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Rwanda Mobilises Communities To Conserve River Sebeya Zone

4 Min Read

Various stake holders in Sebeya project are mobilising for long term conservation of River Sebeya zone that spans through districts of Rubavu, Ngororero, Rutsiro, and Nyabihu in Western Province.

During the rainy season, River Sebeya is known for turning into a destructive monster as water from the mountains bursts the river banks and washes away nearly everything along its path in these four districts. Lives are lost, crops washed away, houses destroyed and livestock also lost- this is how River Sebeya can get deadly.

However, the government of Rwanda through Rwanda Water Resources Board (RWB) came up with an initiative that aims at fixing the destructive nature of River Sebeya and turning it into an opportunity for those living within its catchment area.

In June 2020, the government launched Sebeya catchment protection and Landscape Restoration project through which communities in the river zone are mobilized, skilled and involved in the conservation efforts that will run up to 2022.

According to details, the project is financed by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) with technical support from the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Netherland Development Organization (SNV), and Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative (RWARRI).

The project aims at raising awareness on landscape restoration to the leaders and the population of Sebeya catchment, building capacity of targeted population on landscape restoration and water resources management practices, and enhancing  the socio-economic welfare of the targeted villages communities.

Uwizeye Belange, RWARRI Executive Director told Press that residents in the river catchment zone are being trained in the management and conservation of the catchment.

Thus, farmers in the catchment zone are being engaged to identify ways that may contribute to long-term River Sebeya conservation.

In its achievements, the project has managed to restore degraded land in the Sebeya catchment; Developed innovative financing mechanisms and value chains for improved livelihoods through ecological and economic benefits. It has also Implemented knowledge management systems for landscape restoration and integrated water resources management.

Details also indicate that this project has realised more than 1,500 ha of Landscape Restoration interventions including; afforestation, trenches in forest and tea lands, agroforestry and radical terraces and progressive terraces.

Officials also told media that through the project, trees have been planted along the roads on 1,900km, distributed and installed 518 Rain Water Harvesting tanks to community and institutions.

Statistics also show that 196 Farmer Promoters from the 4 Districts were capacitated while kitchen gardens have been established in 782 household across the catchment zone.

As Covid-19 pounded Rwanda and the rest of the world, this project had some solutions for the people in the Sebeya catchment zone, over 11,000 residents have secured jobs to restore the degraded landscapes.

Also 129 Cows were provided to the beneficiaries as part of livelihoods transformation. About 194 saving groups have been set up with more than 38 million Rwandan Francs.

The project plans to establish a Community Environment Conservation Fund (CECF) as an economic-empowering mechanism for communities to access credit and build a resource base to tackle poverty while restoring the land.