SDSN Great Lakes is an action-oriented network focusing on mobilizing scientific and technological expertise to solve problems and create a more sustainable society in the region. Countries and territories included in the regional network: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda.

Location: Kigali, Rwanda

Hosted by: University of Rwanda, College of Business and Economics


  • Faustin Gasheja

    University of Rwanda-College of Business and Economics (UR-CBE)

The SDGs are a shared concern for Africa, and especially the Great Lakes region. Our only chance to achieve them is to mobilize and work together across borders.

Dr. Marie-Christine Gasingirwa, Director General of Science, Technology and Research, Rwandan Ministry of Education

The SDSN Great Lakes flagship initiative is an annual conference focused on local solutions to achieve the SDGs. This conference series brings together researchers and academics from the region to present innovative and practical projects that can help change lives for the better.

In 2015, the network announced its first call for proposals for such solutions. The winning project, announced in 2016, was a Burundian initiative on the local production of organic fertilizer from agricultural and animal waste. It is a public-private partnership led by the University of Ngozi, with two community NGOs and a French agro-industrial firm, Biopost-Cofuna.

The local production of organic fertilizer will help increase sustainable agricultural production and contribute to combatting soil degradation, which are major challenges to achieving the SDGs in Burundi and the entire region. In this way, the project directly addresses SDG2 on food security and sustainable agriculture, and SDG15 on terrestrial ecosystems. In addition, there will be clear benefits to other goal areas, including poverty eradication, thanks to the focus on improved livelihoods for smallholder farmers, and sustainable consumption and production, since the fertilizer will be produced from recycled and reused waste products. The network is supporting the project team in refining the proposal and to identify opportunities for funding.

In the 2017 regional conference, eight member institutions presented their projects, a wide-range of solutions from small-scale farming interventions at the household level, to executive training programs on sustainable development. This conference sets the tone that local solutions at all levels are a vital part of the pathways to achieve the SDGs and that universities must play an important role.