A few years ago (2019) representatives of ten Nile Basin states (NBI) gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, on February 22, to mark Regional Nile Day and celebrate 20 years of cooperation and partnership. During the celebrations of Nile Day, three primary school-aged children from Rwanda won cash prizes for the Nile Basin Initiative drawing competition. Paul Imasiku Mwenda from Camp Kigali School won the first prize for his illustration of “What does the Nile mean to you?” Dorcas Uwineza, GS Saint Dominiques Savio, and Tresor Bizimungu, from Rwiza Primary School, took home the second and third prizes. 

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The Nile Citizen Science program, an independent initiative managed by an organization called Net Africa, will continue the school's competition that the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) started. The Nile Citizen Science competition is themed, ‘Schools Sustainable Meals Competition,’ and it includes various prizes for children.

What is the Nile Citizen Science Program? The Nile Citizen Science Program was launched in response to a call from the UN on the restoration of ecosystems, to restore ecosystems large and small and improve the livelihoods of people who depend on them as well as reduce the risk of natural disasters. In fact, restoration can help us achieve all of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Citizen Science program includes activities such as tree watch, soil watch, and water monitoring. There are many activities that local communities can engage in, including many environmental school competitions.

The competition that the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) started in 2019 is relaunching at the fifth Ugandan Water and Environment Week (UWEWK) 2022 from Sunday 20th to 25th March 2022 - Why Uganda? Uganda has experienced significant impacts of climate change, ranging from changing weather patterns, reduction in water levels, floods, and drought. These social-economic impacts threaten vulnerable communities and stem from environmental degradation, deforestation and encroachment on other fragile ecosystems such as river banks. Unless we act through strategic options: afforestation, reforestation, climate-smart agriculture, integrated water resources management using catchment management approaches and citizen science, the vision of improving rural livelihoods will remain an uphill task.

In response to the above challenges, the government of Uganda (Ministry of Water and Environment) has organised the fifth Uganda Water and Environment Week (UWEWK) 2022 from Sunday 20th to 25th March 2022. During UWEWK 2022, more information about the Nile Citizen Science competition will be available.

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Details of the Competition
Step 1 – Choose a crop/seed that is associated with your favourite meal. For example. you could plant some beans or tomatoes Any crop or seed that you like. Plant it and keep a diary of how long it takes to grow. How and where did you plant the seed? How much water did it need to grow? Keep a diary of your crop growing by drawing or taking pictures of your crop growing in different stages.

Step 2 – How nutritious is your crop/seed? Write about the health and wellbeing gained from eating this crop. What are the health benefits from eating this crop? What else would you usually eat with it? How do you create a balanced meal from it?

Step 3 – Water and food preparation – Once you have grown your crop plan a meal with it. Is it a balanced meal? If yes, tell us about how balanced your meal is? How much fresh water do you need to prepare and cook your meal? Write your ingredients and all the steps you have to take to prepare and cook the meal. What type of energy do you use to prepare for the meal and is it good for the environment?

Step 4 – Cook the meal and take pictures of each stage including the final end product.

You need to send in your written diary / photos / drawings / descriptions.
If you cannot take photos use drawings or descriptions.
1st Prize: $150 USD, 2nd Prize $100 USD and 3rd Prize $50 USD

N/B: This initiative is directly managed by NET AFRICA and NET AFRICA will take care of all aspects of the project including the prizes.

The winning school will win a vertical garden pack.
To find out more about the Nile citizen science program visit:
To register for the competition: https://www.netafrica.be/schools
To learn more about resources for schools: https://www.netafrica.be/education4schools
Learn more about school resources for SDG 1: https://www.netafrica.be/sdg1
Learn more about school resources for SDG 2: https://www.netafrica.be/sdg2