Helping Kigali Go Green

It's time to save the planet! Here at Kigali Moms and Dads we are excited to share advice on how to incorporate the best 'green' practices in your daily life.

 Photo Photo: Nyungwe Forest Lodge

Photo Photo: Nyungwe Forest Lodge

Rwanda’s Green Initiatives

There are several national initiatives in Rwanda to support a green economy with a push towards environmental education, conservation efforts and community involvement. Rwanda has committed to putting environment and climate change at “the heart of national development”, because the country is “climate vulnerable.” This means that the country is “likely to suffer disproportionately from the impacts of a warming planet and faces challenges in dealing with those consequences.” As an organization in Rwanda, we should be aware of these initiatives and see how we can participate, whether on an organizational or personal level.

  • Rwanda Green Initiative has several ongoing projects, including the Giciye river protection project, and environmental secondary school clubs. The Rwanda Green Initiative offers training in different environmental sectors to their partners and the general community through various cooperatives as a way to mobilize and support communities to use alternative sources of energy.
  • Plastic Bag Ban Rwanda, by law, banned use of non-biodegradable plastic bags in 2008.

  • Read more about the ways in which Rwanda is leading the charge on green initiatives.

At Home Green Initiatives

  • Recycling: Collect and recycle paper. To make this easy for the whole family, have designated bins for recycling. Companies like Safari Centre Ltd will pick up the paper waste on a daily basis.  
  • Low level lighting/low-energy: Use low energy lighting at home. Dusting and cleaning off light fixtures regularly can reduce the amount of energy you use. Dirty fixtures can absorb as much as 50% of the light.

  • Strawtec Building Solutions: For new construction needs, choose an option like Strawtec Building Solutions. Strawtec boasts an affordable, fast and sustainable product.

Some great green facts about Strawtec:

  • Strawtec has a negative Carbon footprint and  is 100% recyclable and biodegradable.

  • Strawtec fulfills the future requirements for sustainable, energy-efficient, healthy building materials.

  • Strawtec’s manufacturing process produces zero toxic waste, is completely non-hazardous and requires very low energy input. No water or gas is needed.

  • Strawtec panels have excellent sound insulation and acoustic properties, so sound from classes doesn't interfere with one another.

  • Use smart power strips with electronics such as your home entertainment center and computer. Smart strips automatically power down electronics you’re not using, while continuing to provide power to those that need it.

  • Unplug chargers and power adapters when not in use. When your cell phone, digital camera or laptop is finished charging, the charger still draws energy unless you unplug it.

  • Make sure your computer’s “sleep” mode is enabled. The computer will switch automatically to a low-energy mode when you’re away, cutting energy usage by more than half.

  • Screensavers don’t save energy. The best way to reduce your computer’s energy use is to turn it off when you are not using it.

  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room. This energy-saving measure has been around for centuries and it’s as effective as ever.

Traveling Green

  • Bring a Reusable Bottle: A plastic bottle often travels thousands of miles before you buy it, so carry a reusable container when traveling (you can ask a flight attendant to fill it up on the plane so you don't have to use the plastic cups, and you get more water to drink! Just make sure the bottle is empty before you go through security).

  • Book non-stop flights, or trips with fewer layovers, whenever possible. A significant percentage of a plane’s carbon emissions come from takeoff and landing.

  • Flying Green: Purchase Carbon Offsets

  • Carbon offset projects are specifically designed to prevent the emissions of carbon dioxide or capture and store carbon and help reduce the build up of greenhouse gases that are causing climate change. Many airlines have their own carbon offset programs, or give flyers the option to contribute a donation or miles to that airline's R&D on sustainability. Monetary contributions support projects that protect standing forests, improve forest management and plant trees where forests once existed. For example, if you're flying from New York to Kigali through Amsterdam: 

  • JFK to AMS (3631 miles flown) = 0.483 metric tons of CO2, offset cost = $7.25; AMS to KGL (4028 miles flown) = 0.598 metric tons of CO2, offset cost = $8.97; total average offset cost for an Akilah employee to fly to Kigali = $32.44 (roundtrip)

  • Consider purchasing a carbon offset for your flight (options available for the following airlines: Delta, United, KLM, Kenya Air).

  • Other options for 'flying green': Try to purchase day-time flights rather than red-eyes/overnight flights: flying during the day is thought to be more eco-friendly because an airplane's contrails reflect sunlight, limiting the amount of warming caused by emission.

  • If you have the option of choosing between airlines, review your options on this International Council on Clean Transportation report which lists airline carriers by fuel efficiency.