Umuganda: Pan African MPs join tree planting exercise

Members of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) yesterday took part in the monthly community service, locally known as Umuganda, held in Gikomero IDP Model Village.

Gikomero model village, which accommodates 324 people, is situated in Gasabo district, one of the three districts forming the greater Kigali central region.

The Speaker of the Lower Chamber of Parliament, Donatile Mukabalisa commended residents of Gikomero and the African lawmakers for taking part in the tree planting exercise around the model village.

The fifth continental assembly kicked off the two-week Ordinary session in Kigali, last week and it will run until November 2 –under the theme: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.’’

The communal exercise also marked the launch of this year’s Tree Planting season.

Among the trees that were planted in Gikomero include ornamental and fruit trees around homes and in agricultural land to contribute to food security.

According to Environment Minister,Vincent Biruta, during this year’s tree planting season, ornamental trees will be planted in urban areas and IDP model green villages, like that of Gikomero, along roadsides among other places.

The main objective, Biruta says, is to support the growth of agroforestry and landscape restoration in Rwanda.

The 2016 National Forest Inventory showed that some of Rwanda’s forests are degraded and need special attention to improve management of planted trees and rehabilitation of degraded forestlands.

Under the National Strategy for Transformation, Rwanda aims to increase forest coverage to 30 per cent (714,102 ha) and sustain this level.

Currently, Biruta said, the country’s forest coverage is equivalent to 29.8 per cent, of which plantation forests occupy 17.9 per cent and natural forests comprise 11.9 per cent.

“This year’s Tree Planting Season will most definitely deliver Rwanda to the 30 per cent national forest cover target.” upbeat Biruta said.

Throughout the 2018/19 Tree Planting Season, a total of 38,119 hectares of agroforestry, 4,800 hectares of classic forestry and 225,440 fruit trees will be planted across Rwanda. In addition, 670 hectares of degraded forests will be rehabilitated.

The Speaker of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Roger Nkodo Dang, described Umuganda as a transformational and a unifying factor of Rwandans that should be duplicated across Africa.

He also observed that unity and working together as Africans—a concept that is well captured in Rwanda’s monthly communal work—would go a long way in transforming Africa.

Evangelina Filomena Oya Ebule, Deputy Speaker Of Chamber of Deputies from Equatorial Guinea also noted that Umuganda was “a challenge” for other African countries to work together to live in a better environment.

“People coming together to clean streets, plant trees, is impressive. This is a big challenge for other Africans. We appreciate what President Kagame and Rwandans have done to promote the spirit of unity and positive mindset among people,” Ebule said.

Gikomero part two ready

Gikomero model village—largely built in Four-in-One format, was launched in September 2017. It is made up of 64 households with 324 people.

The second phase of the Gikomero IDP model millage—built in Eight-in-One format, is also ready to receive occupants, according to Gasabo District Mayor Stephen Rwamurangwa.

The second phase, which was also build by the National Reserve Force at a cost of Rwf934 million, has five blocks that will accommodate 40 households.

Rwamurangwa told Sunday Times that selection is ongoing for the next occupants of the Model village, with majority most likely going to be picked from the most vulnerable families and homeless people around Gasabo district and the city suburbs.

The Government has set targets to have 70 per cent of Rwandans residing in rural model villages and 35 per cent living in urban areas by 2020.