In a village in Nyamagabe, Rwanda, the community have built a water pond that serves a communal garden now benefitting twenty five families.
While Rwanda benefits from two rainy seasons, because of its location in the equatorial region, climate change has had a big impact. Rainfall has become more erratic and the rainy seasons are shorter. Water harvesting schemes like these help maximise the use of the water that is available.
Simon Mutangana is the Chairman of the Co-op that built the pond, with the support of Trócaire’s partner, the local Rwandan charity UNICOOPAGI. He says, 'though we still have two rainy seasons, we used to have a dry season of two to three months, now it can be up to five or six. So that is a big change. We are seriously experiencing climate change. But with the water pond, we don’t have a problem in the dry season. We have vegetables. The trenches catch the rainwater which enters the pond and there is a pipe connected from the water pond to a treadle pump to get the water to the crops. We rotate the crops. We are growing carrots now, maybe after that we might grow cabbages or onions.
Children are much healthier in the community now. We had a problem with women breastfeeding, there was a problem with some of them suffering from malnutrition but the vegetables have fixed that.'
'We have got a lot of support from UNICOOPAGI and TROCAIRE. Not just this but also the seed bank where we keep the seeds. We are fighting climate change and soil erosion. Being part of a Co-Op helps us get our crops to market. We get better prices.'
The water pond fills 250 Cubic Metres to serve their communal garden. Approximately 40 percent of the vegetables are eaten and 60 percent are sold. A lot of the income from vegetable sales goes back into investment in seeds and fertiliser.
The Cooperative is called Turengere Ibidukikige which means Let’s protect the environment in Kinyarwanda.