The hilly Southern Province district was in the past synonymous with famine. Its poor soils coupled with poor farming methods combined to make the area one of the most unproductive parts of the country.
Currently the district is an example of what a stable and committed leadership can do to provide a turn around in the lives of its people.
The district is divided into 17 Sectors of; Buruhukiro, Cyanika, Gatare, Kaduha, Kamegeli, Kibirizi, Kibumbwe, Kitabi, Mbazi, Mugano, Musange, Musebeya, Mushubi, Nkomane, Gasaka, Tare and Uwinkingi.
It has a population of 321,911 people, of these 175,816 are women accounting for about 54 percent of the population. Youths below the age of 18 account for about 44 percent of the population.
To encourage a culture of saving in the district population, all residents with 18 years and above are required to join a saving scheme of sorts.
According to the district Mayor, the saving schemes are gradually being turned into cooperatives.
Agriculture is the main economic activity in the district. Poor soils have always been the major setback to the growth of the sector but the district has tried to counter this through land consolidation and selecting the right crops for cultivation.
Consequently the district has given priority to the growing of tea, coffee, wheat, Maracuja, Irish potatoes, processing of honey and livestock keeping.
During last year’s Cup of Excellence coffee competition, 6 best coffee samples out of the 24 presented during the competition came from the district.
Through the one-cow-one family initiative, 877 cows have been given out to residents bringing the total number to over 4,000 cows given out since the start of the programme.
Intensive cultivation of Maracuja has been identified as one of the crops that can counter rural poverty in the district. Over 14,000 tons of Maracuja were produced last year.
In addition, 400 vulnerable people who have been helped acquire houses are also assisted to own Maracuja farms so as to sustain themselves.
In the education sector, the district has managed to reduce the number of pupils dropping out of school from 4 percent in 2008 to 0.1 percent this year.
The teacher student ratio has also been significantly lowered to 1: 42.
Close to 100 street children have been taken off the streets and reintegrated into the school system.
Adult literacy programmes have been given due consideration in district. This has been seen as the only way of empowering local people to embrace development programmes.
The role of parents in the education sector has been given prominence.
Through parent-teacher associations, the former have ensured accountability in schools.
Parents and community contribution to education fund has helped the poor and vulnerable access education.
In the health sector, enrolment to the universal health insurance scheme Mutuelle de santé has been successful in the district.
The district boosts of 95.4 percent of its population under the scheme. The target is to achieve 100 percent enrolment by the end of the year.
A rapidly growing population could prove to be a major setback to the district’s development. A campaign to encourage family planning has been intensified in that 32 percent of the families in the district practice family planning.
To check maternal mortality, mothers have been encouraged to give birth in hospitals and heath centres.
Districts health statistics indicate that 85.7 percent of all expecting mothers give birth in hospitals and health centres.
Provision of clean water has been a major success in the district in that 82 percent of the population can access clean water within a distance of 500metres. The district’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) target stands at 82 percent.
Building houses for vulnerable Genocide survivors and other minority groups has been give priority.
Through community participation, 803 houses have been built this year.
To improve roads in the district’s main town 3.5 kilometres of the roads in Nyamagabe town have been paved using stones.