In a remarkable display of unity and environmental responsibility, the Minister of Education in Rwanda, Dr. Valentino Uwamariya, alongside the President of the Federation of East African Secondary Schools Sports Associations (FEASSSA), Justus Mugisha, and enthusiastic students from Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Kenya, joined forces for a community clean-up initiative known as Umuganda. The event took place on the sidelines of the FEASSSA Games 2023, currently being hosted in Huye, Rwanda.
Dr. Uwamariya, speaking on the significance of the event, emphasized the importance of collaboration beyond sports.
“We are very glad to have all of you here for the FEASSSA competition. But on top of that, we are here as brothers and sisters,” she stated. The Minister highlighted Rwanda’s commitment to community work and the fight against climate change, noting that the clean-up was aimed at removing plastics, as Rwanda has already banned their use to protect the environment.
Justus Mugisha, FEASSSA President, expressed his admiration for Rwanda’s approach to maintaining a clean environment.
“I’m learning many things here and one of them is that you can do great things by doing small things, but cumulatively,” he remarked. Mugisha proposed that other countries should adopt similar clean-up initiatives during their own events to promote cleanliness and unity.
The FEASSSA Treasurer, Patrick Okanya, shared a lighthearted observation about the challenge of finding trash during the clean-up, highlighting Rwanda’s proactive efforts to maintain a clean environment.
“One serious big challenge. And the challenge was I was given a trash bag and it took me almost a kilometer to get anything to drop in my trash bag. So I was wondering whether we were doing a cleaning exercise or we were actually taking a walk.”
Ange Sebutege, Mayor of Huye District, expressed excitement about hosting the FEASSSA Games 2023 in a city that values education and sports. “We are a sports fan so this is known as an education hub,” she said, emphasizing the collaborative efforts involved in ensuring the success of the event.
Alice Kayitesi, Governor of the Rwandan Southern Province, encouraged visitors to explore Rwanda’s cultural and religious landmarks.
“We have the national museum, but nearby here in the other district we have a King Palace museum in the Yanzah district. We have Holy Land Kibeho nearby here in the Yaruguru district. So we have many places to visit based on our culture, but also based on faith,” she shared.
Nambogo Mary Priscila from Uganda remarked,
“Seeing very many people in one country come out to work together to keep that environment clean just opened my eyes up and I’m just seeing the world in a different perspective right now.”
Nsubuga Tamasha, also from Uganda, praised Rwanda’s hospitality, cleanliness, and the valuable lessons learned from their visit.
“I have been welcomed, I have learned the Rwandan culture. I have done community work today and it has been really spectacular. Rwanda is very clean from the time we entered the border and I would like to appreciate the president for you have done a really great job and the people themselves are nice.”
The FEASSSA Games 2023 have not only brought together young athletes from across the region but have also fostered a sense of unity, collaboration, and environmental consciousness. The community clean-up effort serves as a powerful reminder that collective action can lead to positive change, both on and off the field. The games kickoff today at the famous Huye Stadium