RCAG - Rwanda
- Term: 5 Years
- Budget: $4.5 million
- Direct Beneficiaries: 18,000 households
- Indirect Beneficiaries: 100,000 individuals
- Financial Partners: Global Affairs Canada
Smallholder farmers in drought- and flood-prone regions of Rwanda are struggling to meet their nutritional needs. Women and young children are particularly affected and unable to reach their full potential, with women more likely to forgo eating to feed their families first.
Aided by their co-operative, Andre and Anastasie have found a way to meet their nutritional needs. The couple grow carrots, radish, onion, spinach, eggplant and amarant in their “kitchen garden,” a three-tiered affair that resembles a wedding cake. This three-dimensional layout produces more than a flat garden the same size. It retains moisture longer and more efficiently, simply by watering just the top layer and letting gravity do the rest. They learned this approach from training offered by their co-op, Cooproriz Abahuzabikorwa. The impact has been profound for this couple and their four children. “Our children no longer have parasites or diarhea,” says Anastasie. “We save money this way and our sleep is better.”
The couple share family financial decisions and household chores, giving Anastasie more time to pursue her interests.
They and 18,000 other farm households in Rwanda are members of 15 co-operative enterprises who have likewise adopted new farming, crop storage, business management and gender equality programs and policies through CDF Canada’s Rwanda Co-operative Agricultural Growth project. Andre is a lead farmer and Anastasie teaches healthy lifestyles and conflict resolution to others. The couple share family financial decisions and household chores, giving Anastasie more time to pursue her interests. They plan to use some of the higher income they earn to finish their house.
Now completed, the project shows impressive results: after five years, production and sale of rice and maize has increased four-fold (432%), and post-harvest losses have dropped by 79%. The co-operatives have created 452 new full and part-time jobs in the local economy and their memberships have doubled. CDF Canada believes there can be no sustainable food security without greater equality between men and women, and the full and equitable participation of women in farming. In five short years, women now occupy half of all leadership positions in their co-operatives and each co-op ensures, through policy and practice, that women and men share equally in co-op decisions and benefits.