The Mastercard Foundation - EARTH University Fellowship Program

Umuraza Noella Rutayisire

Country: Rwanda
Track: Employment
Position: Horticulture Assistant
Host company/organization: One Acre Fund Rwanda
About position: Noella works with the Rwanda-Israel Horticulture Center of Excellence. She provides technical assistance to farmers for horticulture development.

Noella’s graduation project, Production of Pleurotus ostreatus (Agaricales: Pleurotaceae) using Agro-industrial Wastes as Substrates, uses agro-industrial organic wastes such as pineapple waste, coffee husks, and coconut waste to grow and cultivate mushrooms. “I chose this topic because agro-industries are increasing rapidly but leftover or wastes are not well managed.”

Noella did her internship in the East Hamptons, New York on a small farm that produced various vegetables. Of her experience, Noella says, “My interest was in horticulture and to see different techniques that are being used. I was a leader at an ornamental plant nursery. I had a wonderful experience: I made friends, and I learned a lot.”

About her experience at EARTH, she says that there were people in the University who always made sure she had what she needed. “The most important thing EARTH taught me was living with many people, adjusting to a new environment. I grew so much. I did not know that I could do so many things, so I have become a more self-confident person after these four years.” Though Noella was unsure at first about her abilities as she entered EARTH, the people she met along the way supported her, socially and professionally.

Noella will return to Rwanda after graduation to start giving back. She looks forward to encourage change in the perspectives of her fellow community members, especially in their views on nature, agriculture, and ways of taking care of the world and others.

I would say that my passion is to transform or develop rural community areas, especially those of local farmers in Rwanda. – Noella

She was selected to participate in the Fellowship Program, a novel initiative that has been created in partnership between the Mastercard Foundation and EARTH University to facilitate recent African graduates’ transition from university to launch purposeful careers in the agriculture and agribusiness sectors in their countries of origin. As a Fellow, Noella is gaining professional experience with the One Acre Fund Rwanda in her home country.

Noella is deeply grateful for her time at EARTH and is ready for wherever the coming years may take her. To her donors at the Mastercard Foundation, she would like to say, “Thank you for this great life opportunity, for making me grow in a privileged place, and for my degree. I promise you that I will pay forward the kindness you all showed me; I am sure somewhere there is someone who will need my help, and when that time comes I will not hesitate. God bless you!”



For more information about the Fellowship Program and about being a Host Partner, please contact us.