Green recovery in Gicumbi, a solution to economic growth and environment restoration

Progressive terrace in Mukarange sector

With economies across the globe in recessions as a result of covid-19 pandemic, government stimulus plans worth trillions of dollars were announced to revive prospects and boost business and job opportunities.

FONERwa, through Green Gicumbi project, created job opportunities for 21000 residents who used to traffic and smuggle illegal drugs and alcohol across Rwandan and Ugandan shortcuts with high risk of being arrested and killed trying to escape the authorities.

The beneficiaries say having a regular income of 2000 Rwf per day helped them to return to normal life after they had lost hope the of reviving their businesses due to the Rwanda-Uganda boarder closure.

Not only did the project save them from practicing illegal activities, but also their homes, some among which were being affected by domestic and gender based violence, a grave result of unemployment and poverty.

So far, one of the key components of the Green Gicumbi Project is to help the people promote watershed protection and climate resilient agriculture by aiding farmers get radical and progressive terraces especially for those who cultivate in high slope areas. Mukarange sector of Gicumbi district is one of those areas where terraces have been set up on a surface of 600 hectares.

Rwanda’s Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy guide the country’s ambitious climate action and are fostering investment in the industries, technologies and jobs of the future to transform Rwanda into a climate resilient nation by 2050.

“Formerly, the people used to harvest their forests prematurely and it resulted in low harvests. At the beginning of the project, we found that they could harvest between 30m3 and 50m3 per hectare, but now with these forests that have been planted, they will get at least 150m3 per hectare.” said Jean Marie Kagenza, project director of Green Gicumbi.

One of the planted forests in Gicumbi District

“Before, erosion had caused severe damages, and we were unable to grow trees here as the water which was flowing from the city center came and destroyed them. But through Green Gicumbi, they traced these drainage channels and now we no longer suffer from soil erosion.” he added.

Summary of Green Gicumbi Project achievements to date

Output 1: Sub-catchment B of the Muvumba watershed restored and small-scale tea and coffee farmers supported to adopt climate resilient practices

– 600 ha of progressive terraces established

– 600 ha of bench terraces established

– 1073 of agricultural land planted with agro forestry trees

– 200 km of riparian area and roadsides planted with protective forest

– 40 ha of higher elevations established with coffee plantation

– 40 ha of higher elevations established with tea plantation

– 3 automated weather stations (AWS) established

Output 2: Communities supported to implement sustainable forest management and adopt fuel-efficient cooking methods

The execution of various activities under the component delivered the following outputs.

• A training of trainers was conducted on Sustainable Forest Management (SFM): Conducted 36 awareness campaigns demonstrations in all targeted villages on Improved Cook stoves. A total of 3,979 people was reached

• 1 wood drying hangar constructed for Mulindi tea factory in a bid to reduce the use of fuel wood

• 40 Variable Speed Drives installed at Mulindi tea factory

• 3 model nurseries constructed to support youth in seedlings business

• 747 ha of degraded forests rehabilitated

• 30 ha of seed stands established

• 2,000,000 seedlings established and planted

• 14,000 improved cook stoves distributed to communities as well as training on their use

• 300 modern beehives distributed to cooperatives

• 10 domestic biogas units constructed as pilot

Output 3: Human settlements developed and/or modified to increase climate resilience

The following outputs were delivered through execution of various activities under the component.

• In terms of choice of material for RWH technologies, qualitative comparison of different water tanks based on the embodied CO2 indicated that concrete is among materials with lowest value while plastic is among those with the highest value.

• A total of 26 underground and cisterns (1,885mᶟ) have been constructed, 70 ferro-cement tanks (210m3) have been constructed at household level; 65 rainwater harvesting tanks (333mᶟ) were supplied and installed to institutional and school buildings. A total of 68 (16 females) families are direct household beneficiaries, 19 are beneficiary schools and 38 beneficiary institutions

• 3,100 out of the targeted 4,000 check dams were constructed for storm-water management. A total of 109 (26 females) households are direct beneficiaries

• Construction of the first 40 dwelling units is ongoing in Kabeza, Rubaya sector at 46% completion rate. 40 houses will be direct beneficiaries

Output 4: Successful adaptation and mitigation approaches communicated and mainstreamed at the national level.

Under the component, activity execution delivered the following outputs.

• A total of 1500 farmers trained in various areas across the components

• A total of 24 awareness raising sessions conducted

Twahirwa Umumarashavu Janat