Through Embedding Water Resources Management in Rwanda and Sebeya Landscape Restoration Pilot Project (EWRM & SLRPP), residents from three cells namely Karambo, Nkomane and Rusongati, in Kanama sector, Rubavu district have been given 72 cows to help them get out of poverty and improve their families’ livelihoods.
The beneficiaries are needy persons from first and second social categories.
The donation of cows is part of the planned activities of the Embedding Water Resources Management in Rwanda and Sebeya Landscape Restoration Pilot Project (EWRM & SLRPP), which includes construction of terraces and erosion control, planting forests and agroforestry species, distribution of water tanks for rainwater harvesting, Energy Saving Cook stoves among many other initiatives put in place for the preservation of the Sebeya Catchment.
There are also retaining walls that have been completed along the Sebeya River to prevent and reduce the floods that had hit the people of Rubavu district, especially in Kanama, Nyundo and Rugerero sectors.
All of these works come in addition to lifting the people out of poverty through employments where more than 8,000 people have already been employed in the construction of terraces in Rubavu district.
Nzabandora Theoneste, one of the residents who received the cows through the project, says the cow will contribute to the wellbeing of his family while at the same time receive manure to fertilise their soil which will also lead to increased productivity.
“I am one of the citizens who have been employed in the terracing project. This will help us to control soil erosion so our land will become more productive in addition to the given cows that will give us manure. ”
“Today I am happy to be on the list of people who receive cows. Our families will have the strength to accelerate development because we are going to break away from malnutrition.” Nzabandora said
Nzabandora added that the ‘Girinka’ program will help him earn money from milk production.
Nyirambabazi Valentine also confirms that she is going to make progress especially in her family.
“The manure from the cow will help me grow the kitchen gardens that I have constructed at home,” she said.
The beneficiaries commend the Government of Rwanda for its continued effort to alleviate them from poverty as well as protecting their lives which were in danger due to problems caused by Sebeya river flooding.
Niyotwambaza Hitimana Christine, Deputy Director General of the Rwanda Water Resources Board, said that many of the activities in the project are aimed at lifting the citizens out of poverty and protecting the environment.
“Today, the cows we are giving you are part of the Girinka program launched by the President of the Republic and we hope that they will provide manure to fertilize your terraces and increase the productivity,” she said.
“I urge everyone to work together to make this project a success and to achieve its goals, especially in the face of erosion and floods that continue to affect the people of the Sebeya Catchment.”
Charles Karangwa, the Head of Regional Forests and Landscapes Programme for IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa Region says that when people are lifted out of poverty, they are taught the benefits of environmental conservation and participation, which is productive both in environmental conservation and in the development of their families.
According to Rubavu vice Mayor for Economic Development Nzabonimpa Deogratias, 133 cows have been donated in Rubavu District so far, of which 61 have been donated as of December 2020, and about 72 have been donated to date.
In this fiscal year 2020/2021, 475 cows will be distributed to the people of Kanama, Nyundo and Nyakiriba Sectors meaning that there are still 342 cows to be distributed.
The Embedding Water Resources Management in Rwanda and Sebeya Landscape Restoration Pilot Project (EWRM & SLRPP) is being implemented by the Government of Rwanda through Rwanda Water Resources Board in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Netherland Development Agency (SNV) as well as the catchment’s Districts.
The project covers four districts of Rutsiro, Ngororero, Nyabihu and Rubavu.