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FAO launches new anti-poverty project in Rwanda

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Ben Oduor

A new project aimed at fighting poverty among Rwanda’s vulnerable families has been launched by The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) to be rolled out in the country’s four districts.

The project, dubbed; “Strengthening the impact of Rwanda’s VUP- Public Works and beneficiaries’ graduation out of poverty,” was on Wednesday unveiled in Kigali.

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The project will focus on linking social protection initiatives with agriculture to ensure speedy and sustainable growth by emphasizing on improving nutrition for healthy benefits.

According to The New Times, the 18-month project that costs Rwf286 will benefit families from four districts of Rubavu and Nyabihu in Western Province as well as Rulindo and Gakenke in Northern Province.

It will mainly offer technical support to the government’s ‘minimum package for graduation from poverty’ project through a wide range of activities, and the beneficiaries will be given either three goats, three chicken, three sheep or a pig worth Rwf80,000.

The Local Administrative Entities Development Agency reports that the three-year pilot scheme is operational in 30 sectors, with one in each of the selected districts.

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About 19,889 vulnerable people are expected to benefit from the program, with almost Rwf3 billion set to be spent on livestock alone.

Addressing a gathering during the launch, Odette Uwamariya, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Local Government and Social Affairs said the project would be rolled out throughout the country once the pilot plan succeeds.

She said the project would help improve coherence between social protection and agriculture, admitting it was through linking social protection to agriculture that poverty would easily be eradicated.

“Linking the VUP social protection programmes and agriculture will especially help us to address the malnutrition issue,” Uwamariya said.

“This is a complimentary project that will be a catalyst for us to think about other projects that will help us fast-track lifting people from poverty.”

On the other hand, Attaher Maiga, FAO Country representative to Rwanda said the Local Government Ministry is in the process of profiling beneficiaries of the minimum package programme in the four districts.

“We want to promote nutrition-sensitive agriculture, meaning that training will be provided so that even extension workers who are supporting farmers in social protection and agriculture intervention can be nutrition-sensitive in their interaction with farmers.”

 

 

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