The Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture, or RICA, is an institute of higher learning located in Bugesera District, Eastern Province. Like other institutions, students who meet certain academic requirements apply and go through an evaluation process that includes an interview; we also test for English-language proficiency. All accepted students receive a full scholarship plus room and board to attend, and all live on campus. Each class is between 80 and 84 students, with an equal number of women and men. Students graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Conservation Agriculture.
How many students usually apply?
Between the scholarship aspect and RICA’s innovative approach to education, there is a lot of student interest — we received 7000 applicants for our first class and expect demand to stay high as RICA’s reputation grows.
Why does RICA educate in English only? Local farmers may or may not have proficiency in English.
English proficiency is a stated priority for Rwanda — institutions of higher learning expect their students to have a strong command of English. Since our students and staff are multilingual, they can interact with stakeholders anywhere and at any level. This also allows us to have faculty who are conservation agriculture experts but do not speak Kinyarwanda.
Were local community or government representatives involved in developing RICA?
Yes, to ensure RICA is locally driven, we worked closely with Rwandan stakeholders throughout, including an advisory committee of representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture and Education plus local farmers and agriculture industry representatives. RICA construction itself has employed more than 1000 people, 97% from the surrounding sectors of the Bugasera District.
What is One Health?
One Health means that the health of humans, the earth, and animals are inextricably linked. If one of these segments is unhealthy, it both effects and may have been caused by the health of the other two segments. For example — diseases in humans are often transmitted by animals; population density affects the environment; and so on.