Yves Rugira’s winning story focuses on deforestation’s impact on society and children in particular. Yves talks to experts and officials and explores how children have to walk for long hours searching for firewood and water.
Mugume Davis spoke to him about his experiences:
The Niles: How does it feel to be the winner of the Nile Media Awards in the Radio category?
Yves Rugira: I’m excited and full of joy to be a winner in the Radio category. This is my first international award, and receiving it was an unforgettable moment.
TN: Why did you work on this particular story?
YR: In this story, I tried to show a link between climate change caused by deforestation and its effect on education. Rural children from poor families travel long distances to collect firewood or water, causing them to drop out of school.
I have investigated this reality to show decision-makers that there is a gap to fill.
TN: Do you think your story and all the other stories you produce have an impact?
YR: Yes, of course. After I interviewed my sources and the story went on air where I described my in-depth investigation, I started receiving calls from government officials and partners. In particular, officials from the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) and the Ministry of Environment in Rwanda complimented me. And in the following days, the government started a campaign in rural areas to mobilise and inform people about the use of gas as an alternative to firewood.
TN: Journalism is often a daring job. What is your motivation?
YR: Journalism is my passion, and I live it.
On my weekly programme, the “Ahajishe Igisabo Show”, which airs every Monday from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM, I focus on Nyungwe National Park, looking at tourism, biodiversity, revenue sharing, and protection.
And every Tuesday from 9:30 AM to 10:00 AM, I host another show,” Bungabunga Ibidukikije”, which focuses on environmental protection.
In fact, journalism helps me meet with audiences, policymakers, professionals, and governmental and non-government organisations who help me gain more skills and experiences.
TN: In a nutshell, what is your take on current Nile Basin affairs and Nile Cooperation?
YR: For me, Nile Basin affairs and Nile Cooperation demonstrate collaboration: look at the big projects among countries working together. Yes, sometimes we have heard of disagreements between two or three countries, but I am pleased to learn that there are efforts to bring about more amicable relations, making today’s Nile Basin better than yesterday’s.
TN: What do you think needs to be done to ensure more and better Nile Cooperation?
YR: Everyone in the Nile Basin needs to understand that all countries are equal and have the right to use the Nile water resources. No country should feel like it has more rights than any other. Nile Basin countries should cooperate more when implementing big projects along the Nile.
TN: So how can the media and journalists contribute to foster more and better Nile Cooperation?
YR: Journalists should be accorded more space and airtime to express their ideas and suggestions about current developments and relations between Nile Basin countries. This is possible if all partners, including NGOs and governments, cooperate with journalists and the media in general.