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Girinka in Rwanda Reduced Malnutrition & Increased Incomes

Cow as a means of economic empowerment were gifted to 200 villagers who do not yet own a cow, under Rwandan Government’s Girinka Programme, by visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Tuesday July 24, 2018 at function held at Rweru Model Village, extending support to Rwanda President Paul Kagame’s ambitious “Girinka” programme that aims to reduce poverty and tackle childhood malnutrition in his country. Modi said that the Rwandan government can also work on honeybees on the lines of the Girinka programme, “Honey can be produced along with milk and both businesses can be run together which would provide additional benefits,” adding that the Indian government is ready to provide every support to the Rwandan government for this.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the first Indian premier to visit the East African country on was in Rwanda, one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, on July 23 & 24, 2018 on the first leg of his three-nation Africa tour, tweeted: “Being part of a trans formative project towards economic development of Rwanda!”

Girinka Programme was initiated by President Kagame in 2006, to provide one cow per poor family for their nutritional and financial security, in response to the alarmingly high rate of childhood malnutrition and as a way to accelerate poverty reduction and integrate livestock and crop farming.

Girinka Programme was set up with the objective of reducing child malnutrition rates and increasing household incomes of poor farmers. These goals are directly achieved through increased access to, and consumption of milk, by providing poor households with a heifer. The program is crucial to addressing the fundamental needs of those parts of the country that are critically food insecure.

  • The word Girinka can be translated as ‘may you have a cow’ and describes a centuries-old cultural practice in Rwanda whereby a cow was given by one person to another, as a sign of respect and gratitude.
  • Girinka Programme is based on the premise that providing a dairy cow to poor transforms livelihoods, reconciles communities improving agricultural productivity through the use of manure as fertilizers which would lead to improving soil quality and reducing erosion through the planting of grasses and trees.
  • Through Girinka programme 248566 cows had been distributed to poor households by June 2016 since its introduction in 2006.
  • Girinka programme’s target is to reach 350000 Rwandese families by 2017.
  • Girinka programme has contributed to an increase in agricultural production in Rwanda – especially milk production and products, reduced malnutrition and increased incomes
  • Girinka programme is also aimed at promoting unity and reconciliation among Rwandans based on the cultural principle that if a cow is given from one person to another, it establishes trust and respect between the giver and the beneficiary.
  • While this was not an original goal of Girinka, it has evolved to become a significant aspect of the programme.
  • Girinka programme also follows a certain criteria in choosing who the beneficiaries should be. As per a Govt. of Rwanda official, they mainly look at those very poor vulnerable families that don’t own a cow but do have land that can be used to grow grass for feeding the cows.
  • The beneficiary should be in position to construct an animal shed or willing to join others in community to construct a communal cow shed to be jointly used with the rest.

GIRINKA programme is transforming rural livelihoods and addressing poverty alleviation in Rwanda. The model is simple, the impact is great. One Cow brings nutrition, sustenance and employment, providing a stable income for a family and is a source of soil nutrients via manure to assist small scale cropping activity. However, many more families, some of the Rwanda’s most poor still eagerly await to receive the many benefits the programmer can bring.

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