At least 1,230 vulnerable families in the Southern Province are set to receive a cow each as part of a week-long campaign that seeks to encourage beneficiaries of the One-Cow per family programme (Girinka) to pass on heifers to their needy neighbours.
Dubbed Girinka Week, the programme is championed by the Rwanda Agriculture Board (Rab) in partnership with local leaders.
The campaign, which is due to wind up on October 30, features various activities that include giving cows to needy families, construction of cowsheds, and a milk feeding scheme for children.
At the launch of the campaign yesterday, 33 cows were donated to needy families in Kansi Sector, Gisagara District.
While speaking at the function, the Southern Province governor, Alphonse Munyantwari, told beneficiaries to always endeavour to pass on heifers to their needy neighbours.
Munyantwari said by donating to the disadvantaged families, they will be supporting the programme while at the same time contributing toward poverty eradication.
“It is a way to give back to your community,” Munyantwari told the Girinka beneficiaries.
“Apart from helping improve your neighbours’ lives, this action also helps cement your relationships, thus building a united society.
New beneficiaries commended the programme, saying it would help them improve their lives.
Jean Baptiste Ndahiriwe, one of them, said he was “extremely happy” to have his own cow and expressed gratitude to his donor.
“I have been given a chance to improve my livelihood and I promise to also give back to the community,” a visibly excited Ndahiriwe said.
Girinka programme was initiated in 2006 to help slash poverty rates, reduce malnutrition and improve household income through increased milk and crop productivity.
The programme has since emerged as one of the most successful home-grown solutions that officials say has greatly impacted the lives of citizens and contributed toward socio-economic welfare.
Since its inception, over 200, 000 cows have been distributed throughout the country, according to Jean Jacques Mbonigaba, the Rab director general.
The government targets to distribute over 350,000 cows to vulnerable families by 2017.