This project is funded by Trocaire and aims at empowering the partner communities especially the vulnerable to improve their human capital, achieve food and nutrition security, and establish market linkages in a sustainable natural environment.  It is implemented in the district of Nyagatare in the Sectors of Rwimiyaga and Rukomo. The activities included establishment of underground water tanks and Damsheets for rainwater harvesting, Distribution of fruit and vegetable seeds, establishment of kitchen gardens and nutrient-rich seeds as well well as supporting communities in off-farm income generating activities and supporting them with start-up capital.

The current project design and implementation is based on the evaluation outcome as well as challenges and gaps encountered during the implementation in the first year. After consultations with the communities that included mapping of the most affected areas, nature of challenges and possible solution, RDO was able to come up with list of intervention measures for the 2nd year implementation plan. During the design, each stakeholder committed to the contributions to be made during the implementation of the activities. These were to be in form of cash or  in kind. Partner contributions were geared towards making the process participatory , enhancing ownership and sustainability . In practical terms, the following interventions were adopted and hence informed the planned activities.

These planned interventions include:

Tree planting:  Agroforestry will be promoted through afforestation for soil fertility, wind breaking, protecting the soil from direct sunlight as well as environmental protection. This will be achieved through establishment of nursery beds for both agroforestry tree and for fruits. During the establishment of nurseries, beneficiaries will be responsible for establishment of nursery beds, construction of nursery sheds as well as potting. They will also participate in the tree planting. Grafted Fruits will be distributed to beneficiaries with dietary deficiency to fight malnutrition effects while agroforestry seedlings will be planted along the gardens or along contours or as hedges to act as wind breakers. In the short run the direct beneficiaries  will be selected  from target groups under ubudehe I category, however in the long run all the community will benefit from the positive impact of environmental conservation and protection. The panned fruits include , but not limited to Mangoes, papayas and water melons.

Water Harvesting and recycling management: This project will come in place to address water mismanagement  issue through use of Valley dams with big capacity (500m3) constructed using dam sheets and water management technologies as well as recycling. There was a call from the farmers to capture the running water and used for irrigation for the kitchen gardens around the homesteads for higher value crops that include fruits, vegetables and other crops that are more draught resistant. Semi-underground water tanks, Dam sheets and cement-mud ponds will be considered to capture rain water. For the underground water tanks, and valley dams, beneficiaries will be responsible for excavations and other non-technical work. Dam sheets will be used for both roof rain water harvesting as well as collection of ground water run-offs. The cement mud-ponds will be used for collection of ground water run-offs. Also in this case, excavation will be done by the communities. The direct beneficiaries will be the poor, food insecure and vulnerable households from  the District of Nyagatare in sectors of Rwimiyaga and Rukomo. 1,010 Beneficiaries are targeted from the two sectors. Collected rain water will be used for irrigation at kitchen and wider plot levels depending on volumes collected and intensity of rainfall received. For sustainability and ownership purposes, water committees will be put in place to manage the infrastructure and rational use of the water when required.

Small livestock : The project will allocate funds for  goat farming in order to help target groups access fertilizers through compost making, income generation . The priority will be given to the households which are categorized as highly vulnerable and malnutrition deficiency. Committees will be established at each village to ensure that the first birth is given to other members  so as to ensure all members benefit from the project benefits. Beneficiaries will be facilitated with knowledge to grow pasture for their animals without compromising the arable areas.

Promotion of climate resilient crops: Because of the climate change challenges, the following crops that are climate resilient and nutritious will be planted. These are short cycle crops and climate resilient that can serve as food security and nutrition  Beneficiaries will be facilitated to access these varieties. They include, Yellow sweet potatoe vines that are resilient and nutritious,, short cycle maize  of PANNAR….., vegetables for kitchen gardens that include tomatoes, onions and cucumber  that have short vegetative cycle of 3 months and drought resistant will be considered.

Off farm activities Promotion : Beneficiaries will be provided with entrepreneur skills and start up kits to enable them engage in other income generating activities in order to reduce dependence on agriculture only. These will include promoting their existing business initiatives with some cash, availing competitive startup capital to initiate off farm business. Business initiatives will be in the range of trading in commercial goods like ornaments for women groups, tailoring and weaving as well as other initiatives that would sound innovative. Women from Ubudehe category 1 with skills and viable business proposals will be supported. Money given to all the groups will be repaid to facilitate others.

Capacity building for farmers: Capacity building will be conducted for farmers (# OF THEM)in form of  conducting training in different thematic topics to enhance their skills and efficiency . At leastn30 participants will be trained at every session . This will be in the areas of financial management, Business skills development, Climate change adaptation mechanisms, rain water recycling as well as Good Agronomic Practices-GAP. Existing modules will be used and others developed where they don’t exist.  Capacity building will also be extended in terms of organizing study tours for farmers to visit areas where success stories have been registered and best practices can be copied.  Mobile video Units will be used to disseminated best practices with farmers as well as acting as a training tool for farmers on several principals especially on rain water harvesting techniques and climate change effects and mitigation mechanisms used elsewhere.