Youth initiatives, key to tackling climate change loss and damage in Rwanda as captured in IIED’s latest animation

IIED launches the last of a three-part animation series that recounts the lived experience of climate change loss and damage, as told by Rwandan youth activist Ineza Umuhoza Grace.

News, 31 March 2021

IIED's latest animation about climate-related loss and damage in Rwanda is narrated by youth climate activist Ineza Umuhoza Grace. Watch a version in Kinyarwanda and also see behind the scenes (Illustration: The Like Minded/IIED)

People in the least developed countries (LDCs) emit 35 times less carbon than those in high-income countries – narrates Ineza Umuhoza Grace in IIED’s latest animation. However, they are the hardest hit by the effects of climate change. 

Climate-related loss and damage is now a reality in the East African country. Rwandans heavily rely on land for their food and livelihoods, but changing weather patterns caused by the climate crisis make it harder for them to adapt.

In the short clip, Grace explains how, in just a few years, the temperature has risen drastically, and rainfall and droughts have become much more prolonged. Although Rwandans are used to long periods of rain, these unexpected and extreme meteorological shifts now cause profound loss and damage.

Land degradation deprives people of their main source of food and income. Flooding causes the destruction of infrastructure, like roads and health centres. These impacts culminate in the displacement of entire communities and the loss of human lives and biodiversity.

But not everyone is impacted equally, describes the animation, which is also available in Kinyarwanda. Since most Rwandan women rely on farming as their primary source of income, the burden of the climate emergency falls disproportionally on them. Fetching cooking wood or water are daily tasks for many rural girls and women, but droughts and flooding make these activities harder for them.

These accounts of loss and damage often go unheard, laments Grace. As a result, she calls for the international community to listen and act. In an IIED guest blog, Grace highlights the “need to challenge current paradigms whereby foreign actors pre-determine areas of intervention for building climate resilience in my country, with minimal/controlled participation by the people of Rwanda”.

IIED's latest animation about climate-related loss and damage in Rwanda is narrated by youth climate activist Ineza Umuhoza Grace (Illustration: The Like Minded/IIED)

Grace also emphasises the power of youth-led initiatives to bring stories of loss and damage to the international policymaking level.

In an additional video, Grace takes us behind the scenes of the short animation and shares her motivations to raise awareness on the devastating reality of loss and damage in Rwanda. She hopes the video reaches her community and, particularly, the younger generations, so they feel inspired to also share their stories and call to action because “youth inclusion goes beyond advocacy”.