PolyU Rwanda Service-Learning Programme 2023 23 August 2023 From 21 July to 6 August 2023, three students from USRN member universities, including Ateneo de Manila University, Beijing Normal University and the University of Pretoria, participated in an international Service-Learning programme organised by the Service-Learning and Leadership Office of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Rwanda, Africa. The student participants engaged in the Rwanda project, titled “Habitat Green in East Africa”, where they collaborated with local students to design and implement sustainable energy solutions for families in remote villages. The main objective of this service-learning programme was to install solar power systems in Bicaca Village, located in the Rwamagana District of the Eastern Province. Within a span of 14 days, the student participants worked diligently to address the basic electricity needs of more than 400 households residing in the rural mountain regions. Beyond the technical aspects, this programme also allowed students to actively engage with the local community, fostering collaboration and establishing meaningful connections. Their dedicated efforts brought hope and light to families in need, showcasing the transformative power of learning through service to others. “This project gave me an opportunity to collaborate with students from diverse ethnic backgrounds and educational experiences. We successfully installed solar panels in local communities, and I had the chance of leading our group. Taking on this leadership role taught me valuable lessons in effective leadership.” Onismo MASHININI, University of Pretoria (participant of the Rwanda Service-Learning Project) “This programme has expanded my knowledge and understanding of crucial global issues such as poverty, energy access, and equality. It has also given me a sense of purpose and empathy through direct assistance to those in need. Working with my dedicated team to install over 20 solar lighting systems and bring electricity to numerous homes has not only made a tangible impact but also inspired me to continue striving for positive change in the world.” WEI Yuanchen, Beijing Normal University (participant of the Rwanda Service-Learning Project) “I am grateful to participate in such a meaningful Service-Learning programme. It has greatly enhanced my leadership skills, fostered a strong sense of citizenship, and nurtured my understanding of social responsibility through immersive experiences and exposure to complex social and environmental challenges. Moreover, this programme encouraged me to reflect on my strengths and weaknesses, enabling me to identify areas for growth and improvement. It has enriched my knowledge, skills and attitudes, empowering me to become a more responsible and capable global citizen.” Mary Heather Eusebio ANDRES, Ateneo de Manila University (participant of the Rwanda Service-Learning Project) In two-week time, the students successfully installed solar energy systems and LED lights for all targeted houses. The students were excited as they successfully brought electricity to the first household in the project. On the first day in the village, the students distributed materials to the villagers and commenced the installation of solar energy systems for the households. The students conducted a thorough testing of the battery, lightbulb and control box to ensure a safe and proper installation at the villager’s house. USRN students collaborated with the local Rwandan students, forming teams to install switches for the households of the villagers.