As wrong beneficiaries of the One Cow per poor Family project commonly known as “Girinka” intend to tarnish the true focus of this project, the government, NGOs and other rightful beneficiaries look at it as the channel towards eradicating poverty.
It has been cited that relevant authorities meant to distribute these cows to the poor as planned, have instead resorted to diverting them to themselves.
Although no reports yet about the dubious tendency, the president gave a clear directive for such people to return these cows.
NGOs particularly Red Cross Rwanda have borrowed a leaf, to join in the exercise by giving out cows to residents of Muramira sector of Kayonza district. Muramira sector has been identified as the one that has been hardest hit by poverty in the district.
Recently, Red Cross Rwanda donated 53 cows to the residents of the area with the aim of beneficiaries also later passing on calves to others upon reproduction.
The President of Red Cross Rwanda, Dr. Bernard Nzigiye made the point clear as residents received the cows.
“Red Cross Rwanda is focused on helping the people of Muramira to fight against poverty. By giving out these cows, we are looking forward to seeing you (beneficiaries) pass on the calves to fellow residents so that each one can own one,” Nzigiye said.
Celestine Mbonabucya is among the many residents who received a cow when Red Cross Rwanda donated last year. At 52, he managed to properly look after the cow until it reproduced.
This year as RCR donated, he was among the highly congratulated beneficiaries for the good work since he managed to give out a calf to a fellow resident.
Mbonabucya has a lot to tell about his lifestyle before and after he received the cow. He shares his positive testimony whenever chance arises.
“I cannot say it all, but this cow has changed my life. I get milk and manure that has greatly improved on the harvest in my garden,” he said.
He added that the yield he gets from his garden has almost doubled, making his home a safe place with a happy family which does not easily fall short of food.
Godfrey Butera is another resident of Muramira sector also in Kayonza district. He also hopes to benefit from the One Cow per family project.
The 50 year old takes care of seven people including his wife on a monthly salary of only Rwf 7000 as a night watchman at Modern Secondary School.
“If I can get a chance to benefit from the one cow project, it will be a step to another level,” Butera said.
He explained that on addition to his monthly salary, what he gets from the cow after some time will definitely create a positive impact.
Unfortunately, the government and RCR`s one cow project has not yet reached Butera`s sector.
Angelique Murungi is the Department for International Development (DFID) Coordinator under disaster management operating in Muramira sector.
She says people in the area need more of the project to ensure that at least a big number benefits to improve on their standards of leaving.
“Although the project is not an immediate relief, people who benefited last year have shown how the scheme can help,” Murungi said.
She added that it is therefore important to note the demand of the project basing on the outcome so far.
However, it has been noted that the project has faced challenges in its implementation.
In that respect, the Eastern Province Executive Secretary, Yussuf Mugiraneza made a public call and reminded residents of their role in making the project succeed.
“As residents, to make the One Cow project successful you have to report any individual who tries to take advantage of the scheme yet is not the rightful beneficiary,” Mugiraneza said.
He explained that the project aims at giving a chance to the poor so that they can also have a stepping stone towards fighting poverty.
Mugiraneza also made it clear that no beneficiary is allowed to sale the cow or its first calf.
“Upon reproduction, original beneficiaries are meant to give other residents the chance to own a cow. It is therefore illegal for any of you to sale these cows,” he said during the ceremony.
Among other measures of curbing the tendency and making illegal beneficiaries return the animals, is that the government has given a final deadline that is February 1 this year.