By Justin Kayiranga
The women in Kamonyi district have praised the Green Amayaga project for the relief it has provided them from the burden of spending long hours in the kitchen. This is thanks to the improved cookstoves provided by the project which are fast and smoke-free.
Musabyimana Agnes and Muhimpundu Epiphanie are two of the beneficiaries of the Green Amayaga project, which is currently being implemented by the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA). They both reside in Nyamiyaga sector, located in Kamonyi district, one of the four districts where the project is being carried out.
Due to extensive deforestation and soil erosion, the Amayaga region has suffered, resulting in depleted farmlands. The two women attest that during that time, they struggled with the lack of firewood and unproductive agriculture, which affected their daily lives.
“We used to plant different crops, but whenever it rained, soil erosion would take away our crops and fertilizers, causing us to lose everything. Later on, the Green Amayaga project arrived and established ditches in our farmlands. Today, things have changed, and we can harvest more than we could before the project’s arrival,” says Muhimpundu.
Among the other interventions made by the project in the community, the distribution of 21,000 improved cookstoves stands out.
This effort aims to enhance reforestation and help the community use less firewood.
The initiative has not only discouraged forest degradation but also lifted the burden off the community. They used to struggle with the lack of firewood for cooking.
Musabyimana Agnes said, “Before, I had to spend Rwf500 to buy firewood to cook beans only. However, with the project stove, the Rwf500 firewood can last almost three days of cooking day and night.”
A solution for women and children: In many parts of Rwanda, women and children are responsible for collecting firewood and cooking, as the community relies on firewood for cooking.
Musabyimana recognizes the positive impact of the project on their lives, as they no longer struggle with firewood issues. This struggle had previously affected their children to the point of missing classes due to the long walks required to find firewood.
The Green Amayaga Project is a six-year initiative, launched in October 2020, aiming at promoting biodiversity, foster ecosystem services, increase agricultural productivity and reduce the vulnerability of people and ecosystems to the adverse effects of climate change.
So far, after three years of implementation, the project has managed to remarkably achieve various things including 20 cooking LPGs distributed to schools, 2534 livestock given to households, restoration of Kibilizi-Muyira forest among others.
In addition to these, 3130 people, of which 1512 are women, have been trained on different subject matters in order to ensure project sustainability by building community capacity towards climate change and it effects.