Public institutions and development partners whose interventions work on social protection are seeking to harmonise interventions to fast-track gradual graduation from poverty.
Vincent Munyeshyaka, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC), said well-coordinated interventions in social protection would play a bigger role in enabling people to graduate from poverty.
“We want to join our efforts so that we can have more people moving past the poverty line. We want to see how to help lift many people from poverty through agriculture,” he said.
“Currently, 39 per cent of our people are under the poverty line, of which 16.3 per cent are in extreme. Once our efforts and interventions are well coordinated we will be able to lift more people from one poverty category to the other. The target is that we won’t have people in extreme poverty, hence the need for our interventions to be harmonised.”
Munyeshyaka was speaking at a multisector high-level meeting and policy dialogue on social protection and agriculture in Kigali yesterday.
Social protection and agriculture interventions are believed to be the backbone in reducing poverty in rural areas by facilitating productive inclusion, improving risk management capacities, and increasing agricultural productivity.
Innocent Musabyimana, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, said the Government put in place several strategies aimed to boost people’s income, which he said would fast-track graduation from poverty.
“We need to synergise, coordinate better to reach more farmers, which will play a big role towards social protection as social protection goes along with food security. We also need to come up with a well-coordinated way to involve social protection part in our interventions, especially through intensive labour where people can have access to work and services the way we proceed in feeder roads programme so that more people can graduate from poverty,” Musabyimana said.
The Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP) is Rwanda’s flagship social protection programme managed by the Local Administrative Entities Development Agency within MINALOC.
As of March 2015, the programme covered a total of 130,000 households across all provinces in the country.
Attaher Maiga, the country representative of Food and Agriculture Organisation, said there was a need to articulate in a meaningful way the link between social protection and agriculture to ensure interventions help to improve social welfare by eliminating poverty and malnutrition.
“Unless we articulate better the social protection with those efforts we are doing in agriculture sector, I think the pace will be slowed,” he said.
Juvenal Karema, the head of agriculture at the Development Bank of Rwanda, said vulnerable people could be helped to associate in cooperatives to ensure they have access to financial services so they can venture into small businesses that can help them quickly graduate from poverty.
Some of the national strategies and programmes that have been put in place to fight malnutrition and food insecurity in Rwanda include the National Food and Nutrition Strategic Plan, the 3rd Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture, the Health Sector Strategic Plan, and Social Protection Sector Strategic Plan.
Others include increasing access of school and pre-school children to nutritious food, One Cow per Poor Family programme (Girinka), and the One Cup of Milk per Child Programme and the Home Grown School Feeding among other initiatives.