Yashyizweho kuri 5 April, 2016 | 16:38

PAX PRESS staff met Kiziguro autorities to prepare together an outreach community debate

Before organizing a community debate, PAX PRESS staff met sector staff to discuss about their sector: success stories, challenges, initiatives on which a community debat should be focused on. At 25/02/2016, PAX PRESS was in Kiziguro sector, Gatsibo district, eastern Province.

Topics discussed during the meeting

1.Citizens of Kiziguro practice the agriculture. Mainly they cultivate Banana as the eastern province is characterized by this. One cell, Mbogo cell has a particularity of digging banana on its whole land but in a modern manner. By taking care of it and select seed that make revenues people have passed to banana for beer to banana for money by selling and get high revenues comparing to revenues from banana brew. The important thing is that people do not need to sell bananas to other sellers. They sell them to locals who bring them in Kigali. But buy selling they do not do it by estimating weights as it was before. Now you put your banana on the balance and you are paid according to kilos it has. This increases the incomes for farmers.

2.Apart from banana, Kiziguro sector cultivate rice through cooperative in marshland . Farmers themselves explain that the quality of their rice is excellent what make it delicious and attractive to buyers. We should also notice that maize is also cultivated on large plots through cooperatives. According to the sector agronomist they are some challenges in implementation of agriculture policy. Due to conservatism some don’t want to cultivate the sample culture on a large land saying they can’t leave their ancestral system. Others also don’t use fertilizers having bad thinking about it. But on another hand participants underlined that the cost (of fertilizers) is considered as high so as to refuse buying it. On another hand however, some want to get benefits quickly and don’t see beyond. For instance some think that planting sorghum and harvesting does not require much effort than cultivating rice, banana or maize which occur fertilizers, regular control… So these mentalities affect their implementation as policies of government to promote agriculture development.

3.Girinka program is well implemented in the sector according to the executive secretary of the sector. This program started in 2006 and more than 2000 cows have been given to poor. In general 5645 are owned by farmers including cows from Girinka. Farmers themselves participate in the program by giving cows to poor through the sector which has a team which selects poor belonging to one or second category of ubudehe.

4.A challenge still however. Milk production is assembled to the local point center where it’s checked and sent to Inyange industry in Kigali. Normally, when the product (milk) is tested good sellers receive money through the bank. But, in some cases after sending the milk one day after some reports come and tell them that the quality is bad to be used in the industry. In such cases they lose the milk and don’t get money. For farmers, this is a big issue because some say that they don’t believe really in reason pushing the industry to refuse milk saying the quality is bad. How to explain why this quantity became bad at the industry while the same milk has been tasted good and safe on the local selling point. Regarding to this question, the sector is planning to gather farmers and think about constructing their own diary so as to help them not losing and being discouraged as it is for some.

5.Concerning health issues, the sector has 1 health center and 2 health posts. In addition it locates the Kiziguro district Hospital. Actually the main health issues concern malaria, breath sickness and diarrhea. According to the health center manager, malaria is caused by mosquitoes from rice fields. But also the lack of hygiene in families such not cleaning well the house or farms where cows urinated occurs the multiplication of mosquitoes and indeed increase the number of people suffering of malaria. Diarrhea is caused by lack of water. The sector is not covered at a high level in water. In some cells like Mbogo there is no tap water in the whole cell. People use water from marshland or from the rain when it rains. But what if it is in the sunny period?

6.The lack of firewood is a serious problem. Indeed, the sector has not forests. People manage to find firewood. The problem is so serious that during rainy periods some spend days and nights without eating because they have no wood. Food is not a problem. To solve this, the sector in partnership with partners including the National Police plans to distribute more than 12,000 stoves (rondereza) to help families fighting against this problem.

Success stories

1.Ibimina (Informal “microfinance” between people) helped young people to gain small credits to start small businesses. Gathered in groups, in the whole sector young started by paying 100 Rwf every week. Now they have increased the amount up to 1000Rwf each member. The initiative is growing so that now the maximum to take as credit is 200 000 RwF. But that ikimina is not only for economic purpose. Socially when a member gets married or loses one of his family member, the ikimina gives some money in help

2.Women are responsible in families to the point that even the development of families is due to women implication. For example, they share with their husbands the maintenance of their fields and the control of what comes from their production. Furthermore, women without husbands, widows, responsible, work hard to not be seen as passive and lazy to the point that there are some who have a better life compared to other families of husband and wife.

On the other hand, women initiatives attracted afterwards men and helped wider development of their respective communities. Thus, the program against the herbs used as mattress called dusasirane (giving modern mattress to families in need) is a feminine initiative but, given its importance, has also attracted men who disseminate it in their families.

During the workshop, participants have been given enough time to express their views, to talk about their success stories and challenges. The passionate interaction between PAX PRESS delegation and the leaders of Kiziguro sector gave a sign of free expression of local community in the area.

Niyonagize Fulgence, PAX PRESS staff

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