Rwandan CSOs engage in Climate Resilient agriculture and sustainable energy initiatives (CRA project)

  1. INTRODUCTION

CCOAIB in partnership with OXFAM Germany, OXFAM UK/ Rwanda and DUTERIMBERE ONG have secured funds from the European Union to implement the project called “Rwandan CSOs engage in Climate Resilient agriculture and sustainable energy initiatives (CRA project)”. This is a joint project implemented by a consortium of 3 organizations: CCOAIB, OXFAM and DUTERIMBERE ONG, whereas CCOAIB is the coordinator. The duration of the project is 30months (from 15th October 2020 to 14th April 2023).

  • About the implementing organizations

This is a joint project implemented by two Rwandan organisations and an International Non-Government Organisation: Conseil de Concertation des Organisations d’Appui aux Initiatives de Base (CCOAIB) is the lead applicant. DUTERIMBERE ONG and Oxfam (Germany and Rwanda based offices) are the co-applicants.

CCOAIB is a consortium of 40 local organisations active in advocacy, policy engagement on citizens’ participation, service delivery in the agriculture sector, Climate Change (CC), and energy sectors.

DUTERIMBERE is a local organisation owned by 880 members who are committed to the promotion of women’s entrepreneurship through grassroot organisations to improve their living conditions especially for those with low income.

OXFAM is an international development organisation with expertise in sustainable agriculture approaches, influencing and advocacy for the poor.

 

  • About the project
Title of the project: Rwandan CSOs engage in Climate Resilient agriculture and sustainable energy initiatives (CRA project)
Location(s) of the project: Rwanda (Nyagatare, Kirehe, Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru districts)
Duration of the project: 30 months from 15th October 2020

1.2.1.: Sectors of interventions

The project focuses on the following two sectors:

(a) Agriculture: The sustained growth of the agricultural sector in Rwanda has been driven by important public investments in land use consolidation, irrigation, land improvement, soil and water conservation, facilitating access to inputs, increasing livestock herds and social capital-building through support to cooperative development. The agro-ecological approach is a low-cost investment in the beginning and seeks to transform food and agriculture systems, addressing the root causes of problems and providing holistic and long-term solutions based on co-creation of knowledge, sharing and innovation, including the combination of local, traditional, indigenous, and practical knowledge with multi-disciplinary science. High-external input, resource-intensive agricultural systems have contributed to deforestation, water scarcity, biodiversity loss, soil depletion and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The project will therefore pilot an innovative approach of strengthening existing agro-ecology farming practices in Rwanda while complementing them with non-existent ones to make these practices holistic and applicable in Rwanda.

(b) Energy: In Rwanda, energy sector plays a vital role in supporting socio-economic development. The analysis of supply and demand of energy in Rwanda indicates that today approximately 85% of primary energy still comes from biomass, in the form of wood that is used directly as a fuel or is converted into charcoal, together with smaller amounts of crop residues and peat. One of the long-term strategies of country is to reduce fuel wood consumption from 94% to 50% and one of the major contributing factors will be the installations of Biogas digesters in both residential homes as well as the institutions with large population of citizens like, schools, hospitals, prisons etc.

The project recognises that men, women, and young people are affected by climate change in different ways. Their varying gender and age-related roles within households and in society mean that environmental impacts affect them in different ways. As a result, men, women and young people are likely to have different priorities when it comes to responding to climate change. Women and young people in particular are key to long-term social and economic development; it’s imperative to capture their voices, priorities and knowledge for effective climate change responses. Their needs are often marginalised because of social and cultural factors that reinforce structural inequalities, and their effective participation in public or community engagements is limited, regardless of the successful policies in place. The project  focuses on community-based efforts that can be used by local government, community members, cooperatives, CSOs and private rural enterprises to identify gender-responsive and climate-specific priorities of women and young people, and how well those priorities are being met. The community based approach will enable spaces for women and young people to fully articulate their priorities to organisations responsible for policy, planning, budgeting and investments to drive socially gender transformative and effective climate responses.

1.2.2.Objectives of the project

The objectives of the project are as follows:

The overall objective of the project is to contribute to strengthening Rwandan CSOs to perform their roles as independent development actors working towards climate resilient, sustainable agriculture and energy sectors. The intervention logic is demonstrated by implementing two main outcomes

Outcome 1: Rwanda’s CSOs ensure that relevant policies and plans on climate change and climate resilience reflect small holder farmers’ needs, thereby fostering sustainable rural development and food security. The proposed interventions are based on existing policy framework and will focus on remaining adaptation needs, including vulnerability assessments for critical targeted sectors. Proposed activities will contribute to ensuring that a close linkage between existing policy framework at central and local levels (districts and sectors) and the challenges faced by smallholder farmers and other community members, CSOs and private companies in the areas of climate resilience in agriculture and energy sectors exist. The two outputs to achieve the outcome 1 are:

Output 1.1: Strengthening advocacy capacity for climate resilience, agro-ecological approaches that are relevant for smallholders (esp. women, youth, vulnerable groups) in Rwanda.This output will target activities which are pre-requisites for CSOs to becoming strong in advocating for climate change resilience.

Output 1.2: Rwandan CSOs engage with decision makers for climate resilient policies and programmes. This output will target directly advocacy activities for CSOs. Planned activities will raise the visibility of CSOs in the processes and platforms of policy formulation and change. In addition, the output will focus on supporting strong collaboration and regular interprojects between CSOs and policy makers (at local and central levels) for climate resilient agriculture and energy sectors

Outcome 2: At least 8,000 smallholder farmers’ households have improved their livelihoods and food security by using climate resilient and sustainable agriculture approaches and strategies. This outcome, contrary to the first one, will focus on benefitting smallholders’ farmers and other members of targeted communities who are already vulnerable to climate change or at risk to future effects of climate change. Under this outcome. the project will specifically target the most vulnerable groups who have less resources to mitigate and adapt to climate change. This outcome has the following three outputs:

Output 2.1: Rwandan CSOs spread implementation of climate resilient, low-carbon, agro-ecological methods and strategies to 8,000 small holder farmers in four districts for improved and sustainable agricultural productivity and livelihoods: This output will invest in activities which strengthens the linkage between CSOs and smallholder farmers so as to ensure the sustainability of project beyond its implementation period.

Output 2.2: Public awareness campaigns on climate change and its impacts on Rwanda’s agriculture and energy sectors.

Specifically, at the District level, the project will aim to increase public awareness on climate resilience and agro-ecological approaches and promote engagement in project activities through communication messages aimed specifically at farmers, CSOs, local authorities, rural private companies and other target groups.

Output 2.3: 20 local initiatives or SMEs that focus on low carbon, green-economy business ideas have been supported for job creation. The private sector has competencies which can make a unique contribution to adaptation, through innovative technology, design of resilient infrastructure, development and implementation of improved information systems and the management of major projects. There are future investment opportunities in adaptation in water resources, agriculture and environmental services.

  • Target groups and beneficiaries

The number of direct beneficiaries is expected to be 8,000 smallholder farmers and their households and communities, 40 CSOs, 100 decision makers at local levels, and 20 rural enterprises/SMEs. The number of indirect beneficiaries is expected to reach 32,000 people.

Target Group 1: Even though environmental protection is considered as a very important issue for Rwanda, local CSOs are not doing enough yet in this sector. There is rarely mention of biodiversity, desertification, deforestation and harm reduction and prevention in CSOs’ strategies and plans. CSOs are also absent in the arena of policy engagement and formulation for CC related policies and laws. 40 CSOs will be the main target of the project.

Target Group 2: Local leaders and decision makers benefit from proximity to the community which makes them the most accessible authority when disaster strikes and they possess the most up-to-date knowledge on the local environment and population. Rwanda has a current adaptation deficit in its national budget, and is not adequately prepared for existing climate risks. To plan robustly for adaptation to future climate change, it will be critical to take this deficit into consideration, along with projected socio-economic development and demographic change.

Target Group 3: Women, men, youth smallholder farmers and other vulnerable groups affected by negative effects of CC in targeted communities figure as a specific target group. The end aim of strengthening CSOs capacities in the areas of CC is so that in the end they would reach out to women and men small-holder’ farmers with necessary support to acquire climate smart agriculture practices and access to energy saving technologies.

Target Group 4: The business community needs to be our partner as we build resilience against and adapt to climate change. Yet to date, adaptation discussions inside and outside official climate negotiations have had surprisingly little business engagement. Adaptation planning and investments must include the private sector – and the sooner this happens, the better. Engaging the private sector is essential for multiple reasons. It can mobilize financial resources and technical capabilities, leverage the efforts of governments, engage civil society and community efforts, and develop innovative climate services and adaptation technologies. Private enterprises can be the primary contributors to causes of CC through their production/manufacturing processes and practices. The same private enterprises play an important role in facilitating rural economic development to respond to the growing impacts of CC on livelihoods. The project will target 20 rural enterprises/SMEs that have the capacity and the potential to limit their contribution to effects of CC while also contributing to create climate smart jobs for young people and women.

1.2.4: Geographical coverage

This project will be implemented in four districts (Nyagatare, Kirehe, Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru) which were selected because of their vulnerability to effects of climate change, levels of poverty, consortium’s pre-established collaboration with local leaders and knowledge of the terrain, and potential to raise smallholder farmers’ income levels while strengthening their resilience to effects of climate change

  1. OPPORTUNITIES OF THE PROJECT FOR STAKEHOLDERS
STAKEHOLDERS PROJECT’S OPPORTUNITIES
Government/Ministries and realted bodies in agriculture and energy sectors ü  Contributin to the Nationally Determined Contribution implementation

ü  Increase PPPs in climate change adaptation related initiatives for green job creation

ü  Spreading climate resilient policies and approaches to local communities

ü  Strengthening existing agro-ecology farming practices in Rwanda while complementing them with non-existent ones to make these practices holistic and applicable in Rwanda

ü  Policies analysis of national/regional climate change frameworks

ü  Research and dissemination on (i) climate resilient practices and (ii) agro-ecological practices

Districts ü  Conduct gap assessments of districts’ disaster risk reduction capacity, environmental protection coordinated responses and prioritisation of climate resilient activities.

ü  Supporting implementation of action plans from gap assessments, trainings for local leaders and technicians on climate resilience (innovations, new solutions to identified challenges, farmer field school, demo plots)

ü    Support establishment of districts’ guiding principles for implementation of climate resilient activities including following up with FONERWA and private companies involved in mining and construction about rehabilitation of extractive sites.

ü  Support districts to include climate change topics/discussions in dialogue platforms with citizens

Small holder farmers ü  Exposure visits to agro-ecological best practices’ models

ü   Learning experience on the use of pigs’ waste for manure and energy production

ü  Learning experience on the initiative of construction of community and households rain water tanks/ponds.

ü  Advocate for creation of guarantee/seed capital fund at microfinance institutions for smallholder farmers (farmers’ mobilisation, biogas, insurance on agriculture/livestock).

ü  Community campaigns on climate smart practices in agriculture and energy

ü  Dissemination of early warnings meteorology information and data to smallholder farmers and supporting the use of the information for disaster risk management (using phone as a communication mean)

ü  Radio and TV programmes on climate resilient quick wins in rural areas

ü  Technical support by 100 trained master farmers to adopt Agro ecological practrices on their farms

Youth and women ü  Learning experience opportunities for youth in enterprises involved in climate smart technologies (including TVET)

ü  Supporting women owned cooperatives to access gas cooking facilities for increased income

CSOs ü    Production of training and Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials on climate resilience

ü  Capacity needs assessments of CSOs and production of simplified guidelines on climate change and agro-ecological practices

ü    Capacity building of CSOs on agro-ecological best practices (including practical training approach, field-based)

ü  Engagements with decision makers based on research findings (eg. planning for climate change activities at district level, budgeting for climate change activities)

ü  ToT to training  smallholder farmers on climate resilience and agro-ecological approaches

ü  Support to CSOs to implement climate resilient and selected agro-ecological approaches

ü  Support CSOs to develop climate change action plans.

SMEs ü  Awareness raising with  SMEs/private companies to be involved in climate friendly initiatives (mining & construction companies for environmental protection)