A total of 40 cows were distributed to vulnerable families in Cyumba and Manyagiro sectors in Gicumbi District under the government cattle stocking programme, best known as Girinka.
Also donated were iron sheets to 20 vulnerable families in the area.
The donation was handed over at an event presided over by Dr Alvera Mukabaramba, the State Minister for Social Affairs and Social Protection on Thursday.
It attendance was a team of local artistes and journalists under an association called Arts and Media for Change (AMC).
Mukabaramba told the residents to act as the main agents of their own change, adding that the country’s development, which starts with that of family, will be achieved only if citizens embrace development programmes.
She commended residents for paying in time for health insurance coverage.
She, however, criticised them on polygamy, poor hygiene and drug trafficking.
Polygamy increases poverty, number of street children as well as school drop-outs and conflicts, among others, said Mukabaramba.
The minister decried the low latrine coverage in the district, where out of 88,000 households only 66,000 families have standard latrines.
“The district is near the border. Reports of drug trafficking abound in this district. You should know how dangerous drugs are. Drugs cause so many problems in society, that’s why you have to fight the vice,” Mukabaramba said.
Mukabaramba asked parents to fight malnutrition, noting that the cows donated would provide milk, fertilisers and income owhen well looked after.
“Cattle will change your lives if you look after them well. Join cooperatives and improve farming activities for sustainable development. But, remember that hygiene is the cornerstone of health,” she said.
Celestin Ntawuyirushamaboko, a journalist and president of the Association of Artistes and Journalists for Change, observed that journalists and artistes have a big influence in changing people’s mindset.
Mukabaramba commended the association’s support in providing the iron sheets.
Angelique Muneza, a widow who got a cow and iron sheets, said her life would change for the better.
“My children would beg milk from neighbors. I am happy to own a cow because I will get milk in the near future,” she said.
Elizabeth Ngendahimana, another beneficiary, said she expects to get milk, money as well as fertilisers to increase her crop production.