Farmers in Kirehe receive storage silos from RDO

25 Apr 2020
Rwanda Development Organization (RDO) on Friday distributed 35 grain silos to farmers in three cooperatives found in the sectors of Gahara, Gatore and Mushikiri in Kirehe District, Eastern Province.

The distributed silos are for hermetic storage of grains for smallholder farmers, which are very effective way of storing grains for longer periods. This storage technology renders airtight units to control moisture and insects that can damage stored dry agricultural commodities.

COAIGA Cooperative from Gahara Sector received 13 grain silos (9 plastic and 4 metallic), COOPAGA Cooperative from Gatore Sector got eight silos (6 plastic and 2 metallic) and MUFABEMACO Cooperative from Mushikiri Sector received 16 plastic silos.

Raphael Bayagambe, President of COAIGA applauded the services from RDO that facilitated the activity which will benefit farmers to store their produce and other services they received like trainings.

“Our farmers were over joyed and grateful to receive grain silos which will help them store their harvests mostly in these uncertain times of lockdown due to rampaging coronavirus,” he said.

Bayagambe explained that before they were given the silos, RDO trained farmers on postharvest handling and how to use the silos to ensure their harvest are stored in good conditions.

COAIGA Cooperative as a member of FtMA received the silos for the first time but the president of the cooperative says they will be ordering 50 more silos next week while envisioning the need in the coming months mostly in September and October.

Justin Byabagabo, RDO field officer in Kirehe explained that the cooperatives ordered the grain silos on behalf of their members. RDO facilitated the whole activity under Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) program which included procuring the silos with cost-share of 50% and also provides a sheeting as bonus for every silo that is procured, this is to help farmers to dry their harvests.

The silos which target smallholder farmers have a capacity to store about 350 Kilograms of maize (500 litres) and 500 kilograms (700 litres) for the plastic and metallic containers respectively.

The farmers who received the silos say were motivated to acquire these storage containers mostly because of the coronavirus lockdown where many outside services are restricted which pose challenges.

However, Bayagambe explains that they already had the idea to acquire individual storage equipment to help members of the cooperative to be food secure. Therefore working with FtMA is helping to raise productivity and well as access markets.

He emphasized that the cooperative has its own storage facility where they store collective productivity while the acquired silos were for individual members so that they could store harvests for their own consumption in future.

FtMA project was initiated by the World Food Programme (WFP) to support smallholder farmers increase productivity and gain access to market. The project which is implemented by RDO and Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative (RWARRI) works in 18 districts and is currently assisting 207 cooperatives regrouping 72,039 farmers including 35,570 women.

The initiative supports farmer cooperatives in terms of capacity building such as Good Agriculture Practices, Post-harvest handling and Storage, quality control and food safety training, to ensure they have high quantity and quality produce in each season, and be able to bring surpluses on market.


RDO opens 2020 annual retreat in Rwamagana

20 Feb 2020
Rwanda Development Organisation (RDO) is holding a two-day annual retreat bringing together all staff working at the head office and other field offices across the country. The retreat which opened this Thursday at Dereva hotel in Rwanda will also include board members of RDO and experts in different disciplines for further discussions as well as beneficiaries to share experiences.

The Executive Secretary of RDO, Eugene Rwibasira officially opening the annual retreat said that 2020 is a special year for the organisation. RDO having been established in 1995 will be celebrating silver anniversary in November this year.

Mr. Rwibasira observed that the organisation will be celebrating 25 years having had a good year where it performed well as compared to preceding financial years. He applauded all those that participated in reaching these achievements.

However, he cautioned that the good performance of RDO should be reflected on how lives of beneficiary communities have been improved.

“Our success shouldn’t be only observed in how big is the budget but the impact made on ground and how to better the lives of beneficiaries,” Mr. Rwibasira said encouraging all staff to work hard with the aim of mitigating the challenges communities face.

Mr. Egide Rugamba, board member of RDO underlined that the retreat comes at the right time and requires inputs for everyone on how best to implement the strategies of the organisation. He said that we are living in changings times which require to think quick and abandon doing business as usual.

He called for everyone participating in the retreat to actively participate in the discussions offer their skills and experiences to improve, do better than usual.

The first day of the retreat heard that the planning strategies should not look at RDO alone but in the face of global and wider Civil Society organisations.

The annual retreat helps Rwanda Development Organisation to have time to reflect and strategize collectively for the future. RDO will take time during the retreat to start discussions on planning to draft a new strategy as the organisation’s three-year strategic plan expires.


RDO roots for people-centered development

6 Dec 2019

Residents of Isangano village in Nyagatare District during a practical session on how to prepare a balanced and diversified diet

In Isangano village of Rwimiyaga in Nyagatare district,a group of women have converged in the evening together with a few men to prepare dinner, the aim is to train fellow villagers of how best to prepare food especially nutritional benefits through a programme dubbed “Igikoni cy’Umudugudu” literary meaning a village kitchen.

Everyone has contributed something small to cook,in the compound of one of the residentswhere they are making preparations is bustling with activity as women are supervising several saucepans of different types of food including cassava, sweet potatoes, beans, potatoes, silver fish and green vegetables among others.

Domina Uwamurera, a resident and head of Isangano village explains that they occasionally meet to prepare food as a way to train fellow villagers on how to improve nutrition and fight stunting.

“Since we trained on ways of improving nutrition in our homes we have never had a single case of stunting in the village,” observes the mother of five.

Uwamurera says that about 65 women and 11 men from Isangano village were trained by RDO (Rwanda Development Organisation) on how to prepare foods rich in nutrients and make kitchen gardens.

When the trainings were completed, Uwamurera together with four community health workers and two volunteers (Inshuti z’umuryango) started implementing what they had learned by sharing nutritional tips to the rest of the village especially those who had not attended the trainings.

“RDO trained us on how to prepare rich meals, educated us on kitchen gardens where we can grow vegetables for our homes, afterwards we felt the best way to carry on was to teach our colleagues in the village as way of fighting stunting,” she says.

RDO as a local non-profit making organisation established by Rwandans that supports initiatives of Rwandese in social and economic development.Empowering communities including those vulnerable to improve their human capital, achieve food and nutrition security, and establish market linkages in a sustainable natural environment.

The Executive Secretary of RDO, Eugene Rwibasira notes that the organisation strives to raise resources to support communities based on the felt-needs and priorities of the beneficiaries.

The organisation empowers communities with required expertise and skills needed to identify and prioritise their needs in the planning, implementing and monitoring of activities. RDO is involved in different activities including agriculture, climate change, human security, health services and market linkages of agricultural produce.

Rwanda still faces a number of development challenges like high rate of poverty (39.1% below poverty line), food in security, high population pressure on the existing resources including water and land making the population prone to hazards of climate change and high vulnerability.

Rwanda Development Organisation as a local NGO places these development challenges among its focus area to be addressed in sustainable ways through collaboration with partners and stakeholders.

Whilst Rwanda has met or exceeded many of its development goals, chronic malnutrition or stunting remains a major impediment to achieve the set targets that can only be achieved by healthy citizens, living well, working hard and able to innovate.

With stunting levels still high at 38% in the country, RDO has made interventions in combating malnutrition. The organisation has been implementing a food and nutrition security programme which started as early as the organisation aimed at increasing agricultural and livestock production.

Rwibasira notes that their efforts are directed towards sustainable agriculture to ensure food and nutrition security through empowerment of cooperatives and smallholder farmers. Residents in rural villages like Isangano are trained on how to grow food that can fight malnutrition and how to improve their nutrition.

In Nyagatare district, food security and income has improved through increased adoption of more intensive market-oriented crop production and post-harvest handling by small holder farmers in eight sectors supporting 23 cooperatives with 1,657 men and 1,234 women members.

Among other projects that support rural communities include the Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) project which supports smallholder farmers to increase on-farm productivity and market access. The project has already mobilized off-takers willing to offer forward delivery contracts to farmers and cooperatives, more than 60,000 farmers grouped into 207 cooperatives are targeted.

In collaboration with UN Women, RDO supports 11 cooperatives in Gatsibo, Nyagatare, Muhanga and Nyanza districts to increase gender responsiveness in cooperative through linking them to information, markets and financial services. The project called Buy from Women Platform targets to support about 5,000 farmers through land mapping and farmer profile, information on inputs provision, gender empowerment training, linkage to markets, financial services, and access to extension services.

Advocacy has also been part of the RDO efforts in trying to improve the well being of Rwandans. The organisation has worked with other civil society organisations under Voice for change Partnership (V4CP) project since May 2016 to advocate for an enabling environment for fair food and nutrition policies to ensure low income and marginalized communities are taken into account by the different policy processes in the country.

With the global changes in temperature and precipitation that normally leads to devastating effects compounded by the factor that 75.3% of the population in Rwanda depend on rain fed agriculture, interventions have been directed in supporting the population to deal with the effects.

Interventions in the climate change has focused on resilience through enhanced policy engagement and networking. RDO established the Rwanda Climate Change and Development Network to engage with climate change related policies and campaigns nationally and internationally, build the capacity and skills of stakeholders and communities in climate change engagement and monitoring and network with other stakeholders nationally and internationally for collective engagement and lessons sharing.

Small scale farmers are being supported to acquire small scale solar irrigation systems that can significantly increase crop yields and improve food security. This project aims at connecting farmers, suppliers of solar-powered irrigation systems and financial Institutions for specialist financing facilities and other market development activities, such as product and technology awareness.

The Executive Secretary observes that with the organisation’s overarching objective of sustainably developing the Rwandan communities it’s critical for citizens to be part of their own development.

Therefore, a project to enhance participatory governance and accountability of local leaders and public institutions involving citizen’s participation was designed. Organized to strengthen participation and accountability there are inclusive engagements between the target citizens especially women and youths, civil society organizations and the public authorities at local and national levels. The project also includes lobbying and advocacy activities around agricultural issues that affect most of the citizens.

RDO’s grand plan is to direct more efforts towards sustainable agriculture to ensure food and nutrition security; empowerment of cooperatives; health especially sensitization, control and prevention of malaria, HIV and TB; gender equity and equality with specific focus on women empowerment and youth mobilisation and empowerment.


Citizen participation critical in district development process

1 Nov 2019
The role of citizen participation in the district development process including planning and budgeting was the topic of discussion by opinion leaders in Kirehe district meeting this Thursday.

The one-day dialogue organised by Kirehe District in partnership with Rwanda Development Organisation (RDO) and supported by SNV brought together district officials, sector executive secretaries, security heads at the district, community representatives and opinion leaders as well as the civil society.

Gerald Muzungu, Mayor of Kirehe District during the meeting said that citizens’ have always been consulted when the district is undertaking planning activities as well as making budget plans.

“We engage citizens in budget plans from the village level and as far as the next financial year is concerned, we are already scheduled to kick start the first phase of collecting ideas for budget planning process this November,” the Mayor said in reference to citizen consultations.

Eugene Rwibasira, the Executive Secretary of RDO reminded participants that it’s critical to always include citizen participation as a way to enhance planning and budgeting process where the people know the budget for public and social programs.

He said that when the community is involved in budgeting they feel a sense of ownership and will feel the need to protect those public goods while attaching more value to the programs and services they receive.

It was emphasized that to involve citizens is an important component in people centre development which focuses on improving participatory decision making that leads to sustainability.

Alphonsine Ayingeneye from Rwanteru in Kigina sector, Kirehe District explains that they have been involved and consulted by local authorities giving an example of a health centre which was built based on people’s wishes.

She said that they requested to have a health centre that should be built nearer to the people and their request was honoured which shows how people’s ideas were considered and became part of the district planning.

During the dialogue, a citizen report card for last year was presented to the participants with findings on people’s responses towards a whole range of services. Notable among the study findings were citizens’ appreciation of services provided by local authorities and more appreciated the private sector.

However, it was noted there still exists a gap between leaders and the people which calls for more efforts to mobilize citizens to participate in the development processes in their localities.

The educational level of citizen was among other issues pointed out to help in increasing citizen participation.

Dativa Umutoni Kayisenge, a resident and member of Kirehe District council said that as education is enhanced more people will become more confident to provide ideas becoming more and more part of the development process. She called for local leaders to mobilise and work closely with the people to include them in all development activities.

During the discussions calls were made to hold more dialogues like this which provides a platform for discussions and ideas to support the district development process.



RDO and partners discuss food security

4 Jul 2019
On Wednesday, July 3rd 2019, the Executive Secretary of Rwanda Development Organisation (RDO), Eugene Rwibasira and Venuste Muhamyankaka, Programs Manager of SUN Alliance were hosted to a live talk show on Royal FM.

The talk show discussed food and nutrition security where the guests focused on food and nutrition budget, food fortification, production systems, coordination of food and nutrition interventions.

Rwibasira observed that for Rwanda to develop and achieve its development aspirations, citizens have to be healthy, living well to be able to innovate and work hard like other developed nations. This will only be achieved if the country is food secure.

RDO has joined efforts with other NGO’s operating in the country to fight malnutrition through different programs and curb the alarming stunting levels that currently stands at over 38%.

You can listen to the full discussion on audio...