It was all smiles on 20th January 2016 as Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) through “Vulnerable Ecosystem Recovery Programme (VERP) towards Climate Change resilience” donated 50 cows to former Ruhondo Lake islanders currently relocated to Gashaki Green Village, Musanze District.
The cow handing ceremony took place in Gashaki Green Village during the visit done by members of the REMA Board of Directors to eyewitness the investments made at the model green village built for former Ruhondo lake islanders. The village has been constructed by REMA through “Supporting Ecosystem Rehabilitation and Protection for Pro-poor Green Growth Programme (SERPG)” and Vulnerable Ecosystem Recovery Programme (VERP) towards Climate Change resilience”.
The 50 cows were donated to the 50 families living in Gashaki Green Village, adding to other 50 cows earlier given to them as part of REMA support for livelihoods improvement.
Donating the 100 cows to Gashaki village occupants aims to help them get manure and milk to improve their living conditions as well as cow dung to make the biogas facility operational.
"Today we live better. We use biogas, we have basic infrastructure, we are learning technical skills and we look to the future with hope," said Vedaste Nkurikijimana, Gashaki Green Village resident, adding “Thank you for moving us out of the islands where our lives were at risk and where we struggled to live.”
During their visit to the model village, members of the REMA Board of Directors toured the infrastructures in place mainly the water-harvesting system constructed for Gashaki Village occupants, the biogas facility and Ruhondo Lake Watershed Rehabilitation activities.
Members of the REMA Board of Directors commended the investments made in the village and urged the occupants to take good care of the facilities provided to them.
“Take this opportunity to improve your lives. You have a strong foundation to build from,” Dr. Telesphore Ndabamenye, Chairperson of the REMA Board of Director told Gashaki Green Village residents.
Addressing Gashaki Green Village residents, the Director General of REMA Eng. Coletha Ruhamya also called on beneficiaries to make use of the cows given to them in order to transform their lives.
“We are investing in transforming your lives and we believe you will continue to build from this to achieve much more," Eng.Ruhamya told Gashaki residents.
Eng. Ruhamya also pledged to provide Gashaki Green Village occupants with a modern boat to support their activities, facilitate maritime transport and diversify their source of income.
Gashaki Green Village is an environment-friendly village comprised of 25 twin houses (two families in one house), having among other facilities a water-harvesting system with a capacity of 250 cubic meters and a waste treatment system which produces biogas energy for cooking and fertilizers for the residents. Occupants now have access to basic infrastructure which were not existing in the islands including water, electricity, schools, health center, just to cite but a few.
It has been proven that investing in life improvement projects reduces community pressure on natural resources, leads to far better lives and ensures that the environment is protected.
View or download photos from the cows handing ceremony here.