One pager CD case story that has transformed the rural poor lives in Rwanda

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Publication Date: 
05 August 2011
Author: 
Jennifer Mujuni
Thematic thrusts: 
UN Millennium Development Goal: 
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Related group: 
Keyword tags: 
Abstract: 

Girinka program (One cow per poor Family) was inspired by the Rwandan culture and initiated by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Rwanda in 2006. The program was approved as one of the Vision 2020, EDPRS and IDP implementation measures. This program aims at enabling every poor household throughout the country to own and manage an improved dairy cow which would help the family to better their livelihood through increased milk and meat production and to improve soil fertility of their land for their crops using the available manure. This initiative has improved nutrition, and helped increase the earnings of beneficiaries from milk, milk products, meat and sale of manure.

Study: Strengthening Stakeholder Ownership through Capacity Development
Case story Rwanda
Title of case story: Girinka MunyarwandaM

  1. Context/introduction

    Girinka program (One cow per poor Family) was inspired by the Rwandan culture and initiated by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Rwanda in 2006. The program was approved as one of the Vision 2020, EDPRS and IDP implementation measures. This program aims at enabling every poor household throughout the country to own and manage an improved dairy cow which would help the family to better their livelihood through increased milk and meat production and to improve soil fertility of their land for their crops using the available manure. This initiative has improved nutrition, and helped increase the earnings of beneficiaries from milk, milk products, meat and sale of manure.
  2. Capacity development initiative
    This program is implemented in two ways:
    1. Girinka ingabirano (donation): a poor family receives a cow free of charge. When the cow calves, the calf is given to the neighbour who keeps it and gives the next calf to the next neighbour and so on. This procedure is called kuziturirana (credit revolving scheme).
    2. Loan (Girinka inguzanyo): an average family gets a bank loan to buy a cow. It is the responsibility of the average family, to be able to comply with the criteria necessary to receive the cow. For example: being able to construct a cow shed (Kraal), the field planted with different pasture species for nutrition purpose, etc
  3. The enhancement of the stakeholder ownership dimensions
    • Local authorities and communities identified the poorest as beneficiaries of the initiative.
    • It was community-owned inspired by its nature whereby if the cow calved the calf would be given to another needy person in the community (credit revolving scheme)
    • In the Rwandan culture cows are a symbol of great value, a sign of love, peace and unity, and in contemporary terms, a cow is something of great economic importance.
  4. The change process
    • Unity and Reconciliation: Girinka program promoted unity and social cohesion among Rwandans in their respective communities thereby mitigating genocide ideology that led to genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
    • Improved mindset: departure from looking at cattle as a status symbol (the more cows one had the better) to a source of income and livelihood.
    • Improved methods of farming: The manure from the cows is used to fertilize gardens for better crop yields, thus fighting hunger.
    • Improved health standards: The daily supply of milk to families reduced malnutrition.
    • Improved incomes from milk sales, which reduces dependency on government handouts. For example farmers are able to contribute to the universal health insurance scheme (mutuelle de santé). Girinka also improved school enrolment rates because parents have more income to send their children to school.

    Monitoring: Government provides primary support such as veterinary officers to make follow-ups on a dai¬ly basis and treat the cows when necessary and provides services such as vaccination and artificial insemination. The beneficiaries are also trained on basic care and receive seeds for animal feeds. The programme is to phase out in 2015.

  5. Further information
    Clarisse Ingabire-Minagri :Claring14@yahoo.fr

Acknowledgements: Girinka programme-MINAGRIM