Women's Perceptions of the Girinka (One Cow per Poor Family) Programme, Poverty Alleviation and Climate Resilience in Rwanda

Citation:

Kayigema, Vincent, and Denis Rugege. 2014. “Women's Perceptions of the Girinka (One Cow per Poor Family) Programme, Poverty Alleviation and Climate Resilience in Rwanda.” Agenda 28 (3): 53-64.

Authors: Vincent Kayigema, Denis Rugege

Abstract:

The Girinka ‘one cow per poor family’ programme has been implemented in Rwanda since 2006 to contribute towards poverty reduction, reduction of child malnutrition as well as to promote climate resilience among poor rural families. Under the programme, every family whose local community confirms it meets national criteria of being poor receives one dairy cow. Impacts of the Girinka programme on female beneficiaries for increasing livelihood options and enabling food security in the drought-prone Bugesera District as well as its potential contribution to climate resilience were assessed. The specific focus was whether the Girinka programme assists female beneficiaries to better cope with climate change in Bugesera District. The key consideration is the extent to which interventions reduce women’s vulnerability to climate change impacts. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used in this study. One hundred and thirty three female beneficiaries were interviewed and four focus group discussions held. The key findings of the study show that the one cow per poor family resulted in expanded land use, improved household nutrition and food security. Changes in agricultural practices resulting from the use of green fertiliser contributed to climate change resilience, increased crop production and generated income for poor rural women. The study reveals that while the government energy policy prioritises biogas energy production and the use of cow dung for biogas energy generation to reduce deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere for climate resilience, few respondents in the study could afford to buy biodigesters. Direct benefits for women who are responsible for energy and the collection of wood for their households are not yet being reaped and depend on affordable biodigesters. The main problems reported by respondents were inadequate veterinary services for care of the cow, the frequent search for water sources during droughts and insufficient land to grow fodder.

Keywords: climate change, climate resilience, Girinka programme, Rwanda, women

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Poverty, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Households, Livelihoods, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2014

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