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Vulnerable Ecosystem Recovery Towards Climate Change Resilience Program (VERP)

The Vulnerable Ecosystem Recovery towards Climate Change Resilience Program (VERP) started in 2014 and will be closing in March 2018. The project followed the end of other two phases of project which is Decentralized Environmental Management Project (DEMP), and sought primarily to build on its successes in order to consolidate the achievements within the project area and scale-up some of the success initiatives to other areas. VERP Program was implemented through the National Execution (NEX) process by Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA). The project received funds from FONERWA. The project had a budget of Frw 3,724,188,800. Its expected execution period was five years. The project interventions include Burera (Rugarama,Rusarabuye,Gitovu,Ruhunde, Kivuye and Rwerere Sectors), Musanze (Gashaki,Remera and Gacaca Sectors), Bugesera (Mayange,Musenyi,Rweru and Ngeruka Sectors) and Rusizi (Bugarama,Nzahaha,Rwimbogo and Muganza Sectors) Districts.
The Project focused on three key objectives;

  • Support innovative approaches to restore and conserve fragile island and wetland ecosystems and promote the sustainable management of natural resources;
  • Support livelihood diversification to enhance household incomes generation subprojects and reduce dependency of rural communities on rain fed agriculture;
  • Strengthen local and national capacity for climate resilient management of island and wetland ecosystems through improved knowledge management systems

The expected outcome of the program stated as follows:
Conservation and management of natural resources strengthened and sustained mainly in Burera ‐ Ruhando and Cyohoha lakes as well as in Bugarama’s wetland.
VERP program had various achievements as elaborated in chapter three of this report, below is a summary of its planned outputs vis-à-vis its achievements;
Output 1: Degraded fragile ecosystem rehabilitated;
Rehabilitation of critical ecosystem of Burera, Ruhondo lakes in North and Cyohoha lake in Eastern part of the country. The program has also focused on Bugarama wetland rehabilitation by restoring its catchment including riverbanks and watersheds. Different ecosystem rehabilitated includes:

  • Radical terraces and agroforestry (500 Ha in Musanze and Burera Districts)
  • Progressive terraces and agroforestry  (150 Ha in Rusizi  District)
  • Riverbanks protection with bamboo and demarcation line on 37 Km in Rusizi District,
  • Lakeshores and demarcation line protection on 279.9 ha
  • Eradication of invasive species from Lake Cyohoha North on 406 Ha

Output 2: Livelihood of community beneficiaries diversified
The program has supported community’s beneficiaries to build resilience to the effect of climate change through:

  • Construction of biogas system to 325 resettled communities of Burera, Musanze and Bugesera Districts
  • Construction of rain water harvesting tanks to 321 Households)
  • Supply and installation of Solar Home System to 1,460 Communitie’s Beneficiaires of Category 1 Ubudehe in  Burera, Musanze and Bugesera Districts
  • Supply of  520 cows to community’s Beneficiaries of  Category 1 and 2 in Musanze, Burera and Bugesera Districts
  • Supply of 930 sheep to communitie’s beneficiaries of UBUDEHE Category 1 in Musanze and Burera Districts
  • Supply of pigs to communities beneficiaries of UBUDEHE category 1 and 2 in Ngeruka Sector, Bugesera District.

The program has supported more than 2,000 community’s beneficiaries through various domain including agriculture, livestock and small factory and transport. The project has also created 9,377 green jobs through green components construction and radical terraces construction.
Output 3: Knowledge management on ecosystem rehabilitation diversified;
Capacity building through trainings and workshops 411 community beneficiaries on livestock management, cooperative management and improved agriculture best practices  in the project interventions was enhanced through;

  • Trainings of cooperatives on sustainable management of environment and small income subproject development.
  • Trainings of project staff and other stakeholders including Reserve Force, District staff and REMA staff, on land husbandry technics, Biophysical indicator monitoring livestock management and basic principles of water and soil conservation measures and monitoring such as progressive and radical terracing principles to the community’s beneficiaries,

The project activity performance is 89% and the execution of the project budget was well performed in comparison to the planned budget and disbursement. The committed funds are achieved at 85% up to the end of December 2017.
Key Project results

  • The community work approach created productive assets in a short time by involving the community: Within less than four years, communities involved in the project accomplished a large task: They constructed 500 hectares (ha) of radical terraces, 150 ha of progressive terraces and 406 Ha of water hyacinth removal in Cyohoha lake, 278.9 Ha of lakeshores and riverbank.
  • Inclusive approach for development initiatives: The project follows an inclusive approach not only in the development of assets (watersheds, water body and lakeshores) but also in their distribution. The ecosystem rehabilitation work provides local employment opportunity for all types of people in the community, including the young, aged, women and physically challenged, and from locations within and outside the project area. Every person is provided work according to their capacity. Before work starts on the site, people are organized into groups of 30 with a mix of men, women, elderly, etc. Each group is supported by youth team leaders with at least a higher secondary education who had been trained in providing demarcation services (measuring and drawing dividing lines on the soil) to each group and/or individual, taking measurements of work, maintaining an attendance register and other tasks.
    The constructed radical terraces and progressive terrace (belonging to the beneficiairies) are valorized with selected improved seed supply, cow supply to get fertilizer, and agroforestry and fruit trees to protect soil from erosion.
  • The initiative is well-linked with government programmes: As soon as the work is completed, it is linked with the Government of Rwanda’s land consolidation programme such as one seed on consolidated land. The distribution of one cow per family taken up in the project is linked with the One Cow per Poor Family (Girinka) programme, and the government veterinarian provides services to the farmers.

Challenges
Community capacity to take care of infrastructure provided (land management) which is still at low level: The project provides full support for many marshland and hillside development initiatives, post-harvest infrastructure development as well as provision of cows, cowshed, seeds and fertilizer. According to community members, the contribution of community is meager, such as sowing of grass seeds or tree plantation. Factoring a clear role for the community in execution of the activities as well as their management is essential to help the community understand the importance of the resources that they are using and to ‘own’ the interventions. With the progress of the programme (especially when it has more resources in the beginning), it is important to inculcate the habit of savings and of an active role in contributing to and maintaining the created infrastructure. This will improve the sustainability of the efforts and impart self-reliance.
All community members have SACCO accounts but very few have accessed loans and many are withdrawing most of their wages from the account (thus keeping a very low balance), long distances to be travelled to reach the facility and the limited capacity to get loans.
 
 

Project Status: 
Start date: 
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
End date: 
Sunday, June 30, 2019
Grant Financier : 
FONERWA
Agency: 

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