16 June 2017

Rwanda: Genocide Widows in Rwamagana District Receive Girinka Cows

A dozen Genocide widows in Rwamagana District Wednesday received a dairy cow each under the national cattle-stocking programme, Girinka.

The cows, worth Rwf6 million, were donated by Msaada, an organisation that has over the years extended support to Genocide survivors in Rwamagana and Kayonza districts of Eastern Province.

While handing over the cows to the beneficiaries, the district vice mayor for social affairs Jeanne Mutoni said the gesture would benefit Genocide survivors categorised under the first and second Ubudehe social stratification programme.

"We're one of the districts in the country with the highest number of Genocide survivors who are steadily graduating from the first and second Ubudehe categories upwards, thanks to Girinka," said Mutoni.

Esperance Muteterabera, the in-charge of Girinka at Rwanda Agriculture Board in Eastern Province, shared her knowledge of cattle rearing and called upon the beneficiaries to take great care of the cows to ensure high production.

"The cow is a factory, the more you give it, the more you get from it. Which means if you want more milk from your cow, feed it more," she said.

Muteterabera encouraged the beneficiaries to "always call veterinary officers in their vicinity whenever they need their services, which she said had been made much easier following Msaada's decision to deploy their own veterinary doctors in the area to take care of the cows."

The beneficiaries were also given sprayers, pesticides, and iodine salts for initial catering for the animals.

Msaada country coordinator Damascene Ntambara said the organisation derives its name from the Swahili word for 'assistance', adding that since they started operating in Rwamagana in 2012, they have donated 137 hybrid dairy cows to vulnerable families.

"In the next few months, we'll donate 25 more cows and construct their pens, renovate thirty-six water tanks, donate five thousand inseminators and construct a school library at Groupe Scolaire Rwamagana," he said.

He added that their wish is to extend their donations to other districts as their capacity grows.

Msaada was founded by veteran BBC journalist Fergal Keane, actress Joanna Lumley, and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Initiated in 2006, Girinka is a government-run programme that seeks to donate hundreds of thousands of cattle to vulnerable households across Rwanda to boost nutrition and incomes.

More than 203,000 cows have so far been distributed and the government has recently stepped up the effort to try to meet the target of 350,000 cows by end 2017.

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