Organic Fertiliser Innovator wins Rwanda Green Fund sponsored Youth Connekt Prize
Young innovator Jean Luc Masabo from Ngoma District has walked away with prize money of one million francs after he won first place at today's provincial level Youth Connekt Awards competition in the Eastern Province.
Jean Luc, founder of the ‘Green Company’, makes organic fertiliser from human urine, which he then sells to farmers to help them improve productivity and boost crop yields. The organic fertiliser costs 400 francs per litre.
This year’s national Youth Connekt Awards are sponsored by the Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA) along with the United Nations Development Programme. They are organised by the Ministry of Youth and the National Youth Council.
Jean Luc was one of three finalists at the Eastern Province edition of the Youth Connekt Awards. The two other finalists were Icyeza Marie Goreth Esther from Rwamagana District and Yvette Ishimwe from Kayonza District.
The event began with an exhibition of local innovators and was followed by a performance from musician Alex Coby, who sang about living a healthy and productive life. The guests were also entertained by a local cultural troupe of young people who inspired with their passion and creativity.
Opening the awards ceremony, the Mayor of Rwamagana District, Radjab Mbonyumuvunyi, thanked the organisers for holding the event in the district and said Rwamagana is working hard to support young people through entrepreneurship trainings.
William Furaha from the Ministry of Youth explained how the Youth Connekt Awards aim to support young people to learn from their peers and develop innovative business ideas. Each of the three finalists then presented their business innovations before a panel of judges made up of business, academic and funding experts.
Esther presented her company, Igire Fashion Design, which makes jewellery from recycled paper and seeds. She spoke about her desire to create jobs and support the Made in Rwanda campaign.
Yvette told the judges that after her family relocated from Kigali to Kayonza District, they faced water challenges. This, she said, inspired her to start the Iriba Clean Water Delivery company, which purifies water and sells it to customers.
Speaking about his idea to the judges, Jean Luc made a passionate presentation about the benefits of his organic fertiliser and explained how it is made. After a period of deliberation, the judges returned to announce the winner: Jean Luc Masabo.
The first prize of one million Rwandan francs was awarded to Jean Luc by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth, the Mayor of Rwamagana District and Rwanda Green Fund representative Dr Eliab Muhawenimana.
Jean Luc expressed his gratitude to the organisers of the event:
“I am thankful to the sponsors and the Government of Rwanda for this event. My special thanks go to the judges and the Rwanda Green Fund for their advice to improve the quality of the project. I am now even more confident I will win at the national level. The funds I have received are so crucial for young innovators like me,” said Jean Luc.
In his remarks, Emmanuel Bigenimana, Permanent Secretary of Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth, encouraged young Rwandans to come up with innovative ideas and secure funding from banks and other sources of finance.
“I thank the Rwanda Green Fund and UNDP for supporting today's Youth Connekt Awards ceremony. It's possible to start from zero and build a strong economy. This is what we are working for: a strong Rwanda with a strong economy. Young Rwandans are the best partners to build a vibrant economy. You can all be part of the transformation,” the Permanent Secretary said.
“Let's follow the example of Jean Luc who thought out of the box with his fertiliser project. He is a great role model. The Government of Rwanda envisages 1.5 million new jobs being created in the future to achieve the Rwanda we want. Your innovations can create these jobs,” he added.
Youth Connekt Award ceremonies will take place in each province across Rwanda, and will conclude with the national level competition in December where the three finalists from the Eastern Province will travel to Kigali to compete alongside other innovation champions from across the country.
The Rwanda Green Fund is proud to partner with the Ministry of Youth on the Youth Connekt awards as a way to encourage entrepreneurship and self-reliance, especially in sustainable and green development solutions.