Rubavu, 3 March 2011

President Paul Kagame thanked the people who have made the ‘One Cow per Poor Family’ programme a success at an event in Rubavu to mark its fifth anniversary. Guests at the event pledged 632 cows and enough money to buy a further 1500.

Through the initiative, known as Girinka Munyarwanda, communities nominate needy families to receive a pregnant cow to improve their nutrition and provide manure to increase yields in their small farms. They are given the cow with the understanding that they pass on the calf to the next family on the list.

President Kagame told the guests, who included ordinary Rwandans, the police, army, businesses and development partners that he greatly valued their contributions;

“In my visits around Rwanda, I have seen for myself how Girinka has transformed the lives of poor people. Many have told me that this is the first time they’ve ever owned anything, the first time they’ve ever earned anything. Now their families are better fed and they are earning money for the first time. This is a story I hear everywhere and I thank you for your part in that.”

Many of those recognised at the event were inspired to get involved after seeing the difference the programme makes to the lives of the families in their own communities.

Since President Kagame established the programme in 2006, 106,000 families have received cows. 75,000 of those have been donated by government and development partners, the rest were calves that were passed on or from traditional Rwandan custom of donating cows as gifts.