On January 5th 2018, the University of Rwanda signed a Collaborative Agreement with the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) to support postgraduate students conducting research for their masters’ theses.After affixing signatures to this agreement, the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resources Management (CoEB), College of Science and Technology took a lead to coordinate all related activities. Since then, students and supervisors have been benefiting from this partnership in different ways.
As it has been stated above, different individuals are benefiting from the agreement between the University of Rwanda and the Rwanda Environment Management Authority. To be clear, one of the beneficiaries are UR postgraduate students. As a matter of fact, currently, masters’ students are conducting researches under LAFREC (the Landscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation), a project of REMA and receiving training support from CoEB. LAFREC is a project under the Rwandan Environment Management Authority, aiming to manage the Gishwati-Mukura National Park, its buffer zones and improve livelihoods of the people living in this landscape Postgraduates students are directly contributing to this project by conducting researches that assess the impact and success of the interventions conducted under LAFREC project, and to provide recommendations for activities related the restoration of the Gishwati-Mukura National Park and the surrounding landscape.
The sixteen masters’ students at the University of Rwanda who have been awarded grants under LAFREC project come from two colleges (Colleges of Science and Technology and the College of Agriculture and Veterinary) and four different Masters programs. Their research proposals were selected for funding by a group of researchers and professionals who formed an Oversight Board, representing governmental and non-governmental institutions including UR lecturers. Recipients of the research funding acknowledge its outcomes. Dorine M. Intwarinkase, a Masters student definitely affirms that the grant has been very useful not only for her studies but also it has been a paramount for all beneficiaries.Dorine added that in addition to the financial assistance, CoEB has organized many workshop including a training Geographical Information System (GIS) and others in the interest of supporting their academic and research activities. “I, personally, have met many researchers and of course I have learnt a lot from them” revealed Eric Bizimana another Masters student who participated in the workshops organized by CoEB for the students who received research grants. Eric added that by dint of the project, their research is worthwhile and will be used to inform policy
The Collaborative Agreement between the University of Rwanda and the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) has been rewarding. While masters’ students are in the best interest of the grant for their capacity building, REMA will also benefit from the project as the conducted research will help to assess the success of their interventions in restoration of the Gishwati-Mukura National Park.