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Project Background


Green Gicumbi Project

Rwanda’s sensitivity to climate change is assessed as being high while its adaptive capacity is low. In recent years, Over the last decade, the frequency and severity of climate related impacts, particularly floods, droughts and landslides have significantly increased, resulting in loss of lives, crop and livestock losses, health risks, and damage to infrastructure and reduced land availability that impacts food security and export earnings.

The challenges to livelihoods have worsened as recent population growth and land scarcity have pushed people to settle in flood-prone areas and they have left devastating effects particularly on those with low adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change.

The high dependency on rainfed agriculture, the hilly topography, low access to climate information, and the depletion of forest stocks have been identified as some of the factors exacerbating Rwanda’s vulnerability to such hazards.

Data from the Rwanda Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Index Final Report national survey (2018) shows that in the Northern Province, Gicumbi District ranks highest in exposure to climate hazards and second-highest insensitivity to climate-related impact. The above two indicators particularly give Gicumbi the highest rank for the potential impact caused by climate hazards.

In 2019, the Government of Rwanda through the Ministry of Environment secured a funding of USD32 Million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to implement the project entitled “Strengthening climate resilience of rural communities in Northern Rwanda’’. The project is locally referred to as the ‘Green Gicumbi Project’. It is currently implemented by the National Fund for Environment-FONERWA while the Ministry of Environment is the Accredit Entity.

The 6-year project mainly focuses on reducing vulnerability to climate change by enhancing the adaptive capacity of the targeted groups in the project intervention area as well as reducing their exposure to climate risks.

The project intervention area covers 9 Sectors that fall within Muvumba B sub-catchment comprise around 252 villages and targeting 150,000 and 380,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries, respectively. The sectors covered by the project are Rubaya, Cyumba, Kaniga, Mukarange, Rushaki and Shangasha, Manyagiro, Byumba, and Bwisige.

The high dependency of the local population in the targeted areas on agriculture as a source of food and income makes them highly vulnerable to the degradation processes occurring within the catchment. Particularly at risk are tea and coffee farmers as both crops are highly sensitive to climate change and adverse losses in productions are already evident.

The estimated annual loss of production from climate variability at the Mulindi tea plantation (2300 ha) in Gicumbi over the last six years ranges from 2.0 to 3.3 million tonnes of green leaf per year, with an equivalent market loss of 2.5 to 4.1 million dollars.

The Green Gicumbi project has therefore broadly been tailored to address the specific issues related to watershed protection through land husbandry practices including agroforestry as a land and soil protection measure among other benefits.

Project Components

The project generally consists of a total of 133 activities. These activities are grouped into 27 sub-components under 4 main components that are:

Focus Areas

The broad areas through which Green Gicumbi Project has to date demonstrated results include:

  • Restored critical watershed functions that support the majority of Gicumbi District’s mostly rural population
  • Strengthened the climate resilience of those most vulnerable to climate change by investing in:
  • Climate resilient agriculture supported smallholder farmers and improved the management of forest resources using best practice.
  • Facilitating a shift away from subsistence farming of marginal lands into more productive and sustainable livelihoods.

Furthermore, the project has a high potential to cost effectively scale up, replicate and sustain the results of interventions beyond project completion through lessons learned, knowledge products that will increasingly inform communication packages for dissemination and knowledge sharing across multiple stakeholders. 


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