Minister Biruta tours Green Fund investments protecting Nyabarongo River
Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources, Dr. Vincent Biruta, has visited a number of projects financed by the Green Fund that are protecting the Nyabarongo River from soil erosion and silt. In his two-day visit, Minister Biruta saw first hand the efforts to conserve the natural environment, improve livelihoods, and increase food productivity across the Upper Nyabarongo Watershed. The watershed is the area from which rainwater flows into the river. The two Green Fund projects visited include the Karongi Integrated Green Village Project and the Rehabilitation of Biodiversity and Ecosystems in the Nyabarongo Watershed Project.
Karongi Integrated Green Village Project
The Integrated Green Village Project includes the construction of 20 hectares of radical terraces and the planting of 60 hectares of agroforestry and 16 hectares of forestry. The project is also distributing 97 biogas digesters, 130 cows to bio-digesters beneficiaries and 10 underground rainwater harvesting tanks.
The project is directly improving the livelihoods of almost 1,000 vulnerable households in Gahabwa and Nyamuhebe villages. While meeting with beneficiaries and local leaders, the minister asked residents to ensure their biogas systems are well set up so that they function effectively. He also encouraged the community to sustain the achievements already made to protect the Nyabarongo River.
"I want to encourage you to take full ownership of the project activities and environmental protection in your communities," Minister Biruta said. "The Green Village project will only be sustainable if you involve yourselves fully and continue its activities when it concludes."
During the visit, the Mayor of Karongi District, François Ndayisaba, explained the efforts to stop soil from being eroded and flowing into the river. He showed the areas where buffer zones have been created, where eucalyptus trees will be planted and how terraces and trenches are helping to improve agricultural output and protect the river. The mayor also emphasised the role of green villages and their impact for the community.
"We are grateful for the support provided by the Green Fund. Our Green Village project activities are very important because we are a vulnerable district and must work hard to develop," Mayor Ndayisaba said.
Read more about this project, which is being implemented by Karongi District, here.
Rehabilitation of Biodiversity and Ecosystems in the Nyabarongo Watershed Project
Minister Biruta also visited the site of a new Green Fund project that will see vast areas of the Nyabarongo Watershed protected with the aim of reducing the soil erosion and silt that flows into the river. The project is being implemented by Ngororero District in partnership with Caritas Diocese Kabgayi.
The watershed protection project will include afforestation, the construction of gate bridges to stop silt from flowing down the river and terraces and trenches to reduce erosion across the Nyabarongo Watershed.
Meeting with residents, Ngororero Vice Mayor in Charge of Economic Affairs, Christine Kanyange, said that the implementation of the project is the responsibility of everyone in the community and that residents should work together to achieve its goals. The Minister concluded the visit by meeting local communities and surveying Nyabarongo River and its tributaries. Speaking at the end of the tour, the Minister said:
“When this project begins, I encourage everyone to get involved & take ownership. You should set an example for the rest of Rwanda. My hope is that we can prevent soil erosion, be more productive and see the waters of Nyabarongo River become clear."