Umutara community resources and infrastructure development programme promoting economic and infrastructural growth in eastern province

Word from the Coordinator: Steven Bashaija The Umutara Community Resources and Infrastructure Development Project (PDRCIU/UCRIDP) is a 10-year project designed as a flexible lending mechanism, under which the implementation was planned for three phases (3, 4 and 3 years, respectively).

Word from the Coordinator: Steven Bashaija

The Umutara Community Resources and Infrastructure Development Project (PDRCIU/UCRIDP) is a 10-year project designed as a flexible lending mechanism, under which the implementation was planned for three phases (3, 4 and 3 years, respectively).

The PDRCIU is a multi - Sectoral integrated development project with the objective of enhancing human and institutional development, and empowering the target population to actively participate in community decision making process for good governance and equitable use of resources.

The Project operates in the Nyagatare, Gatsibo and Kayonza districts of Eastern Province. This former Umutara province is comprised of 24 sectors of physical investments and 16 sectors of soft investment with a target population of 932,157 and186, 431 households.

The project (UCRIDP﴿ main goal is to promote an equitable process of economic, human and institutional development consistent with sustainable mobilization and efficient use of human natural and financial resources in Umutara region.

The programme has had several objectives over the years and several of which were met during the first and second phases. However during the third phase objectives were summarized into two main purposes namely:

I. Rural households have improved living conditions through using sustainable public infrastructure developed within an equitable, demand responsive and efficient district planning, resource management and administration system; and,

II. Rural households have sustainable increased net incomes from farming, livestock (and forest) management activities and, on and off-farm enterprises through systems suited to the agro-climatic conditions.

The project initially operated in 8 districts but in the recent years these were reduced to three districts of Nyagatare, Gatsibo and Kayonza of Eastern province.

The project cost was about USD 57 million financed with two loans from two international agencies: International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund.

As we come to the end of the 10 year project life, the management of the project would like to thank the larger PDRCIU/UCRIDP family namely; the Government of Rwanda, the Financiers- IFAD and OPEC, all staff of the programme (past and present), Partners and all Stakeholders for the support they rendered towards the programmes.

Achievements in the last 10 years. These achievements have been mainly through the programme’s five main components as summarized below but these achievements will be seen in detail later in this article

The Program components are;

1. Infrastructure - this has the following objectives;
 Improved  domestic  and livestock  water supplies
 Improved feeder roads
 Sustainable management of  community infrastructure in place
 Environmental sanitation  and hygiene conditions improved
 Environmental impact of projects activities

2. Community Development and Decentralized Capacity building - this aims at;
 Vulnerable  groups  and women are fully  involved in poverty reduction  and women specific  activities
 District and sector governments  deliver  priority  socio-economic services  as  prioritized  in bottom up  planning  by local communities;
 The provincial  Government  sustains  its support to LGs
 Project activities  enhance  tolerance and peaceful coexistence
 Poor families working with the project have improved land tenure security and land-use.

3. Agricultural and Livestock Development – this component ensures;
 Improved  priority agricultural commodity chains
 Improved  priority  livestock  commodity chains
 The Nyagatare diary factory  operates  profitably and sustainably

4. Rural Enterprise Development &Rural Finance Services;
 Rural  Micro and Small Enterprise  (RMSE)  entrepreneurs  and cooperatives  access business management and technical skills development
 RMSE associations and cooperatives provide  relevant support  to members
 Poor Vulnerable groups  and women  access financial  services using  “Ubudehe” and CLASS-B approaches;
 Individuals and groups of rural businesses have improved access to appropriate financial services.

5. Programme Management - this has three departments namely;
Monitoring and Evaluation, Finance and Administration and Procurement department.
 The Project Coordination Unit (PCU) ensures  efficient  management of  project funds
 The project Management Information System (MIS) and Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) systems that are used to improve project management and implementation systems
Programme coordination and supervision:
The Provincial Project Steering Committee (PPSC) and National Policy Project Steering Committee (NPSC) provide coordination and supervision of the programme. The NPSC is the key organ that links the programme with National Policy and strategy initiatives and PPSC fulfils an essential role in linking the programme with the Provincial Development initiatives and provides liaison with other similar and complementary development initiatives in the Province.

Finally there is need to have the achievements in the three districts maintained and sustained over a long period so that we can continue to take these achievements to greater heights.

Umutara community resources and infrastructure development project operates in three districts of Eastern province namely Nyagatare, Gatsibo and Kayonza Steven Bashaija, the project coordinator talked to The New Time′s Godfrey Ntagungira on how the project has impacted on the livelihoods of people living in the former Umutara province.

Since its inception the project has impacted a lot on the lives of people living in Umutara. The people of this area are based on an agricultural production system that is characterized by small family farms of less than 1 hectare (ha), practicing mixed farming that combines rain fed grain crops, traditional livestock-rearing and some vegetable production.

Food crops account for a huge percentage of the cultivated area, and two thirds of food crops are earmarked for family consumption. 

Historically, the former Province of Umutara was created after the 1994 genocide, and a large part of the country’s former game reserve was allocated for resettlement of Returnees.

During that period, there was a need for infrastructure and capacity building of public administration and community organizations for planning, implementing and maintaining sustainable development on a participatory basis. Access to drinking water was a serious problem – just 23 per cent of households had clean drinking water.

The project was put in place as a solution to improve the live hoods of people living in the former Umutara province.

The project phases were designed in line with goals embedded in the national documents like the Vision 2020 and the EDPRS in order to realize the ambitious goals to raise the GDP growth rates of the country taking it more commercially-oriented and innovative.

The former Province of Umutara was also aggravated by degraded soil, the absence of improved varieties of plant material, improved infrastructural development and poor animal health.

Rural people lacked appropriate information on markets and technologies, and adequate financial services. The poor state of the roads kept farmers from markets and impeded the circulation of commercial information.

Due to the dare situation of that time it compelled the government of Rwanda to set up the project to help poor farmers in former Umutara Province overcome these constraints, improve their living conditions and raise their incomes.

Working towards that goal, the project since its initiation has been operating around the decentralized ion and improved governance in the region, The project provides training for associations to enable them participate in decision-making, and improved access by rural households to sustainable public infrastructure such as roads, valley dams and boreholes for domestic and livestock use.

It also provides support for the development of cost-effective extension and financial services. In 2008 the government and IFAD conducted the second inter-phase review, which allowed the transition to Phase III of the project in February 2009.


The approach for the project implementation was based on two main elements;

Demand driven participatory processes and project response through Performance-based contract. The principle of using a participatory planning process to identify needs and priorities and to match a series of deliverables that would meet set priorities has been employed successfully in many other programmes.

The second element is using ‘performance-based contracting or outsourcing’ of services from competent institutions and NGOs. The later was effective in promoting efficient and flexible use of limited resources but needed to adopt to reflect decentralization and district responsibilities.

The guiding principles towards achievement of project objectives have been among others the following;

• Empowerment of Local Actors - Province, districts, Technical guidance and coordination.
• Accountability of Local Actors - all stakeholders who receive resources for implementation are accountable to PDRCUI Project Coordination Unit (PCU).
• Smooth delivery of investment for the benefit of the citizens in the project area.
• Progressive transfer of responsibilities - By the end of phase three (Project end), districts and the province should be able to implement all their mandated responsibilities in an autonomous fashion.
• A new role for the province - Change from control to advising and supporting the districts.
• The PCU as an advisor and accountable manager – Leaves implementation to local structures and provide capacity building assistance where necessary, through contracting of service providers or its own personnel.
•  Partnership – PCU and districts and the province and districts.


Infrastructure Development
Constructed and Rehabilitated Feeder Roads - 477km of feeder roads construction and rehabilitation were planned and so far 367 km have been completed giving an execution rate of 77%.

Domestic Water Supply
Under this activity, PDRCIU supports Gravity water system and Pumping systems; 187km were planned and 361 km achieved giving an achievement rate of 194%

Water retaining structures
These have been achieved 100% as 1 planned structure was completed and is in use.

386 Boreholes were planned and PDRCIU has constructed/rehabilitated 386 boreholes hence 100% achievement.
Under Rain water harvesting; 20 Plastic water tanks, 0 Curved block water tanks and 1 water treatment plant had been planned, so far    245 plastic water tanks, 54 curved block tanks and 1 water treatment plant have been constructed and supplied giving the project an achievement rate of 1225%, 100% and 100% respectively.

61 Cattle water points (Dams/tanks) were planned and 100% achieved i.e.
37 dams rehabilitated, 23 dams constructed and 2 Valley tanks constructed.

The project supported construction of Buildings such as sector offices, women centers and cattle markets.

62 Sector Offices and 8 women centers were planned and 54 offices and 8 centers completed which gives 87% and 95% rate of achievement respectively.                         

Feeder roads construction/rehabilitation is one of the best projects showing the presence and immediate impact of UCRIDP Program; qualitative roads have been constructed / rehabilitated and rural economic growth is currently seen in places where population were locked without feeder roads.

Trading and business centres have emerged along the rehabilitated and constructed feeder roads, transport facilities are readily available and at more competitive costs which has also resulted into business opportunities to some members of the communities.

In addition, more public facilities emerged such as health centres, schools, markets and milk cooling centres were farmers are able to sell their produced milk especially that the programme intervenes in the area which is abundantly with cows.

Note that 65% of households in the area have access to the feeder roads without travelling long distance from their homes to get to.

Water supply

The situation of water supply in the project area, before the project commenced in the area was dare and the public had problems of accessing clean water, travelling long distances and at times using dirty water from dams thus water borne diseases.

The project managed to distribute 50 water tanks which were constructed along the gravity and pumping water systems.

A water Retaining structure, water treatment plants, boreholes and pumping systems have all been 100% achieved.
Plastic tank at Nyagatare 1 Primary school (10m3

The installation of plastic tanks has been completed in the three Districts; the six Concrete tanks of Kayonza district have been also completed, 33 water public tanks on public buildings completed, the supply of 20 plastic tanks, construction of 14 curved blocks water tanks of 20m3
This method of rain water harvesting has been very effective on Public buildings especially Primary schools and health centres.


Achievements of the CDDCB
In support of development and decentralized capacity building 36 Community District Committees (CDC) (equivalent to District councils now at all levels) with 4,018 members were trained, 100 district staffs trained in ICT basic skills 30 staff trained in GPS use for data collection, 16 Accountants and internal auditors were trained in basic management of TOMPRO AND Finpro software and 160 district staff, 70 Sectors staff, 5609 newly elected leaders were also trained

Equal and Sustainable Access to Development Benefits
The sub component had 5 activities, and conceived as cross cutting themes to be integrated in the whole program’s activities.

Poverty Alleviation
In terms of equal access to development benefits, PDRCIU had specific programs towards the vulnerable & poor households.

Target groups were: People living with HIV, Poorest families, Poor women and youth.

Main achievements of the volet are;
 2500 people benefited from funds of activities under implementation using HIMO approach in construction of feeder roads;
 498 householders received inputs (woods fruits seedlings, seeds and fertilizers) 2002, 2003;
 Support to 149 Income Generating Activities (IGA) for associations of poor, and persons living with HIV/AIDS : 63 associations of PHIV, totalizing 1711 members, 773 are women, benefited from 14.638.000 FRW as revolving funds; 26 associations of the poor, totalizing 404 members, received 4.150.000 as revolving funds in 2006. List of these associations available in relative files.
 332 associations with 943 members received trainings on preparation, management of viable income generating projects and savings, Frw 60 million were saved in 8 districts, and supported with matching credits as it was planned; and 150 members were trained and mobilised in transformation and commercialization of agri-livestock products.
 The process of its implementation started by poverty mapping activity to improve targeting the poor and vulnerable householders was done in 6 pilots sectors; Matimba and Mukama in Nyagatare district, Nyagihanga and Gasange in Gatsibo, Ndego and Mwiri in Kyonza district. The data are available as well as soft copies and hard copies.
 2474 goats were distributed among vulnerable households as seed stock for a revolving  fund.
 Supported programs in women empowerment, gender mainstreaming and youth activities.
 Under this sub component, the aim is to empower women in terms of their full participation in sustainable development.
Women have been targeted as specific groups; trained, institutionally and economically supported through trainings, study tours; provide equipment, funding their projects and mobilization through women days.
 The Project facilitated women and youth’s congresses to access needs and integrate these needs into planning at sector and district levels. Mobilization targeted local authorities down to village level. Training on gender approach and national policy and other priorities involved a total of 871 people (of which 69% were women).
 A detailed Gender Strategic Plan (with district Acton plans and budgets) has been finalized and is linked with the national gender policy.
 Eight women centres were constructed, 2 are to be finalised and 8 are fully equipped including audio visual equipments. About 480 women regularly use the operational centres with 875 attending less frequently. Procurement of ICT facilities for the centres is underway.
 The women’s centre development programme has not yet been completed and arrangements are proposed for the ongoing management, operations and maintenance (0&M) of the centres, in collaboration with National Women Council.
 133 associations benefited of Income Generating Activities (IGAs) of revolving funds. Some of them were reimbursed, but not yet fully. 59 women associations, totalising 1678 members, 1084 women, received 21.150.000 FRW as revolving funds. .
 580 women benefited from study tours within the country to experience some good initiatives and be inspired.
 Gender awareness trainings have been conducted for local leaders and women.
 During phase II, during gender sensitization, PDRCIU supported celebration of women’s day (International women day and rural women’s day). Members of initiatives were supported, and this was done accordingly to the theme of Migeprofe. It is in these occasions, that Kayonza & Gatsibo districts distributed cows to selected women (20 in Kayonza and 14 in Gatsibo), and  other prizes were distributed. Campaigns on fighting gender based violence have been widely conducted.
 As the majority of illiterate were women, the program emphasized their participation, it is in this matter that out of 30.621 people benefited and accomplished adult literacy programs, 37,263 regularly trained and examined/evaluated.

Women Centre constructed by PDRCIU/UCRIDP in Gatunda Sector.


Agriculture sector is the foundation upon which the national economy is built. There are many reasons to believe that agriculture can be the engine of rural growth, especially in ‘early development’. When agriculture prospers, farmers and farm laborers benefit, and so do those with jobs upstream and downstream from farming.

Furthermore, the wider economy benefits, from increased spending, greater tax revenue, more investment in infrastructure, and a stronger foreign exchange position.

Agriculture and livestock development

The objective of this component is that Households’ returns from farming and livestock activities through the promotion of a dynamic market are increased. Specific needs of women and vulnerable groups are addressed.

Several activities such as Capacity building for commercialized production, technology transfer in modern farming practices; Post harvest technology, access to credit and input, produce processing and marketing have been implemented through various service providers.

In the promotion of Agriculture PDRCIU/UCRIDP in collaboration with ISAR a number of seeds that suit the climatic conditions of the three districts were made available.

Commodity chain crops such as maize, banana, pineapple, sunflower and horticulture commodity chain have been implemented, 480farmers in 23 cooperatives in the three districts have been grouped, and 3 demonstrations sites have been constructed in Gatsibo District for post harvesting technologies.

8 cooperatives were trained   with 452 trainees out of which 222 are women and 230 are men, the training held under technology transfer in horticultural crops for planting, harvesting and post-harvest technology.

It encompassed different topics which would help farmers  for sound production of horticultural crops   which includes : site planning and staggered production, crop and variety selection,   nursery and transplanting, soil : crop fertility, soil management and irrigation, integrated pest management: important disease and insect pests of vegetable, pest management strategies, safe pesticide use, food security and pesticide residues,, specific vegetable crops , harvesting and post harvesting technology.

With regard to distribution of improved seeds:  we planned 15kgs to be distributed, but, we provided 58kgs which includes: onion, Sukumawiki, aubergine , local, aubergine violet , spinach , cauliflower, green pepper, red cabbage, leek, carrots, French beans , cucumber and watermelon.


The project has successfully implemented several livestock activities in the project area and these include:

Milk chain commodity development: - Capacity building for farmers in cooperatives in promoting modern livestock development; and Capacity building of primary cooperatives leaders.

Genetic Improvement to increase milk production: -
 This involves among others
• Artificial insemination;
• refresher courses for Paravets;
• Reinforce artificial insemination program and purchase of insemination kits,
• Livestock development related to the integrated watershed + millennium sector umbrage,
• Organize farmers around milk collection centre.  

Animal nutrition development system to increase milk production 
This involves Ammonization of cereal Stover’s for dry season cattle feeding, on- farm demonstration, training of dairy farmers in fodder conservation, feed formulation manufacturing and animal health management, forage legume production and conservation for dairy cattle feeding in the three districts.

Under Animal nutrition development to increase milk production, 135 farmers were trained along the demonstrations and seed multiplication of forage legumes in the three districts as follows: 90 Nyagatare, 23 Gatsibo and 22 in Kayonza District.

In Nyagatare forage legume production and conservation for dairy cattle feeding on-farm demonstrations.

A number of activities have been implemented to promote on-farm forage legume production technologies for dairy production.

17 Farmers successfully established their legume fodder banks. The legumes established as sole crops and with the combination of Napier grass.

Farmers are feeding at least 2 – 3 kg/day/cow of the legume mainly to Friesian and Friesian cross-breed cows as shown in Photo 1 below. The supplementation of Napier fodder with mucuna forage has increased milk yield of cows from 8 to 15 – 20 liters in combination with other practices learnt.
Mucuna planted around Napier grass to be harvested together for feeding cattle

The Nyagatare Diary Plant; PDRCIU financed the rehabilitation and construction of Nyagatare Dairy Plant.  The plant has a capacity of producing homogenized and pasteurized fresh milk at a rate of 2000 packets (half litre packets) per hour 1,000lts or 2,000 1 litre packets per hour) 


Rural Enterprise Development
Through service providers, this sub-component’s main outputs are:

i) Capacity building of SMEs so that Rural Small and Micro Enterprise (RMSE) entrepreneurs and cooperatives access business management and technical skills development

ii) Capacity building of cooperatives through: Formation of viable cooperatives in agriculture and off-farm activities, Viability assessment of existing cooperatives, Support the legal registration of cooperatives, training of SME on business skills development (projects proposals and credit mgt), Training of trainers (TOT) for SMEs in Agriculture and off-farm activities and provide SME and Cooperatives laws and regulations (guidelines for showroom mgt).

iii) Technical support through: Sensitizing and promoting small processing equipments, On the Job-training for the vulnerable groups, training on appropriate technologies and innovation. Therefore, link to the MFI / financial institutions for SME Credit.

Achievements to-date includes
• Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) training: 362 individuals Trained
• 28 Cooperatives mobilised in Gatsibo (2724 Women & 4162 Men)
• 726 cattle purchased through Rwanda Development Bank (RDB/BRD) loans accessed through UDAMACO
• Through Duterimbere 2,228 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) were trained
• 35 Cooperatives were trained
• 241 Solidarity groups formed and trained

1. Rural Finance Services
This sub-component has three main strategic activities:
(i) Support to groups and individuals to access rural financial services;
(ii) Support for MFI’s;
(iii) Provision of a line of credit; and
(iv) Technical assistance. The sub-component is operational through a MoU signed with DUTERIMBERE in Nyagatare, Kayonza and Gatsibo.
Total disbursement to Duterimbere MFI to date is 662, 282, 396 Rwf. With Gatsibo district only benefiting this year (2010).

Through DUTERIMBERE MFI, Kayonza and Nyagatare Districts, granted credit totaling to Rwf 467,156,340 in the period of six months as follows:
Nyagatare district has 3 counters/Guichets namely; Matimba, Nyagatare and Rukomo and these received Rwf 130,550, 000, 72,502,340 and Rwf 140, 758, 000respectively.
Kayonza district has one branch (Guichet) in Kayonza town and it received Rwf.123, 346, 340
These credits were offered to solidarity groups, individuals, women entrepreneurs, associations and cooperatives. Activities financed are as follows:  Commerce (1215) people, agriculture and livestock (310) people. The remaining 180 people were offered services.

The distributions of credits by beneficiary are as follows:
Nyagatare district has three branches with the following beneficiaries; Matimba 127 males and 207 females, Nyagatare 80 males and 305 females, Rukomo 180 males and 386 females.
Kayonza branch has 144 males and 276 females.

The MFI have improved their operations tremendously, because, there are many savings registered up to date as follows:


Matimba savings are totaling to 34, 315,599Rwf with
261 male savers and 900 female savers are in Solidarity groups.
264 male savers and 200 female savers are in Women Entrepreneurs.
11 male savers and 14 female savers are in Associations.
Nyagatare Branch/Guichet savings are totaling to Rwf 83, 923,860 with
430 male savers and 705 female savers are in Solidarity Groups.
346 male savers and 1816 female savers are in Women Entrepreneurs
85 male and 14 female savers are in Associations
Rukomo Branch/Guichet savings are Rwf 42, 227, 612 with
400 male and 1600 female savers in Solidarity groups,
185 male and 435 female savers are in Women Entrepreneurs.
Kayonza district has savings worth Rwf 46, 863, 333 with
380 male and 1043 female savers in Solidarity groups,
95 male and 380 female savers are in Women Entrepreneurs.
 These savings are in three categories: some are from the credit offered which are repaid and then rotates; voluntary savers and compulsory savings for those soliciting credits.

The programme has provided technical assistance to DUTERIMBERE MFI for the installation of the Banking MIS where 30millions were disbursed for this purpose. This was done to equip the MFI in a bid to introduce ICT, facilitating the banking operations as well as putting it at the standard required by the National Bank of Rwanda.

SME beneficiary from the Duterimbere MFI (Tailoring group – SME)


The PCU’s main roles are to coordination, facilitation of the project, advice to the province and districts and give accountability for project performance and resource utilization to the government of Rwanda and Donors (IFAD and OFID).

The project management comprises of an M&E, Finance and Administration and Procurement departments. These, work towards achievement of project objectives with the Administration & Finance over seeing day today administrative operations of the project, procurement ensures efficient and effective awarding of tenders to service providers as well as any other procurement processes in the PCU.

The Monitoring and Evaluation department monitors all project activities and ensures timely reporting of the implementation progress to relevant stakeholders. The use of RIMS indicators and M&E/MIS systems have been a plus towards tracking implementation progress by the M&E unit.

The above three heads of departments report to the Project Coordinator, just as all the heads of components do.
In conclusion; it is every stakeholder’s wish to see that what PDRCIU/UCRIDP has achieved over its 10 years of operations is maintained and sustained for the good of Umutara province citizens, Eastern province and Rwanda as a whole.


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