Champions’ collective actions resulted to Hillside erosion control
Ruvungirana Marshland is a wetland located in 2 districts of Gisagara and Huye with a total surface area of 64.7 Ha, cultivated by 864 farmers grouped in the cooperative, 75% of these farmers are females, and 15% of youths. The land grows vegetables, beans, and maize based on agricultural season. The maize production before the climate change and terrible erosion was reaching 50 Metric Tons (MT) ! and the marshland is insured in Radiant with the amount of 2, 000, 000 Rwf !
swamp, the water fills the swamp, and the crops be covered by water which caused a total loss from 50 MT to 0MT of the maize harvest counted.
The champions from this area of Ruhashya Sector, Karama Cell, and Gakoni village of Huye district took the lead to address this issue of soil erosion.
The champions told us that Radiant was useless because all members of the cooperative at that time received 200,000 Rwf, which must be distributed to more than 800 farmers.
“I am one of Inshuti z’Umuryango (Friends of Families) and village leader’s committee member, and a champion who got skills in Leadership Advocacy Public speaking (LAPs) from PFTH ! One time after this situation, as champions we met a journalist from KT radio, a lady named Consolate Komagaju, and we engaged her and Sector agronomist in our advocacy in order to bring change through prevention of the soil erosion ! We were very happy to see how they own this problem. After few days the journalist came to collect more information, walked through the swamp, and decided to raise our voice from the village to the district level”. Said Mukantwali Beretilde
As result, the terraces (Trenches combined with living hedges/ imiringoti) were established ; the land on the hills surrounding the swamp was protected ; in collaboration with the sector and district, around 200 people worked in VUP were engaged ; from September 2022, and the work is still ongoing !
Trenches combined with living hedges are slow-forming terraces to control soil erosion by changing the length of the slope and progressively reducing the slope gradient ; the slope steepness decreases progressively hydric and tillage erosion. If you look at the cost of all of the work done by that manpower as it is expected to end in early January is above 20 million Rwandan francs.
As a way forward, the president of the cooperative, Nzabandora John, told us that this activity needs to be extended to the other side of Gisagara District ! Because if one part is done (Huye) and the other of Gisagara is not, it would not be a lasting solution ! He told us that Gisagara has in plan to hire 1000 people from VUP who will work on Gisagara from January 2023.
Beatrice, who is in charge of Social Economic Development in the cell said “We really appreciate the champions’ collective actions, they are playing a big role to prevent and fight against family conflicts, teen pregnancies, school dropout, etc."
Now the cooperative members are enjoying climate justice and they are believing that there will not be food insecurity anymore !