Valentine Dushimiyimana was the unique participant selected to attend the Istanbul summit last June from Rwanda. This country is among those where tough decisions have to be made to select only one talented and skilled applicant for phase 1. However, this 27 year-old young lady worked hard and demonstrated competency and leadership.

Valentine with other activists from different organizations successfully filled in the country mapping document and developed the national strategic plan. She was the team leader who mobilized her peers in collecting and uploading the critical data needed for future plans development. Moreover, since her return from Istanbul, Valentine continued to grow the number of supporters and allies to the Power Shift initiative. Experienced and talented young professionals from various groups, private and public organizations are now coming together under a new group called “Rwanda Green Initiative’, the group behind Power Shift Initiative in Rwanda.

Meeting with Juvenal, Jules, Janvier, Yves and Valentine on October 21 in Kigali

Meeting with Juvenal, Jules, Janvier, Yves and Valentine on October 21 in Kigali

Last Monday while in Kigali, I had a chance to meet this group made of Yves Tuyishime Janvier Kabananiye, Juvenal Mukurarinda, Jules Kazungu and Valentine for a one-hour long conversation to hear about their plans, clarify concerns and inspire for greater strategic actions. The team is planning to mobilize and involve youth and other environment stakeholders in the national climate movement focused on promoting renewable energy and sustainable use of the environment.

Rwanda is among a few African countries that have developed a low-carbon strategy and environment protection has been at the heart of government policy, an inspiring model for most of its neighbouring countries. The Power Shift Rwandan team is planning to popularize the fight against climate change by taking it at the grassroots level while uniting actions of climate activists and organisations around advocacy campaigns on renewable energy. Can’t wait to see this plan being implemented!