The World Bank (WB) Africa Group Executive Director, Denny H. Kalyalya, has expressed his satisfaction over the progress that the Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting, and Hillside Irrigation Project (LWH) has made in improving people’s lives and welfare in Nyanza District, Rwanda.
He toured these Agriculture projects on December 3, 2013.
He was briefed on how farmers make compost, and toured a dam that will be installed with the capacity to irrigate 471 hectares while listening to testimonies of how local farmers are benefiting from LWH.
“It’s quite impressive what I have just seen here; you have very industrious people. I am also impressed in the manner officials conduct their affairs,” Kalyalya stated after receiving first-hand experience of how LWH Nyanza is improving people’s lives.
“I can see that you are all committed to improving your lives. This is the way it should be and us as partners, it gives us much pleasure,” Kalyalya said.
According to Kalyalya, this sense is very interesting, because even in many urban areas many do not have an attitude towards saving.
“I think it’s an inspiration to everyone,” Kalyalya remarked. “It’s not so much the amount of money you get, but it’s really that attitude. Here I can see that even the blind are included.”
According to local officials, 1,600 hectares have been covered with terraces in Nyanza. The target is 4,000 ha. LWH is currently employing 6,600 vulnerable people so that they can increase their income and improve their welfare.
The fact that local communities are involved in building the infrastructure, it assures that they will contribute in taking care of those facilities, observed an official.
Abdallah Murenzi, the Mayor of Nyanza District, claimed that 70% of the area was unused due to erosion, until LWH solved the issue.
Minister of Agriculture & Animal Resources, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, who accompanied Kalyalya urged all farmers in LWH Nyanza area to continue doing well and work hard to achieve more.
Dr. Kalibata also explained that the initiative was placed in Nyanza District because it’s one of the hilly districts that have the most poor families, a key reason they need more support to pull themselves from poverty.
In his testimony as a beneficiary, Festo Ruhahiro, a blind man working in nurseries of the project, says his welfare has improved significantly since he joined LWH.
“I used to stay home without doing anything, and LWH came and told me that I can get a job here. So I came and started working and I am improving my life and welfare,” pointed out the father of three.
“I managed to purchase a plot worth 100,000 RWF and am now striving to get means to build a decent house.”
An 89-year-old woman said that she managed to purchase 2 houses and goats thanks to LWH. Many more local residents told the visitors how LWH has helped them improve their skills in creating kitchen gardens and compost.
The World Bank Africa Group Executive Director, representing 22 African countries including Rwanda, was in Rwanda since Sunday in an official visit to exchange views with government and key stakeholders, as well as to tour projects that the World Bank is supporting in the country.
In the agriculture sector, World Bank has been involved most heavily in LWH-RSSP projects, which pursues activities including hillside irrigation, capacity development, land husbandry, poverty reduction, food security, and more.
World Bank has also had a hand in supporting land consolidation, and the Crop Intensification Program in order to achieve economies of scale.
Apart from covering land with terraces, needy people also get job opportunities while working in their own farmlands. At LWH Nyanza, age is no limiting factor; both the elderly and young join the project and have all developed a sense of saving.