Women in climate resilient agriculture reap dividends

At least 6,000 women grouped in credit and savings groups in the districts of Nyaruguru, Gisagara, Nyanza, Karongi and Musanze saved Rwf152 million last year thanks to a Rwf3 billion five-year project supporting women on climate resilient agriculture.

At least 6,000 women grouped in credit and savings groups in the districts of Nyaruguru, Gisagara, Nyanza, Karongi and Musanze saved Rwf152 million last year thanks to a Rwf3 billion five-year project supporting women on climate resilient agriculture.

The previous year they had saved Rwf108 million.

Run by ActionAid, the project dubbed, “Promoting opportunities for women empowerment and rights” whose two-year achievements were released this week will last until 2020. It is operational in four countries: Rwanda, Ghana, Bangladesh and Pakistan supporting 21,000 women.

Josephine Irene Uwamariya, the ActionAid country director, said the project, which is expected to cost Euro 3 million (aboutRwf3bn) in Rwanda, is addressing unpaid care work, productivity, and linking women farmers to markets through climate resilient sustainable agriculture.

“The project seeks to address issues that affect women’s efforts in dedicating their time to income-generating activities. It also enhances interventions such as access to water in homes, using cooking gas, establishing early childhood development centres that reduce unpaid care work that include spending a lot of time collecting firewood, searching for water, looking after the children,” she said.

The project covers 200 credit and saving groups and has 1000 men among the beneficiaries.

The members got Rwf21 million in credit since 2016 while savings amount to Rwf152 million so far.

The project provides seeds, cows, goats and pigs among others.

The time women used to spend doing unpaid care work reduced from 7 hours in 2016 to 5.3 hours in 2017, while time allocated to productive work increased from 5,7 hours to 7.7 hours .

Uwamariya said the activities continue where, for instance, this year Rwf28 million will be spent on providing stoves while training will be enhanced for women to develop business ideas, establish selling points for agriculture produce, and transform the groups into licensed cooperatives.

Beneficiaries share stories

Aliane Mukasine, one of the women caring for three children in Musanze District, said her life has improved since 2016.

“I used to till my land by mixing all crops without applying fertilisers.

But today, thanks to the training and the cow I was provided with, agriculture has improved my life. I bought two goats at Rwf60,000 from the savings. I am also using cooking gas and have taken my kids to an early childhood development centre which allows me to run my activities well. I want to buy another cow soon,” she said.

Solange Umutesi, the vice mayor in charge of social affairs in Nyanza District, said 95 households built toilets thanks to the project.

She added the group of beneficiary women should be models for other farmers so as to sustain the results.

The mayor of Karongi District, Francois Ndayisaba, said he hoped that development partners play a big role in filling in budget gaps.

Aime Nshimiyimana, the Director of Finance and Administration in Gisagara District, said the project’s work have been integrated into the district performance contracts.

He called on other stakeholders to support critical areas such as agriculture.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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