Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) on Wednesday, December 9, handed over 20 cows to 20 families of Cyanika Sector, Burera District, a donation previously pledged by President Paul Kagame.
The handover ceremony was officiated by Maj Gen Eric Murokore, Commander of the Reserve Force in the area and Northern Province Governor Jean Marie Gatabazi. Also present was a group of local and senior military leaders.
The 20 families are among households that have voluntarily worked together with local leaders to ensure a safe community. Cyanika sector borders Uganda.
As he handed over the donation, Maj Gen Eric Murokore commended the residents on the transformation of their communities through close collaboration with local leaders.
While selecting the beneficiaries, he noted that priority was given to vulnerable households in society.
“This donation by President Paul Kagame is a token of appreciation. It is also an opportunity to transform your lives. What I ask is that you look after the cows well, because it is important that they serve their purpose.” Maj. Gen Murokore said.
Jean Marie Gatabazi pointed out that the donation was different from cows donated through Girinka, a nation-wide cattle stocking programme that targets the most vulnerable among communities..
Girinka was initiated by President Paul Kagame in 2006 with aim to benefit poor households, as a way of improving their welfare.
Gatabazi told The New Times that over 67,000 families out of a total of 68,000 had so far benefited from the programme in the Northern Province.
“As it has been, you (residents) have got an opportunity to fight malnutrition in your families and also neighborhoods. Children should not stunt when you have such cows, this should actually help us to reduce the number of stunted children due to poor feeding” the governor added.
To boost production, Gatabazi cautioned the families to make use of the area’s milk processing industry, Burera Dairy Ltd, which he said was currently working at its maximum.
Florida Nyirambonigaba, a resident who received the donation, expressed gratitude to the President, citing that it will relieve her of the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“This cow will provide manure which I will use in my small farm, this means that the soil that has been infertile will now be highly productive thanks to President Paul Kagame,” she said.
Nyirambonigaba added that “We are now more than committed to work hand in hand with the local leaders to ensure that our community is free from any illegal activities ranging from fraudsters who intercept goods from Uganda among others”.
Another resident, Leonard Nemeyabahizi, said, “My children are going to drink milk every day, my neighbor’s household will not suffer from any malnutrition-related disease”.
“I am currently categorized in the D- Ubudehe category (socio-economic status categories) but I am optimistic that with this donation I stand a chance to be upgraded in a higher category,’ he added.
There are currently five Ubudehe categories, A, B, C, D and E. Category A consists of households with the highest income while E reflects the most vulnerable in society.