By Justin Kayiranga
Communities and government agencies are joining forces with high expectations to turning Amayaga region green again, while ensuring a sustainable future of this region that was plagued by severe environmental degradation.
Three years are gone since the Green Amayaga project began to be implemented in four districts of the southern province of Rwanda namely Kamonyi, Ruhango, Nyanza and Gisagara.
Although this project is only halfway through its implementation, its interventions are bringing significant transformation mainly in its forest and landscape restoration run.
Among its key achievements include the afforestation scheme, where so far about two 2000ha of land have been covered with trees, 13,886ha for agroforestry and restoration of Kibilizi-Muyira forest.
Benimana Goreth, 47, a resident of Gisagara district, attest that before the project inception, the community would struggle to make a living from the diminishing resources due to their land vulnerability to soil erosion, lack of fuels for home-cooking among others.
She also mentioned that “Our knowledge and capacity towards best practices to tackle this issue (as residents) was too law that we couldn’t get any solution for a better living.”
Through training programs and community outreaches, Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) in partnership with Action for Environment Protection and Promotion of Agricultural Sector (APEFA) educated locals on environmental management techniques to ensure that these restoration efforts will not be in vain after project completion.
Ended on 18th August 2023, Green Amayaga Football competitions seem to have been crucial for the project through the easing of access to a huge number of people gathered together at every match and receive messages from different authorities regarding the sustainable restoration of Amayaga.
Speaking to Top Africa News, Kayitesi Alice, the Southern Province Governor, said that the province will retain these green ambitions, even after project completion, so as to keep Amayaga green and getting the community free from adverse effects of climate change.
“Today, we are witnessing positive changes brought by the project in Amayaga region compared to how it looked before. All we ask the community is to consider the project as their own and ensure a good management of what has been achieved so far by playing their role in its implementation.” Said the Governor.
Juliet Kabera, the Director General of REMA, endorsed her firm confidences in a sustainable restoration of this region based on the positive feedback they get whenever they visit the community where the project is being implemented.
She said that “The feedback we get is that the people are happy with it. For some places where we visit, people always show their satisfaction with how their farms are producing and they ask that the project would expand to more areas. That’s why we are very confident that the project’s achievements will not be reversed as the people have already seen and understood that they are the primary beneficiaries.”
In order to foster community’s involvement to preserve the biodiversity in Amayaga region, the Executive Director of APEFA, Nzabonimpa Oscar revealed that, after these successfully achieved football, art and cultural competitions, “We are planning to take some of the beneficiaries on field trips for them to eyewitness where same projects have been successfully implemented and learn how they can also do the same in Amayaga region. Another thing is that we will give them financial support and teach them how to use it effectively to make it profitable so they can rid of poverty.”
About Green Amayaga Project
Green Amayaga is a 6-year FLR project, started in 2020, with the aim to promote biodiversity, foster ecosystem services, increase agricultural productivity and reduce the vulnerability of people and ecosystems to the adverse effects of climate change.
It is being implemented by the Rwanda Environment Management Authority in partnership with the Rwanda Forestry Authority and the Districts of Kamonyi, Nyanza, Ruhango and Gisagara with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Action for Environment Protection and Promotion of Agricultural Sector (APEFA) is a non-government Organization founded by people concerned with environment degradation, climate change, smart agriculture, and food security in Rwanda.
Currently, APEFA is partnering with REMA in community mobilization and capacity building through Green Amayaga project.