Into the Future
Rwanda Needs Integrated Development, Say Experts, Officials
Rwanda's highest-in-Africa population density of 365 people per square kilometer leads to environmental degradation and poor human health, said Rwandan Minister of Natural Resources Stanislas Kamanzi, who officially launched the workshop. This fact compels Rwanda to take an integrated approach to development, he said: Rwanda's National Environment Policy and national development plan, Vision 2020, both recognize PHE links, and Rwanda is committed to implementing the recommendations of the First Inter-ministerial Conference on Health and Environment in Africa.
A new policy brief on Rwanda, presented by Jason Bremner, PHE program director at the Population Reference Bureau, makes a similar argument: "Continued improvement in the quality of life of Rwanda's citizens depends in large part on finding innovative and integrated solutions to complex population, health, and environment problems."
Translating Strong Results Into Informed Policies
Even the best program or most dramatic research findings will not be implemented unless they are communicated to policymakers in succinct, persuasive ways. Yet researchers often neglect to convey their results to decision-makers and donors, assuming they do not care or understand.
The second and third days of the meeting aimed to help the working groups from Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya develop strategies to bridge this research-to-policy gap. The groups brainstormed policy communications objectives—such as officially launching their country's PHE network—as well as concrete outcomes, such as convincing representatives from national government ministries to join the network.
Into the Field: Coffee and Tourism in Rwanda
Field visits to two projects in Rwanda dramatically illustrated the benefits and challenges of the PHE approach:
Next steps for the East Africa PHE Network include establishing a listserv dedicated to the East Africa PHE Network, reciprocal visits to field sites, and additional training in policy communications and PHE fundamentals. To sign up for the AFRICAPHE listserv, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Into the Future