FEATURED: I&M Bank supports environmental protection activities in Gicumbi | New times

On November 27, I&M Bank staff joined residents of Gicumbi district to plant trees in the former Gihembe refugee camp.

The year in which more than 4,000 trees were planted was a collaboration with the Ministry of Emergency Management (MINEMA), UNHCR and SP Gas Rwanda.

Gihembe refugee camp was located in a hilly area, which made it prone to landslides and soil erosion during the rainy season. This could harm farmers’ activities, and agroforestry is seen as the solution to restore degraded land.

Olivier Kayumba, the permanent secretary of MINEMA welcomed the support of I&M Bank, stressing that there is no more time to do these nature restoration activities than now.

“These activities are part of the effort to restore nature that was here before. This camp was created 24 years ago. So, since there are no refugees, it is the right time to restore the ecosystem for the host communities, especially as the rainy season begins, ”Kayumba noted.

Robin Bairstow, CEO of I&M Bank Rwanda, said that apart from financial activities, his bank is keen to promote sustainability which is one of the key areas of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in the areas of education, health and the environment.

“If you look at our buildings, the way we developed our own energy, in the old building we were using solar panels so that we could be fully self-sufficient on our own and recycle the water,” he said. he said, emphasizing how nature conservation is in the DNA of the Bank.

“So we also value tree planting because it stops erosion downstream and creates an intermediate plantation for people to plant vegetables and eat,” he added.

Bairstow also revealed that the bank has planned other tree planting activities.

Addressing the audience, Ahmed Baba Fall, UNHCR’s country representative, said tackling soil erosion and land degradation is vital to keep the environment and people very healthy.

“Planting trees and reforestation remains the only way to preserve the ecosystem and reverse land degradation, so we know the implications of this particular activity,” he said.

One of the locals, Emmanuel Manirakiza, revealed that the support of the partners motivates the locals.

“We appreciate this support to plant trees, we know that this is essential because the trees prevent soil erosion and we can benefit from certain economic activities like carpentry,” he said. New times.

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Richard V. Johnson