W4Virungas Project Kicks Off in Rwanda

Implementation of the W4V project continues to progress, initially launched and implemented in DRC and Uganda the project has finally kicked off in Rwanda too. Piloted in Bugeshi sector, Rubavu district the project is set to do integrated water resource management to reduce on the water run-off and flooding in Bugehsi sector. Bugeshi sector is challenged by heavy water run off/flooding that often causes soil erosion, low farm yields, loss and destruction of farms, property, livelihood and at times lives. The water also floods and pours into Kibumba area in DRC bordering Rwanda, causing conflict between the two neighboring communities.

According to the Community Engagement Officer, in-charge of this project, Sarah Kigongo through the PIP (Integrated farmer practice) approach the project will support/guide farmers to improve on their agricultural practices as a way of managing soil erosion. “Precisely this approach looks at proper agricultural practices” Sarah notes. Meetings have already been held with Bugeshi integrated water resource management stakeholders responsible for agricultural land use and planning. One hundred households have also been identified to receive rain water harvesting tanks. According to Sarah, these tanks will serve a double edge purpose; one providing/easing access of safe and clean water to the community and also taming/collecting water into tanks to reduce on the water run-off and flooding in Bugeshi. This is also gradually hoped to reduce the existing transboundary conflict between the two border communities. These actions will be followed by landscape restoration of the area too.

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Residents of Bughesi in a consultative meeting with the W4Virunga staff.

 Related activities are going on in Uganda, the procurement process of selecting a contractor to construct the 14-rain water harvesting tanks for the 10 villages in Nyarusiza and Muramba sub-counties around Mgahinga National Park in Kisoro district is yet to be finalized to allow for commencement of work by mid-September. An MoU between Kisoro district and the project has also been signed. Other on-going activities include source protection, reservoir tank maintenance and laying of water pipe lines “There’s finally steady progress, actual work is being done on the ground and hopefully by December this year the communities will have access to safe and clean water. W4V is a transboundary project designed as a golden solution to real needs in terms of natural resources conservation and water access for the benefit of communities living around the protected areas – Virunga National park in DRC, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The project is funded by the Kingdom of Netherlands and implemented by a consortium of MDF Global, International Gorilla Conservation Programme, Witteveen+Bos, and Wageningen University).

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