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Around 400 students from different disciplines under the college of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine gathered in a one-day session in support with academic staff and student mentors to work together on community work services to later discuss how each discipline can generate projects for the benefit of the community.

Lead by Mr. Mapendo Mindje, the student representative on the Talloires Network Steering Committee and staff member at the University of Rwanda, student’s mobilization was conducted in joint collaboration with the university leadership for community services such as tree planting, greenhouses clearings and other environmental management practices. Alongside their academic mentors, the students worked on these projects at the southern province campus.

The primary goal of the community work was to inspire students to be agents of social change and to make them believe in themselves as a well trained workforce once they return to their respective villages after graduation. Building socially responsible individuals by working in community for the benefit of the society also contributes to the vision of the University of Rwanda. The vision is to be a leading University that develops highly enterprising graduates prepared and dedicated to building a more just and sustainable society locally, nationally and globally, with appropriate innovations that advance quality of life.

In collaboration with his students, Mr. Mindje  has already recruited a team of potential students to work as representatives to create a club named “Global Community Partners” which is still under development. Its guiding principle will be the “Elephant Initiative idea” the idea that by working together and accepting individual differences will reap a communal benefit that can be applied universally. One of University of Rwanda’s objectives is to prepare students for service to their communities and country through applied service-learning programs nationally and internationally. The club intends to do just that, and has already received the University’s support. Once fully established, it will be a great resource for students to apply their skillset, develop leadership skills and outreach to more communities.

Written by Mapendo Mindje, Student Representative on the Talloires Network Steering Committee