Why is the project needed

Bugesera district is part of the Eastern Province and situated directly south of Kigali bordering Burundi. The terrain is characterised by plateaus, undulating hills and dry savannas with grasses, shrubs and short trees. There are 3 rivers, the Akanyaru, Akagera and Nyabarongo flowing through the district and there are 9 lakes.

The climate is dry and the district has been affected by desertification although a number of measures introduced by the government were successful in reversing this trend. However, climate projections suggest that the annual average temperature in Rwanda will increase by 1.5-2oC by 2050 which is likely to increase the incidence of drought in this district. With increasing population growth, a dependence on rainfed agriculture (68% of people over 16 are independent farmers and agriculture contributes 46% to household income) and high poverty levels (48% of the population is poor including 28% who are extreme poor and 20% who are poor1) droughts are potentially catastrophic events for the local population.

Bugesera also has a very young population (56% of the population is under 19 years of age) and generating employment for the labour force is a major challenge for the local Government. Landholdings are very small for many households with 71% of farming households cultivating less than 0.9ha of land and a high percentage (30%) cultivating less than 0.3ha. Considering these small land holdings, the low yields and that the average size of a household in Bugersera is 4.92, many families engaged in agriculture face food shortages.

 

Water security is also a problem with 29% of households in Bugesera still using an unimproved drinking water source including 24% using surface water from lakes or rivers. 30% of households are women or de facto women headed households and dependence on agriculture is higher among women compared to men (75% of women are small-scale farmers) making them more vulnerable to climate change.

The target area comprises nine villages (Rwabisheshe, Muyange, Nyakagarama, Rusamaza, Gashamba, Rubilizi, Kamugera, Kamugore and Rugazi in Ngeruka Sector) and is situated in a remote area of Bugersera with poor road access and limited services available to the population. There is no electricity or running water and housing and sanitation conditions are poor. There are high levels of malnutrition due to food insecurity which is linked to a high dependence on low production, subsistence agriculture, a lack of skills and off farm income generating opportunities. Superimposed on these issues, changing rainfall patterns have reduced agricultural production and worsened food security for many households.

The reliance of people in this area on biomass for fuel has also led to deforestation and soil erosion reducing agricultural productivity and causing high levels of runoff into the nearby Lake Cyohoha South. The failure of the local community to follow the Government’s zero grazing policy also results in overgrazing (raising livestock is a common practice in Bugesera district with 78% of households raising some type of livestock3) which further exacerbates the erosion. High poverty levels and water insecurity prohibits the investment needed to improve soil conditions, water crops at kitchen gardens and enhance productivity locking households into long-term poverty and food insecurity.

The lack of employment opportunities in this area compels the community to rely on farming for their food and income needs. As well as lacking the necessary skills and assets to diversify out of farming, these households have poor access to developed value chains for the supply of inputs and linkages to high value markets. In order to escape the cycle of poverty and reduce their vulnerability to projected climate change, target households need to adopt a more climate resilient approach to farming by reducing their dependence on rain fed agriculture and diversifying their livelihoods to include low risk, climate resilient enterprises.

AVVAIS has been working closely with the local authorities at the cell and District level in the target area since 2013 and the activities of the Project are closely aligned with Bugesera DDP (District Development Plan) priorities in terms of water and sanitation, agroforestry systems and forestation including horticulture and legume planting, and agriculture targeted in land consolidation by cassava cultivation, land protection against soil erosion by planting hedges, agroforestry trees and fruits trees over an area of 100 ha in and around the 9 target villages.

What change is this project intended to achieve (state specific objectives, expected results/impact and long-term legacy. To address the core environment and climate change objectives of the project, it would be helpful to refer to national and sectoral climate change and environment objectives. Provide measurable indicators, within a log-frame matrix. In addition, make a note of the expected impacts on employment and poverty reduction, as well knowledge and technological

The objective of the project is to support climate resilient livelihoods, enhance household incomes and promote sustainable land use. A log-frame matrix with measurable indicators is included with the work plan and budget in the EXCEL worksheet. The project will target poor 912 households in 9 villages in Ngeruka sector.

Expected results and impact on poverty reduction, employment creation and knowledge and technological transfer

Support for the development of fish, livestock and mushroom production systems will enable subsistence

farmers to adapt to climate change by creating income generating activities, enhancing household incomes

 

and reducing their dependence on rainfed agriculture (which will be most affected by changing rainfall patterns and rising temperatures) enabling them to graduate out of extreme poverty. Promotion of conservation agriculture will reduce erosion, enhance soil fertility and increase agricultural productivity while the value chain approach will create employment and further enhance incomes.

Improved access to rainwater harvesting techniques and sanitation through safe drinking water will enhance water security and reduce the incidence of water-borne diseases and ensure that food products are handled in a hygienic environment to minimise contamination before sale. It will also reduce the time women and children spend fetching water, reducing their workload so they can participate more effectively in economically productive activities and education.

A strong emphasis on M&E and knowledge management will enable the project to adapt according to any new conditions that arise and to promote sharing and learning as well as to build community knowledge and capacity. This will promote and facilitate technology transfer, cross learning and replication in other areas to promote sustainability and scaling up.

Alignment with to national, sectoral and district climate change and environment objectives

The project directly contributes to one of the six priorities identified in the National Adaptation Programme of Action: “promotion of income generating activities, which aims to improve the adaptation capacity of rural populations vulnerable to climate change through the promotion of income generating non-agricultural activities”.

The proposed project also aligns with following EDPRS II priorities:

  • Priority 2 under Rural Development: Productivity and Sustainability of Agriculture
  • Priority 3 under Rural Development: Graduation from Extreme Poverty specifically 1: Increased and sustained graduation from core social protection programmes for male and female headed households by connecting them to economic opportunities and financial services
  • Priority 4 under Rural Development: Connect Rural Communities to Economic Opportunity through Improved Infrastructure specifically 5 Increased access to water and sanitation facilities in rural areas
  • Priority 3 under Productivity and Youth Employment: Stimulate Entrepreneurship, Access to Finance and Business Development by increasing off-farm employment, productivity and new job creation driven by the private sector to boost entrepreneurship and job

One of the objectives of the new Environment and Natural Resources Sector Strategic Plan (2014 – 2018) is also relevant: “to ensure that development in Rwanda is undertaken in a manner that inflicts minimal damage to the environment, and builds resilience to threats posed by climate change for the sustained support to economic, social and cultural development of Rwanda.”

The project also aligns with one of the key strategic objectives of Rwanda’s National Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy: “achieving social protection, improved health and disaster risk reduction that reduces vulnerability to climate change”. The project is also relevant to the following key Programmes of Action in the strategy:

  • Sustainable intensification of agriculture
  • Agricultural diversity in local and export markets
  • Integrated approach to sustainable land use planning and management
  • Sustainable forestry, agroforestry and biomass energy
  • Disaster Management and disease

Finally, at the local level, the project aligns with two of the five priorities set out in the Bugesera DDP: promotion of fish farming and increasing off-farm activities.

 

Q 2.3 How will the project objectives be achieved ?
A detailed workplan highlighting key activities and responsibilities is attached with the budget. The project will target 912 households in 9 villages.

Village                      Households                     Population

Kabumbwe                               153                               621

Kamugera                                 63                                305

Kamugore                                 94                                361

Rugazi                                     100                               439

Rubirizi                                    80                                364

Agashyamba                            133                               528

Nyakagarama                            86                                368

Shami                                     104                               487

Rwabisheshe                             99                                454

Total                                      912                              3927

 

The project will have four outputs:

1.      Diversification of livelihoods with support for climate resilient production systems suitable for smallholder farmers;

2.      Promotion of conservation agriculture (agroforestry, fodder crops, intercropping, horticulture and legumes, etc);

3.      Improved access to water harvesting techniques and sanitation through safe drinking water and sanitation facilities and hygienic practices adopted; and

4.      Grant efficiently managed and M&E including lessons learned to promote replication in other areas.

 

Proposed approach

 

The proposed approach will emphasise community participation, consulting and involving all stakeholders in the development process from the start of the planning process. The Project will recruit and train a team that will include technicians and community volunteers to ensure day-to-day support for the target beneficiaries. In addition, the project will train community volunteers from each village to maximise skills transfer and support from the community.

For the efficient delivery of project interventions, the beneficiaries will be supported to form cooperatives. This will enable the project to develop the skills necessary to maximise production and quality as well as achieve economies of scale in rolling out support services. Regular community meetings have been built into the workplan and budget to review progress. Resources will also be allocated to awareness building, advocacy and community mobilisation to achieve the buy-in and support of the local community. By having two community volunteers permanently stationed in the field, the project will be able to provide weekly capacity building sessions in each village. In between visits from the community workers, the community volunteers will provide follow up and support to target households. There will also be technical backstopping from District Authority staff (agronomist, livestock/veterinary and environment officers).

The project will adopt an interactive management process that continually evaluates interventions as conditions evolve and as new knowledge is developed (see Output 4 below). The rationale for the