One Cow per Poor Family Pro-gram “GIRINKA”

Girinka program (One cow per poor Family) was inspired by the Rwandan culture and initiated by His Excellency the President of the Republic in 2006. The cabinet meeting of 12/04/2006 approved the program as one of the 2020 vision, EDPRS and IDP implementation measures. This program aims at enabling every poor household to own and manage an improved dairy cow which would help the family to better their livelihood through increased milk and meat production and to improve soil fertility of their land for their crops using the available manure. This will not only improve the nutrition, but also increase the earnings of beneficiaries from milk, milk products, meat and sale of manure.

This program is implemented in two ways :

(i) Girinka ingabirano (donation): a poor family receives a cow free of charge. When the cow calves, the calf is given to the neighbour who keeps it and gives the next calf to the next neighbour and so on. This procedure is called kuziturirana (credit revolving scheme).

(ii) loan (Girinka inguzanyo): an average family gets a bank loan to buy a cow. It is the responsibility of the average family, to be able to comply with the criteria necessary to receive the cow. For example: being able to construct a cow shed (Kraal), the field planted with different pasture species for nutrition purpose, etc.

Girinka program was a success and other related initiatives have followed. For instance, in Southern Province, Kamonyi District initiated inka ya akaguru: process of producing many cows in the community whereby the first owner remains with the calf and the next beneficiary takes the mother and so on. This is much faster than kuziturirana mentioned earlier because there is a possibility of getting a new calf every year to the benefit of different households. Another initiative is Kuragiza : a cattle owner gives a cow to his neighbour who keeps it for him and when it calves twice the owner gives one calf to the neighbour as recognition for his work to care for his cow. Elsewhere, well-off cattle keepers give cows to poor neighbours to enable them to own cows for milk, but also to benefit from manure.

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