26 September 2022

Rwandan Environmental Monitoring Specialist receives full scholarship for new Nature based Solutions course

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Frank Rutehenda, a Monitoring & Environment Specialist in Rwanda’s Environment Management Authority, has been awarded a full scholarship for the University of Oxford’s new Nature based Solutions to Global Challenges Foundation Course.

Nature-based solutions (NbS) to climate change – such as helping peat lands recover or planting trees to reduce carbon in the atmosphere – are gaining increasing attention from policy makers and business leaders.

The new online course, delivered by the University of Oxford’s Nature-based Solutions Initiative in partnership with the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, teaches participants how NbS solutions can be implemented, financed and governed.

Frank, who begins the eight-week course on 26th September 2022, has worked within Rwanda’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for five years, taking on several environmental assignments.

Frank travels across the country, inspecting the conditions of projects related to environment and climate. He then creates field reports that are sent to REMA’S management, and from there they are compiled and eventually presented to Rwanda’s cabinet office.   

“In Rwanda’s eastern district, there are persistent droughts due to lack of trees and vegetation, despite the project’s interventions in the area,” said Frank. “And in districts like Gakenke in the North, there have been landslides. I am making recommendations for activities like tree planting and sustainable management of agriculture, among others.”

Frank’s work is part of the country’s National Adaptation Planning process (NAP) project, a five-year initiative that will increase the capacity of governmental authorities and local communities in Rwanda to plan, fund, implement and monitor climate change adaptation solutions.

 “When I took on the job, I asked myself, how can I prepare for the position? How can I gain the best understanding of NbS solutions? Oxford’s course seemed the perfect fit to my work,” says Frank.

While he is delighted to have received a full scholarship for the role, Frank also feels a strong sense of responsibility: “I will need to present the lessons I learned from the University of Oxford to my managers and answer questions like: how can NbS be calibrated into our sectoral and national plans? How better can we be prepared? That is what I’m hoping to answer after the course.”

My goal is to continue to implement Rwanda’s commitments so as to meet its net zero pledges. Because the ambition of the Paris Agreement cannot be met by Britain, China or the United States alone. It has to be met by every country that signed the agreement, starting at the local level, and then national. I want to play my part for Rwanda.


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