Karongi is one of the seven Districts that make up Western Province. It is bordered by Rutsiro to the North, Ngororero and Muhanga to the North-East, Nyamasheke and Nyamagabe to the South, Ruhango District to the East and the Democratic Republic of Congo and Lake Kivu to the West.
The main town of Karongi District is Rubengera, but has other towns as Kibuye which is the provincial capital and a major Rwandan lakeside resort.
The district lies on the shores of Lake Kivu, about halfway down the lake between Rubavu and Rusizi.
Karongi District is divided into 13 sectors namely: Bwishyura, Gishyita, Gashali, Gitesi, Mubuga, Murambi, Murundi, Mutuntu, Rubengera, Rugabano, Ruganda, Rwankuba and Twumba; it is also subdivided into 88 cells and 537 villages.
Geographical features show that Karongi District stretches over an area of 993 square kilometers with a population of 331,808 and 73,326 households.
It is among the districts of Rwanda which has a high density of 334 persons per kilometer square with average annual growth rate of 1.7%.
Karongi District is characterized by the high hills with steep topography. It has an altitude varying between 1400 to 2800mm above sea level. On one hand the topographical characteristics leave much of the land susceptible to soil erosion.
The nature of topography is a constraint to developing mechanized agriculture. The district recommends that environmental initiatives should be undertaken to protect the soil.
Karongi District experiences tropical climate of high altitude and is one of Rwanda’s regions with high rainfall. It is characterized by two dry seasons covering the period from December to January and from June to mid-September.
It is also characterized by two rain seasons, the long rains start in mid-September and end in December; and from February to June with an annual average of temperature varying from between 8,20 and 13,2o C
The Annual rain falls ranging from 1200 to 1800 mm, features that are favorable to agriculture and livestock development. However on other side, that high incidence of rain causes erosion and environmental degradation of which the district is devising continuous measures to protect environment in these regions of high altitude.
The economy of the district relies on cultivation of tea, coffee, maize, beans, irish potatoes, manioc, banana plantation and fruits.
It is also a touristic district as it has different touristic sites like Lake Kivu, Urutare rwa Ndaba, Ibigabiro bya Rwabugiri, Chapeau de Napoleon, Akarwa k’amahoro, Nile river source and a part of Nyungwe national park.
Touristic district: Lake Kivu, historical gem (Urutare rwa Ndaba), historical big sized trees for King Rwabugiri (Ibigabiro bya Rwabugiri), peace peninsula (Akarwa k’amahoro), Nile source, Gisovu tea, Nyungwe National Park, different rivers like Nyabahanga, Mashyiga, Musogoro among others.
Favorable land for cash crops cultivation like coffee in sectors of Gishyita, Mubuga, Bwishyura, Rubengera and tea in sectors of Twumba, Rwankuba, Mutuntu, Gitesi, Rugabano and Gashari.
There is also favorable land for food crops like pineapples; passion fruits, beans, banana plantation and Irish potatoes in all sectors.
Wetlands are favorable for agriculture. These include; Musaho in Rubengera, Nyabahanga in Bwishyura, Murundi in Murambi and Mwumvero in Gishyita.
There is a big part of land that consist of quarries rich in precious stones like gold, cassiterite and colta among others, and stones for construction in different sectors.
Roads that link Karongi District and other districts like Rutsiro, Ruhango, Nyamasheke and Ngororero are in place, with big projects that are being carried out in the district like excavation of Methane Gas, the road Rusizi-Nyamasheke-Karongi-Rutsiro-Rubavu, cross border market and Bwishyura car park.
Karongi township is made up of Bwishyura and Rubengera sectors.
In advancing the development of the city, the district has implemented different activities:
In Tourism, the district has eight hotels, different bars and restaurants. To attract tourists in the country, the district opened an Environmental Museum that showcases some plant species available in the country and help in preservation. In sustaining cleanliness, the township has electrified twenty kilometers along the road, created modern gardens at Kiniha cell and constructed water supply system of 630 meters.
The township has constructed a public landfill for proper waste management.
The business community in Karongi town have worked together in addressing accommodation challenges where they have constructed a nine floor commercial complex. Two new complexes are under construction in completion stages.
In collaboration with LODA they constructed Bwishyura modern market with 82 commercial rooms.
In order to create off-farm jobs, the district is supporting handcrafts, constructing a modern market (agakiriro) with phase IV already completed. There are 218 artisans dealing in handcrafts tailoring, carpentry and welding.
More than 273,410 people ( 82.4%) have access to clean water and 9,386 households (12.8%) are connected to electricity.
Roads with 200km/380 that connect sectors were constructed. There are four transport cooperatives in the district.
The district has established villages’ master plan to promote good settlement in rural areas. In this line, 130 village master plans have been developed and roads with 130.1km were created in 79 sites. 13,340 plots were also created.
In Karongi District, there is IPRC West that empowers learners with vocational skills along with four Vocational Training Centers.
The seven commercial banks, five microfinance institutions and three insurance companies along with Business Development Fund (BDF) are some of the supporting financial platforms available. BDF has supported 62 projects with Rwf195,275,127 under HANGUMURIMO programme.
Ahospital that serves at national level was constructed in Bwishyura sector and is now operating.
To reduce child-maternal mortality, the district acquired a marine ambulance form his Excellency Paul Kagame to help in dispatch of patients across Lake Kivu.
In partnership with World Vision, the district constructed a consultation house for children with HIV/AIDS in order to fight against any discrimination.
In health sector, the district has three hospitals, 23 health centers and seven health posts that offer medical services to all citizens, seven health centers have maternity. And above all people are well using insurance (mutuelle de santé).
The rural areas cover eleven sectors out of thirteen that make up Karongi District, with agriculture being the major activity.
Tea is cultivated at 3,027 hectares and coffee at 1,460 hectares. There are eleven factories that process coffee and two for tea.
In 2015-2016, a total of 52,381 hectares were consolidated for maize , beans, Irish potatoes, manioc, soya and wheat growing. Out this programme, 156,037.69 tones were produced. Also created were 2,199 ha of radical terraces in sectors of Rubengera, Gashari, Rugabano, Rwankuba, and Murundi.
Under the Girinka program, 5747 families were given cows and 5052 families were given exotic pigs.
More than 60,000 SACCO members have constructed 13 modern working offices and more than 134,000 out of 331,808 work with financial institutions.
In a move to preserve environment, 150km of Lake Kivu were rehabilitated 300km of Nyabahanga and Mashyiga rivers were also maintained; Muregeya and Cyamutunda bridges were constructed, and 12,031 hectares were planted with trees to tackle erosion. Families that use biogas in the district are 227.
Under the bye-bye Nyakatsi program, 2500 houses were constructed , 1802 genocide survivors got houses, 260 houses were constructed for marginalized people and 67 families of them were bought farms, 93 rent farms and 162 children were taken back to school.
In the district there are fifteen genocide memorials, two of them in Bisesero and Rubengera.
In education 406 classrooms and 823 toilets were constructed under the twelve-year basic education programme, 13 teachers accommodation units were also constructed and school feeding programme was established in 39 schools of nine and twelve years basic education.
There are monthly citizen forums that take place at cell level to resolve citizens’ complaints.
The district established a toll-free telephone line for public views, supplementing the community radio, ISANGANO, which plays a big in promoting good governance in the district.
For promoting good services, all sectors were given office equipment like printers, scanners, computers, modems, and photocopying machines among others. The district has also introduced a knowledge-hub that offers free ICT education, and all leaders were connected into a user group phone.
In collaboration with residents, 73 modern cell offices were constructed and TV sets were bought to enable easy access to information.
Every year through the open day programme, citizens are shown the performance results. .
Future Development Projects
-Construction of Bwishyura car park.
-Construction of Karongi stadium
-Construction of modern slaughter house in Bwishyura sector
-Construction of tea factory in Rugabano sector
-Construction of Gatwaro genocide memorial center
-Completing to light the road Rubengera-Bwishyura.
-Completing the construction of cross-border market.
-Construction of Musaho port.
-Construction of a five star Hotel at Mariri/Bwishyura.
-Construct cobblestone and unpaved roads of Bwishyura and Rubengera Sectors.
-2nd phase construction of Kibuye hospital
-Construction of banana factory in Rubengera sector.
-Construction of industry for construction materials.
-Designing and implementation of Karongi tourism master plan
-Construction of green coffee factory in Rubengera sector.
-Extraction of Methane gas in Lake Kivu
-Construction of peace camps for promoting youth entertainment in Rubengera sector.
-Construction of 500 houses for Ngoma model village in Rugabano sector.
-Construction of a five star hotel with golf pitches at Musaho.
-Irrigation programme in high mountainous region for 130 hectares of fruits and other crops in Rubengera sector.
-Launch of a university that will teach Nutrition and Nursing located in Gishyita sector.
Even though Karongi District has attained tangible development, the district is still having challenges.
Among these challenges are:
-21.3% of population is under extreme poverty a number that is still big.
-A big part of the district is in high risk zone, it needs stringent measures to fight erosion and it is not favorable for agriculture as it needs fertilizers.
-There’s need for more infrastructures such as electricity, roads, classrooms and to connect electricity to Rugabano and Mutuntu sectors that have no access to electricity.
-Kivu lake is not exploited as it should be
-Insufficient capacity of the district to implement Karongi town master plan.
-Funds for rehabilitating properties destroyed by disasters.
Karongi district Mayor, Francois Ndayisaba, told The New Times that after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, reparations for destroyed properties like infrastructures and restoring unity and reconciliation was very difficult in the district like elsewhere in the country, but the government has done all that is possible and enabled noticeable development in the country, Karongi district in particular.
He added that all sectors of life were well strengthened even though their advancement is a process. “Much has been done to improve the wellbeing of population. We need to sustain the achievements by setting up measures to tackle any challenge.”
He urges Karongi residents to embrace government policies and use available opportunities to shape the future of the country.
2015-2016 performance contracts review
In the 2015-2016 financial year, the district targeted to improve agricultural productivity through mobilizing farmers to embrace TWIGIRE Muhinzi extension model as well as mobilization to embrace use of improved seeds, working with agro-dealers and monitoring and reporting among others. Reports have shown that all activities have positively impacted lives of famers in all sectors of the district.
A total of 77.7% of farmers used improved seeds of the 80% that was targeted.
The district targeted 70 % of households having and using domestic composts and achieved the target at 89.2 % which comprises of 73,093 households up from65, 199.
In line with improving crop production, the district also targeted to increase use of organic fertilizers where they used DAP, UREA and NPK.
By conducting mobilisation of farmers and Agro dealers, application of chemical fertilizers, recording of data during 2 seasons, monitoring of activities and reporting the targeted goal to use chemical fertilizers achieved at 84,92 %.
Urea: 241,729 Kg, NPK:204,839.01 Kg
DAP: 447,595.5 Kg,
Urea: 214,291.9 Kg, NPK: 158.348Kg
The district had targeted to construct new radical terraces on the surface of 670 hectares which was achieved on 561.37 hectares. Meanwhile terraces were constructed at a total of 90.91 ha in Murundi sector, 83.5ha in Rugabano,50.66ha in Gitesi, 83.6ha in Gashali, 80.6ha in Twumba, 76.5ha in Mutuntu, 31.6ha in Ruganda and 64ha in Rwankuba. The district targeted to increase tea production on 150 hectares which was achieved at 100% after planting on 159,565; with 27.81 ha in Twumba sector, 12.5ha in Mutuntu, 49.38ha in Rwankuba, 51ha in Rugabano, 6ha in Gashari, 11.015 in Gitesi and 1.86ha in Ruganda.
In livestock, the district targeted to inseminate 1875 cows. A total of 1851 cows were artificially inseminated thus; Rubengera sector covers 135, Rugabano 289, Murundi 132, Murambi 76, Gashali 323, Ruganda 150, Gitesi 71, Bwishyura 166, Mubuga 196, Gishyita 74, Twumba 66, Rwankuba 29 and Mutuntu 144.
The district targeted to increase the number of livestock vaccinated against diseases in all sectors, where the target was to vaccinate 22,000 cows and among them 12,000were vaccinated from BQ and 10,000 from LSD.
In 2015-2016 the hectares of land consolidated rose up to 7910.8ha of maize, 5581.2ha of irish potatoes, 32675.62ha for beans, 4223.45ha for cassava, 647.8ha for wheat and 1342.7ha for soya.
Karongi is on course to develop district roads. Under the 2015-2016 budget, the district targets 112 Km of roads for maintenance including; Mubuga- Nyagatovu road 8Km in Mubuga sector, Muhororo-Mubuga-Cyamatare-Nyarunyinya 20Km in Murambi sector, Gisayura-Gatorove-Mukongoro-Rasaniroroad 25 km Mutuntu sector, Byiniro- Kamina- Bigugu road 12 Km in Rwankubasectro, Kayenzi- Gasenyi road 16 Km in Gitesi sector and the construction of Musebeya- Gitonde, Dukoni- Rwaramba roads of 21 Km in Gishyita sector and Birambo-Rugobagoba of 10 Km in Gashari sector.
The above targets were achieved at 100% after constructing 112 Km of roads and maintenance of 8km in Mubuga sector, 21km in Gishyita, 12km in Rwankuba, 16km in Gitesi 25km in Mutuntu 10km in Gashari and 20km in Murambi.
For ensuring urbanization and rural settlement, the district settled 980 new households in planned group settlements and 163 households relocated from high risk zones.
Electricity and Water
In 2015-2016 fiscal year the district constructed 26 Km of water supply system, 13 km in Bwishyura sector connecting Kagabiro-Gatoki-Nyarusange-Gasura and 13 km in Ruganda connecting Biguhu and Nyabikeri.
Figures show that 80.1% (266,032) people in Karongi district have access to clean water.
In 2015-2106 the district connected electricity to 1,293 households in all sectors and 89 biogas digesters were constructed.
Latest reports indicate that 97.9% of Karongi residents use firewood for cooking and 2% use charcoal. Based on this big number of wood users in the district, there is a need to accelerate the distribution of electricity in all sectors. It is in this line that 9386 households (12.8%) were connected to electricity.
Nyabahanga power plant that provides 200 kilowatt has also been completed.
Eleven sectors out of thirteen have access to electricity.
The yearly evolution of electricity connection in the district shows that 3,074 households were connected to electricity in 2013-2104, 1,159 households in 2014-2015 and 893 households in 2015-2016.
Karongi is a home of a national project for the extraction of methane gas in Lake Kivu under which 25 megawatts is now extracted and supplied to the national grid.
In the 2015-2016 performance contract, 81.0% of the population were covered under health insurance (mutuelle de santé). Health posts at Kibirizi, Nzaratsi, Manji, Mubuga, Musasa and Rugobagoba were launched.
In the same fiscal year, much was done to promote good health standard as:
-Fighting malnutrition among children
-Health services grouping
-Family planning promotion
-Monitoring health centers services
-Improving and sustaining health infrastructures
For ensuring cleanliness in hospitals and health centers, fifty toilets and fifty bathrooms were constructed
Constructed incinerators for burning solid waste
Good governance and Justice
In 2015-2016 fiscal year, Karongi district did its best to strengthen good governance and justice. For achieving its target they set different measures like identifying of pending judgments and complaints to sectors resolving them and reporting, monitoring the implementation of Local Governments revised citizen service charters at local level and mobilization and preparation of Umuganda action plan with weekly and monthly follow ups and reports.
A couple of these measures resulted in identifying 1106 judgements and executing 56% of them. Of the 815 complaints that were received 90.5% were solved .
Rwf527,256,936 were recognized as the value ofwell-organized community services (umuganda) in the district.
Revised Citizen Service Charter that was transferred to Sectors and cells was well implemented and monitored; and 90 % of local administrative entities and family IMIHIGO were well prepared, monitored and implemented.
Four Ndi Umunyarwanda dialogues were organized at Village level, two organized at Cell level, one organized at Sector level and one organized with specific groups like teachers, medical staff among others.
During the last fiscal year, the district constructed 15 classrooms, 5 library rooms, 9 pre-primary classrooms and 6 latrines to support the increasing of equitable access to nine and twelve years basic education for all children.
For ensuring improved quality and learning outcomes across primary and secondary, the district managed to reduce dropouts by returning some children to school. 2925 of 3446 dropouts were returned to school in primary; 511 of 822 dropouts were returned in lower secondary and 190 students returned in upper secondary.
In adult literacy, 9308 adults were identified and trained to read and write. Karongi district has three universities, four Vocation Training Centers (VTC), 67pre-primary schools, 125 primary schools and 57 secondary schools.