This project aims to increase food security among women, men, girls and boys most vulnerable to climate change in the refugee/returnee areas of Gatsibo and Kayonza Districts in Rwanda . It seeks to improve household nutrition and income generation through climate change adaptation initiatives targeting 36,480 people in households. The project seeks to address the challenges related to climate change such as prolonged droughts, unpredictable seasons, increased storms, and unpredictable rains. Small farm holders often have little or no arable land or water for irrigation. Deforestation has contributed to increased soil erosion, soil exhaustion and adversely affected water sources. All of these factors negatively affect crop production and household incomes, limiting people’s ability to produce or purchase food.
The expected intermediate outcomes for this project include: (1) More equal access to vegetables and fruits for consumption and in-come-generation for women and men, girls and boys most vulnerable to climate change in the refugee/returnee areas of Gatsibo and Kayonza Districts; (2) Increased use of environmentally sustainable adaptation mechanisms to reduce the negative impacts of climate change among the most climate vulnerable women, men, girls and boys in the refugee/returnee areas of Gatsibo and Kayonza Districts; and (3) Increased representation of women in decision making positions at the cooperative level in the refugee/returnee areas of Gatsibo and Kayonza Districts.
Results achieved as of the end of the project (March 2014) include: 6,080 people (3,587 women) who are members of one of the 136 participating cooperative were trained in efficient, sustainable and adapted agriculture techniques, in environmental protection, protective agroforestry and in nutrition. 1,386 women who are cooperative members also received training in cooperative management. As a result, 95% of participating households have adopted at least one environmentally sustainable adaptation initiative, such as gardening with water conservation techniques, compared to 47% at the beginning of the project. 62.7% of households have harvested vegetables from their own gardens for 10 months of the year, compared to 0-3 months before the project. The nutrition-related illnesses among households headed by women decreased from 20% at the beginning of the project to 12.5% by the end of it. While at the beginning of the project, women were only somewhat confident that they had an equal voice and vote in decisions related to cooperative management, at the end of the project, 99% of them were highly confident that their opinions were considered and that their voice and vote are equal to that of men in cooperative decision making. These results have contributed to help the communities in the project targeted areas to improve their adaptation to climate change and have increased access to good quality food for vulnerable people, especially women, who live in these communities.