ARCOS launches a Nature Based Community Fund in Rwanda

Bugesera (Rwanda), 27th April, 2017. The Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Network) officially launches a revolving fund system named “Nature Based Community Fund (NBCF)” to support community investments in improving their livelihoods and environmental sustainability. NBCF aims specifically to enhance environmental resilience, mobilize and engage communities in ensuring efficient water, energy and food security, build sustainable community business enterprises, support Nature Based Villages (NBVs), promote saving and self-reliance culture among communities and support the efforts to reduce poverty in rural areas. 

Bugesera (Rwanda), 27th April, 2017. The Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Network) officially launches a revolving fund system named “Nature Based Community Fund (NBCF)” to support community investments in improving their livelihoods and environmental sustainability. NBCF aims specifically to enhance environmental resilience, mobilize and engage communities in ensuring efficient water, energy and food security, build sustainable community business enterprises, support Nature Based Villages (NBVs), promote saving and self-reliance culture among communities and support the efforts to reduce poverty in rural areas. 

NBCF was established as part of the project “Using Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus to Promote Climate Resilient Decisions and Model Actions in Selected Landscapes along Kagera Basin” in Rwanda, with initial funding support from Rwanda Environment and Climate Change Fund (FONERWA) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The project (pilot) operates in three districts namely Bugesera, Kirehe and Rutsiro.

 “I would like to thank ARCOS particularly for the effort made in environmental management in our Districts. Some people confuse environmental management and planting trees only which is also part but I particularly thank ARCOS because its approach to sustainable environmental management starts from the grassroots through partnership for improved livelihoods and environmental sustainability. We also thank FONERWA for supporting this project and many others that contribute much to the development of Bugesera District” said Mr. Emmanuel Nsanzumuhire Emmanuel, Mayor of Bugesera District, when launching the NBCF.

He added: “We thank H.E President Paul Kagame for framing the environmental management agenda for the country; environment is the life of the country. We, Bugesera District, have much to share with you as we have experience; we experienced a period when we realized that environment is the cornerstone for our existence. When it is degraded, the livelihoods are also affected and the development becomes impossible. Those who may have been in Bugesera in 2000 understand what I mean, it was terrible. Since the government started initiative to plant trees in Bugesera, it is now better and we are not experiencing droughts as it used to be."

The Mayor of Bugesera requested ARCOS to extend its work in other Sectors of Bugesera as the impacts of the cooperatives working with ARCOS are already visible. The Mayor pointed out the nine lakes situated in the district as the area to focus on for sustainable management and irrigation in the Sectors adjacent to them.

In his welcome remarks, Dr Sam Kanyamibwa, Executive Director of ARCOS said: “This is a very important but not an easy initiative. We won’t achieve the desired goal of this fund if we continue to do as usual, everyone needs to play effectively his role and we shine as an example in the whole country that it is possible to improve our livelihoods while respecting the environment. We are very grateful that the government of Rwanda provides a conducive environment for environmental management and it is very important that the grassroots/communities understand well the importance and contribute to the sustainable management of the environment. That understanding and engagement in environmental management translate into these green hills around us and good weather, food security, clean drinking water for all, etc.” 

At the beginning, the Nature Based Community Fund will work with the members of the selected Nature Based Villages in Rwanda where the project operates. The selected NBVs are: Kabungeri and Nyamiyaga in Kirehe landscape, Rugarama and Kinyovi in Bugesera landscape, and Nyagasambu and Kabisasa in Rutsiro landscape. The NBCF is for the community and will be managed at village level, but the management committee will consist of one delegate from the district, one from the sector, one from the cell, delegates from the Nature Based Community Enterprises, the village leader and delegates from ARCOS. The sector delegate is the chairperson, the village leader is vice-chairperson, ARCOS is the secretariat; and the district delegate, NBCEs representatives and the cell delegate are advisors to the NBCF management committee.

For more details, please contact ARCOS, through the Community Development Programme Manager, Mrs Brigitte Kanyamugenge: Email:[email protected]; Tel: +250788885130