It is my own observation when I was at Nyungwe National Park working as a research assistant. So, I wanted to share with you my own observations so that the awareness of everyone towards environment conservation can be raised.

Dr Donat Nsabimana/ Biology Department

We have to put in action all of what we are discussing here because we are the first and highest consumer. Let’s be sincere: Between people who go into the forest cutting trees and making charcoal and the ones who buy that charcoal; who is the greatest consumer of resources? If we do not buy that charcoal does the personl go back into the forest to cut trees? It is terrible that we, the intellectuals are the greatest consumers while we have to be the first environment conservation keeper!

Ms Ange Irutingabo/ REMA

She asked the RUCCB president what are the plans they have during this National Environment Week.

Mr. Serge Placide Uwiringiyimana/ RUCCB

The first day of the National Environment week, we had a trip in Nyungwe National Park for capacity building and awareness raising on environment and biodiversity conservation.  We wished to plan many activities during this week but the main challenge we meet is academic calendar as many students went in holidays.

Mr. Jean Pierre Kabuyenge/ Biology Department

He asked RBMG if there are some videos or other conservation activities that they have done.

Mr. Jean Claude Dusabimana/RBMG

We did many activities raising the awareness on environment and biodiversity conservation.

Mr. Protais Seshaba/ RBMG

We produced the video for Gishwati forest to raise awareness for its conservation as its conservation measures were too low compared to the other National Parks. If we had more time, we could bring the video and play it for you.

Dr Donat Nsabimana/ Biology Department

After the UNPD presentation, where the presenter showed the audience that we have to consume with care playing on both sides: economic and environment safety, Dr Donat said that in Rwanda, we are not the highest consumers compared to the developed countries. He continued asking Laure how the UR lecturers can collaborate with UNDP in various research projects.

Ms Laure Bititera/ UNDP

Currently, we have not funds to support projects but when the funds are available, we support some of them. Here she gave the example of the project in Ndobogo wetland prepared by Prof Elias Bizuru.

Mr. Olivier Mazimpaka

We see that environmental conservation is facing various threats due development like vehicles and industries, so what methodology are you using or we can use in order to increase the Rwandan people’s awareness of environment conservation?

Ms. Laure Bititera/ UNDP

When sensitizing people regarding the environment conservation, we play on economic sides than quality or safety sides. If you focused on the last one you will be wasting your time for nothing.

The CoEB Coordinator closed the public lecture by recalling the topics presented and thanked all speakers especially those from UNDP and REMA and listeners.  We heard from several departments in the College of Science and Technology including Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geography, and we heard from lecturers, BSc students, MSc students, and graduates of our programs who have initiated exciting projects on behalf of the environment.

She deeply thanked the team that helped her to prepare this event:

Ms Jeanette Batamuliza, the CoEB Coordinator Assistant

Mr. Erasme Uyizeye, the RNCEAR Coordinator Assistant

The four  Biology Department student interns for the CoEB

Ended: 1h:35

Photos of the WED Public lecture


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