The one cow per family ‘girinka’ programme has been instrumental in getting people out of poverty
A cross section of the widows who were given cows in Gisagara District in Girinka Program are grateful to the program that they say has changed their social welfare from – poor to being farmers.
These widows are now supporting this program by giving out cows to their neighbours to allow them to also be farmers.
Girinka program is a poverty reduction strategy that was initiated in 2006 by President Paul Kagame. This program aims at having every poor household in Rwanda to in due course receive a dairy cow which in turn is expected to result in better livelihood.
These are basically are for milk for consumption and selling, improved agricultural productivity from improved soil fertility as a result of the application of cow manure to the cultivated land.
One of the mechanisms for making this program self-sustaining is the tradition that when the cow gives birth, the calf is given to a neighbour who in turn gives the next calf to the next neighbor and so on.
Mariya Tereza Bankundiye a widow in Mugombwa sector was given a cow in Girinka program. Ever since she got a cow, her social life changed completely
“My family got milk for consumption; I can provide for them, feed them, dress them and even pay for their school fees and other expenses. I can pay for Mutuelle de santé ‘medical insurance’ and all other social contributions.”
Justine Mukabayitare is another widow who was given a cow in 2008 and resides in Save sector. “My cow has reproduced twice, my farming is much better with the manure I get. My four children are in secondary schools and I pay their school dues and provide for them when in the past I relied on other people’s support.”
To show their gratitude to the government of Rwanda for supporting them when in need, these widows in Gisagara District are ready to support Girinka program in which way possible so that every Rwandan can have the chance to get out of poverty by owning a cow.