At least 1400 calves will be distributed to poor families in the Eastern Province during the Girinka week by Rwanda Agriculture Board.
The distribution was launched on Tuesday in Rweru sector, Bugesera District with distribution of 62 heifers to vulnerable families.
The scheme aims at lifting vulnerable Rwandan families out of poverty through one cow per family.
At the launch, children were given milk. Partners who have contributed to the Girinka programme were also given certificates of recognition.
Richard Kagabo, adviser of the Eastern Province Governor, warned local leaders against unfairness in selecting beneficiaries.
“There have been complaints of some malpractices in selecting beneficiaries but this should not happen. The selection should be done in a transparent manner by cell committees contrary to what would happen where the selection could be done by one person. The programme aims at fighting poverty. Only vulnerable people deserve the cows. Anyone who bribes to influence the selection process should be punished,” he said.
He added that Girinka is an ongoing programme and everyone who deserves the cow will get it.
“Cows are beneficial to our daily lives. When you have a cow, you can’t fail to subscribe to health insurance, you are able to educate your children and fight malnutrition. Beneficiaries should pass on the calves to their neighbours when the cow gives birth,” Kagabo said.
Emmanuel Nsanzumuhire, the mayor of Bugesera District, said the Girinka week should be the time to evaluate the benefits of the scheme in changing the lives of people, adding that passing on the heifers should be regarded as a must not optional.
Beatrice Mukashyaka from Rweru sector after receiving a heifer expressed joy, listing the benefits she expects from the heifer such as money, milk, fertiliser among others.
Lazaro Mvunabandi who passed on the heifer to a neighbour said the act of passing on animals is a good gesture in supporting government programmes.
The donated cows were passed on by residents who had earlier benefited.
At least 4000 heifers have already been passed on to residents in Eastern Province against 6750 target this year.