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AbroadOne Cow Rwanda

An opportunity to redeem poverty for women in the Bugesera district through breeding cows.
  • PlaceBugesera, Rwanda
  • PartnerRwanda Agriculture Board, Bugesera District
  • Beneficiaries200 family mothers and Rilima community
  • Period2013 – ongoing
  • Budget157.000€

The context

In the Bugesera district, in the East of Rwanda, the local population is often confronted with the problem of drought and the resulting famines that endanger the primary livelihood of a family agriculture, done in small plots of land with traditional technics. In this context, the most vulnerable are the children and women who, if widowed or abandoned, must feed their family and provide health insurance

The One Cow project

The idea of ​​the “One Cow” project was born out of the government initiative “Cow program for poor family” designed to support the most vulnerable parts of the population by promoting a traditional economic activity: breeding. In view of the validity of this program, in 2013 the Marcegaglia Foundation has decided to put this program into place in one of the poorest areas in the country, in the district of Bugesera and in particular in the village of Rilima. Thanks to local referents, 20 widows and mothers, eager to test themselves in a new activity, were found. Each one has been entrusted with a pregnant cow and all that is needed to take care of it. The beneficiaries have been trained on how to hold the animal and accompanied during the first months. Soon the project has been extended to give 50 other women 3 goats each, easier to keep even in small farmland.

The positive effect of the project has been apparent after a few months: thanks to the milk produced women have improved their families’ feeding and started a small income generating activity to be able to pay health insurance, send children to school and live with dignity.

After three years of activity the beneficiaries are about 200 but will continue to increase because the born calves will be given to other women thus creating a virtuous circle of development.

The Cooperative

The Giramata Cooperative was born in 2013 because of the desire of women to benefit from supporting each other even through a shared bank account to withdraw in case of difficulties. Thanks to the constant support of the local referents they have decided to become a cooperative by starting some income generating activities such as the production of pictures painted locally, called Imigongo and the cultivation of pineapples. At present, the co-operative named Abizeranye is comprised of 22 women who are also committed to supporting the weaker people in the community by paying health insurance to the indigent families and distributing the milk produced to counter malnutrition of children.

Altri interventi per la comunità

Water is a precious commodity for the Rilima community, especially in the dry season, and often women and children are at risk for their safety having to collect it from the lake, populated by crocodiles. Through this intervention in 2014, rainwater collection tanks were distributed to the top 20 beneficiaries. In 2016, a community concrete cistern for drinking water collection and distribution was also installed, which meets the needs of most inhabitants.

Another initiative launched in 2016 with the local community of Rilima is the creation of a fruit plants nursery that in the first year allowed to distribute 6,000 seedlings to more than 500 families to help alleviate the food shortages they suffer.

“School feeding program” is an intervention supported by Fondazione Marcegaglia since 2015 within the Catholic School of Rilima which has 1380 students between primary and secondary school. Children and young people attend the school both in the morning and in the afternoon and, when they cannot go home because is often too far,they have to pay a lunch fee consisting of a plate of rice and beans. Unfortunately, some families cannot afford this expense every month and so children are likely to be excluded from the classroom and not go on studying. The Foundation intervenes to support 100 students from the most vulnerable families.

In the Biennial 2017-2018  six Rilima girls will be supported with scholarships to partially cover the costs in a higher education  Hospitality Management course at Akilah Institute in Kigali.

We need your help

Find out how a person's fate can change thanks to you!

In Rwanda, a cow or three goats can represent an opportunity for a mother in need in order to start a dignified life, support her family, and rediscover confidence in her abilities. Help us extend the One Cow project to other women ready to engage in farming.

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