Erosion in the cassava plantation in Nyamugali Sector , KIREHE District

Smallholder Farmers become Climate Resilient and Gender Sensitive thanks to GALS Approach

Erosion in the cassava plantation in Nyamugali Sector , KIREHE District

Climate Change impacts on agriculture and livelihood in KIREHE District

Agriculture in KIREHE District is strongly dependent on the seasonal climatic changes. The main hazard which affects agriculture is long lasting drought followed by heavy rain mixed with strong wind and hail. During drought period the majority of crops are damaged by the sun which dries up the soil, livestock starts to die because of lack of grass while during the rainy season this district faces heavy rain which causes landslides and erosions, as well as strong hail which harms different crops especially banana and cassava plants. All these changes affect at high level the farmers’ livelihood (low income & poverty, food insecurity, intra and interfamilial conflicts, family segmentation, school leaving for children, unintended & teen pregnancies etc.)

The level of adaptation and mitigation in KIREHE District households is still weak because of lack of collaboration between women and men in decision making and planning to cope with this challenge in particular and for the development of the family in general. The lack of collaboration is many ways a result of conflicts between men and women based on absence of common understanding on natural resource management in households. Socially constructed gender roles and relations influence women’s and men’s access to assets and the benefits obtained from assets. Gender based inequalities often result in women’s and girls’ limited access to assets, which generates implications of natural resource management conservation. Thus, common understanding on Natural Resources Management in Household is of paramount important to prevent gender violence in a household and to achieve household development (Burton et al. 2003). Gender norms also constrain women’s ability to travel and access information. As a result, many women are less likely to have access to knowledge about climate change impacts and resilient livelihood options.

SAFE’s contribution to build the common understanding on natural resources management and climate change resilience in households

Under RWEE ASAP 2 project fund implemented by many international organization as UN WOMEN, PAM, FAO and IFAD, SAFE is using Gender Action Learning System (GALS) in KIREHE District to build common understanding of natural resources management at both the community and household level under IFAD fund. To increase gender equality and women’s voice, SAFE formed community groups that were women-centered, and provided to them training in gender equality by using the following GALS Methodology Tools (The road vision journey, the gender balance tree, the social empowerment map, the multilane highway, Challenge action tree, and diamond dream).

Gender Balance Tree

Among those tools, the gender balance tree is a tool which helped SAFE to explain for women and men the importance of gender equality to community resilience, and to encourage men and women to participate equally. SAFE’s trainings support women and young people to play a central role in the community-led groups, which transform a household and community members to learn about and practice risk reduction techniques

According to different testimonies from beneficiaries of the project, couples thank GALS because it helped them to change their lives. Wives and husbands in conflicts started to collaborate, and take decisions together in all projects they plan for their households. 

"Woman is no longer work alone in agriculture field, and now our agriculture production is increased; the money from production is used to renew and extend our house, we are living in harmony and not fighting

Women and men agreed to practice together on measures of climate change issues in order to increase production: respecting agriculture season, fields with anti-erosive technics, using good quality and quantity of manure, plant good seeds well selected, cultivate at time as well as planting drought tolerant crops.

A couple testifying
SASSO chickens with eggs purpose in Nyamugali Sector

Collective poultry schemes

Strengthening women’s economic empowerment in KIREHE District

Way of strengthening women’s economic empowerment in KIREHE District

SAFE supports rural vulnerable women headed households in KIREHE District to increase income and secure their livelihoods through smallholder production of chickens. In its experience, SAFE has been working impressively in empowering rural women in socio-economic arena in different districts of Rwanda. In 2018, SAFE has received a grant from Rwanda Government Board (RGB) in cooperation with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to extend its project of enhancing rural women groups in KIREHE by increasing their income opportunities along the poultry business. This project targets 300 women headed households in Nyarubuye, Nyamugali, Kigina, Kirehe, Gatore and Gahara Sectors who received 1,225 chickens.

In spite of chickens provided, beneficiaries have also received trainings on best chicken rearing and health care practices like adopting better housing, vaccination, and feeding, there has been rehabilitation of 10 existing poultry sheds and construction of new ones. SAFE has also provided 4,186kg of poultry feeds to support feeding tasks for first days.

Strengthening women’s economic empowerment
SASSO chickens with eggs purpose in Nyamugali Sector

Chickens provided are SASSO species dual purpose, (i.e. meat and egg production) that are resistant to climate change and can adapt to locally manufactured feed. The SASSO chickens grow faster, with delicious and tender meat and strong disease resistance. SASSO chickens are free-range, affordable, easy to raise which proves to be a profitable livelihood venture. They graze around the field, or backyard running around, and eating grass, corn, leaves and other natural ingredients. Therefore, these species will not be a difficult for rural poor women to grow them

roups which received chickens in first times have started to produce and sell eggs at a good price. They invest money in poultry feeding and they remain with money for savings. The poultry business for these women will not only increase their income but it will also engage them in activities that increase their agency (decision making at household level), reducing their time poverty (chicken breeds that requires little time for husbandry). Thus, it will be an opportune space for them to put into action what they have learnt from Gender Action Learning System (GALS) methodology which has been rolled out to them.

The poultry business for these women
improve their economic

Gender Action Learning System

During the training, the participants are taught the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) approach and how they can apply it in their daily life to bring changes in their homes and improve their economic wealthy.
The methodology was developed under Oxfam´s Women Empowerment, Mainstreaming Network (WEMAN) program in 2008, using drawings to include both people with little or no education


Second Expert Roundtable on certification of horticulture planting materials

In partnership with MINAGRI and NAEB, RAB, RALIS and RSB, SAFE convened a second expert roundtable with a theme “Making Certification Work for Producers of Horticultural Planting Materials” that took place on Friday 14th October 2016 at UMUBANO Hotel.

This Roundtable followed the first expert roundtable held in December 2015 which recommended among others, to explore convening high level discussions around certification process of planting material producers in Rwandan Horticulture sector, in relation to the socio economic value of horticulture and the barriers small farmers are facing to access to clean, healthy, vigorous, disease and climate resistant planting materials, foundations for the high productivity and quality expected by and from producers.

The purpose of this roundtable was to build awareness on potentials for development and dissemination of inspection guidelines and certification standards of horticultural planting materials produced by smallholder farmers.

Horticulture is one of the key champions of export in the region and beyond the region. Although their opportunities of exporting high value horticulture products, farmers do still have challenges to obtain certified planting materials. This affects not only low production for expert but also both conventional and organic horticultural crops remains low.

Participants have discussed on various issues faced by these propagators: lack of improved cultivars, little knowledge on good and sustainable cultural practices limited availability of clean planting material, and came with tangible solutions in awareness of law and procedures in certification but also in the development of the sector.

Participants have also shown commitments in networking for promotion of certification of horticultural planting materials, distribution of horticultural planting materials and also advocacy, training and support them on adopting standards to get certification. SAFE, RSB, RALIS, and MINAGRI/RAB will continue working together to raise awareness on potentials for development and dissemination of inspection guidelines and certification standards of horticultural planting materials produced by smallholder farmers.


SAFE provided Chickens to 200 Women of Kirehe District to accelerate their Poultry Enterprises

In partnership with IFAD, SAFE (Sustainaible Agriculture for Food Security Economic and development) has implemented the project entitled “Accelerating progress towards economic empowerment of rural women in Rwanda” within which it has empowered 200 vulnerable household headed women with poultry businesses (known as Tunga Utunganirwe)


1st activity: Training on poultry rearing management outcomes.

Beneficiaries must be aware to basic consideration before starting poultry rearing and basics to selection suitable location of henhouses.

  • Beneficiaries must know Poultry house design, importance of chicken house, different equipment and its importance in daily poultry management.
  • Beneficiaries were trained on chicken feeding importance and requirement in mixing chicken feeds by using locally available raw materials.
  • Beneficiaries were trained on proper feeding and identification of disease presence in poultry industry, prevention and routine vaccination protocol.
  • Chicken rearing as business.

Lesson learnt

  • Beneficiaries are aware to poultry rearing basic requirement before starting poultry enterprise.
  • They have understood importance of poultry houses and equipment.
  • They know common diseases of poultry, its prevention and routine vaccination control.
  • Beneficiaries know how to adopt laying hens as a common business.

2nd Activity: Support on construction of ten henhouses: beneficiaries show ownership by helping builders in providing water and bricks

SAFE provided supporting materials to construct their chicken house such as Iron sheets, Nails and cement. Each group was assigned with a builder while beneficiaries gave a hand by collecting materials such as bricks, water, etc.

3rd Activity: Chicken delivery to 200 vulnerable women aggregated into 10 groups

To empower rural women in terms of economy, SAFE provided 600 laying hens with starting feed to 200 vulnerable women headed household gathered into ten groups located in six sectors (Kigina, Kirehe, Kigarama, Gahara, Nyarubuye, Nyamugali) of KIREHE District.


SAFE has constructed a chicken feed processing unit and installed a milling machine which has the capacity to produce 5 tons of chicken feed /day. This will facilitate beneficiaries to access easily chicken food


SAFE is an exciting organisation, established as a multisectorial think tank which has a vision to change lives through inclusive growth and sustainable development.

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