Partner Institutions express optimism in the long-term impacts of Sebeya Catchment conservation
By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU
Partner Institutions in Sebeya catchment project have expressed their confidence that the development activities that are being conducted in Sebeya Catchment will last as the awareness and information exchange will continue to guide the community in protecting the catchment.
The catchment covers four districts namely Nyabihu, Ngororero, Rubavu and Rutsiro districts in Western Province.
Partner Institutions in Sebeya project, Rwanda Water Resources Board, the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) and Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative (RWARRI) work together with landowners in Sebeya Catchment to identify what needs to be done for a long-term solution for Sebeya River protection.
In an interview, Mr. UWIZEYE Belange, RWARRI’s Executive Director, said that “all of you have heard of the river Sebeya, some have known it for good and some have known it for bad.”
He explained that Sebeya River in the dry season is in good condition however, he adds, during the rainy season it is filled with the soil leading to flooding that causes damages to the activities on the river banks and even kills people in some cases.
He said a campaign has been launched among the residents of Sebeya Catchment in order to bring them on board to combat the problems that damage the Sebeya River which in turn causes harm to human activities such as destruction of crops, infrastructures among others. “We have started mobilizing farmers to prevent soil erosion in order to improve agriculture that is not harming the boundaries of Sebeya River”, he mentioned and expressed that RWARRI’s activities are aimed at contributing to the preservation of the Sebeya catchment, most of which is aimed at training the community in the management and conservation of the catchment.
On his side, Hitimana Celestin, the Project Manager in RWARRI particularly in charge of Sebeya project explained that the project is led by the Government of Rwanda through Rwanda Water Resources Board, adding that “RWAARI is in charge of community members’ mobilization to make the activities of this project their own.”
He said the mobilization campaign started in August, 2020 but was affected by COVID 19 pandemic.
Mr. Hitimana explains that through the campaigns they have three objectives namely: Raise awareness on the conservation of water resources, capacity building for beneficiaries and improving the social and economic well-being of the people living in the Sebeya Catchments.
He added that parts of the project include conservation, agricultural and livestock development and the exchange of information to protect the Sebeya River.
In rehabilitating the degraded land, he said that RWARRI is involved in a campaign to encourage residents to follow the land use planning, to sensitize the people to actively participate in the implementation of the planned activities.
“The main goal is for the project’ impacts to last. Because if they do, then it is not a waste of money”, He added
“We are also mobilizing the people to give their land for terraces because without a campaign, there would be a problem if citizens are not willing to give their lands,” Hitimana said.
Mobilization has led to land use consolidation where farmers started harvesting potatoes and then increasing their income.
The EWMR project in Sebeya Catchment has employed more than 11,000 people which has made it possible for them to survive the impacts COVID 19 on the wellbeing of citizens.
So far 129 families have received cows and RWAARI as well as Imbaraga play an important role in helping beneficiaries to understand the requirements that a person must meet before receiving a cow and after receiving it as he or she takes care of it.
READ ALSO: Rutsiro: 29 beneficiaries of Sebeya Project receive cows as part of livelihood transformation
The campaign also transmits messages via radio, billboards that are placed where the project operates and other equipment is used for the same purpose.
“Here we have developed a way to use megaphones because that is the fastest way to reach the community through mobilizers in different sectors. This is being done to sensitize the public to take part in the preservation of the Sebeya catchment. ” explains Hitimana.
There are also a messages being sent to the public via mobile sound system and so on.
Farmers are also sensitized on forming savings groups to plan for the future while also joining the EJO Heza saving programme.
“194 saving groups have already saved more than Rwf 38 million from their agricultural activities,” he said. He added that there would also be a Fund to continue to support their activities to protect Sebeya catchment.
In other statistics, as of today:
–196 Farmer Promoters (FP) from the 4 Districts were capacitated
–782 household across the catchment already established kitchen gardens
–Over 11,000 residents have secured jobs amid the COVID -19 to restore the degraded landscapes.
–129 Cows were provided to the beneficiaries as part of livelihoods transformation
–194 saving groups with more than 38 million Rwandan Francs
–EJOHEZA savings of about 120 millions Rwandan Francs for 18 thousands people.
About the Project:
With technical supports from joint team comprises of Rwanda Water Resources Board, IUCN, SNV and RWARRI as well as Imbaraga Farmers Organization various activities implemented under this project are afforestation, dams’ creation, trenches’ digging, promotion of agroforestry, climate smart agriculture, gullies rehabilitation, radical terraces among many others.