Partnering With Communities for Improved Livelihoods and Environmental Stability

ARCOS believes that building resilience to climate change through ecosystem restoration should go hand in hand with promoting an inclusive and sustainable community development. To ensure this, ARCOS Network’s local interventions for climate resilience and sustainable development focuses on building socio-ecological systems at grass-root level as foundation for long-term success. 

ARCOS believes that building resilience to climate change through ecosystem restoration should go hand in hand with promoting an inclusive and sustainable community development. To ensure this, ARCOS Network’s local interventions for climate resilience and sustainable development focuses on building socio-ecological systems at grass-root level as foundation for long-term success. 

So far, ARCOS works in partnership with 280 local community groups in Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. These groups were empowered technically and financially to acquire integrated understanding and know-how in, and put into practice a holistic program through ARCOS’ BEST Approach. Key aspects through this program include leadership and sustainable institutions, Sustainable Agricultural Land Management (SALM), nature-based enterprises development, and environmental resilience and climate-smart practices at household, village, and farmer organization levels. 

“Now we are enjoying the fruits of the acquired skills in sustainable agricultural land management. For instance, a farm plot which used to produce 2 sacks of beans, is producing 3 or 4.” Said Jeanne Ingabire, a member of KOIMIZANYA cooperative based in Bugesera district. 

“After being trained, these groups have graduated to Nature-Based Community Enterprises (NBCEs). To ensure financial stability, at NBCE and individual member levels, ARCOS mobilizes small grants and community credit funds known as Nature Based Community Fund (NBCF). Through the NBCF, community apply for small loans to implement income generating activities associated with a range of climate-smart and landscape restoration practices.” said Brigitte Kanyamugenge, Head of Nature-Based Community Development Programme at ARCOS. 

Jean Bosco Murenzi, Chairperson of KOIMIZANYA cooperative, affirmed that the NBCF came as response to lack of capital, costly borrowing schemes and limited access to formal financial services by community and community-based organizations. He added that it contributes a lot in agricultural value chain development and help him and his colleagues to run successfully small nature-based enterprises. 

On the business development aspect, Brigitte revealed that NBCEs are accompanied and supported through a process fostering development of potential nature-based value chains in ARCOS’ focal landscapes. The training program is organized based on the types of enterprise of the target group(s) and each group designate representatives to participate in a Training of Trainers (ToT). We can highlight among others 76 NBCE members trained in tree nursery management and grafting, 20 trained in sustainable beekeeping techniques, 5 trained in vermi-composting and 40 trained in handcraft.