Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

For Poor Households in Rwanda, One Cow Makes A Difference

This is the final in a four-part series on my visit to Heifer International projects in Gicumbi District in Rwanda. Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute Nourishing the Planet blog.

DSCN1075Leonard Birahira has been connected to Heifer International in Gicumbi District for the last seven years, but only recently as a beneficiary of their projects. He’s been using his carpentry skills to help build stalls for farmers to keep their animals, a requirement for all Heifer beneficiaries, and just last month received his own dairy cow as part of Heifer’s projects  in Rwanda. Dr. Dennis Karamuzi, the Director of Programs for Heifer Rwanda, told me that he’s looking forward to seeing this family in two years. Right now they live in a mud house, without electricity or running water, things the other Heifer beneficiaries we visited were able to get after they began raising cows and selling milk.

And Heifer’s work is now being recognized-and supported-by the Rwandan government. In 2008 the government instituted the One Cow Per Poor Household Program, which aims to give the 257,000 of the poorest households in the country training and support to raise milk for home consumption.  But Heifer, says, Dr. Karamuzi, is also building an exit strategy by connecting farmers to cooperatives, which can organize and train farmers themselves.

For more on Heifer International’s work in Rwanda, please see the following links: Rwanda Sustainable Dairy Enterprise Development Project and Miracle Cows in Rwanda.


  1. Really opened Moose eyes this holiday season. I admire all the work you’re doing. I have my own personal interest in Africa. If you’re ever crossing from Rwanda to Kenya, in the Thikka area, do visit the growing orphanage for young girls that Kenyan Children’s Centres has built in the last few years.

    I’m a director of the charity, and I’m sure they’d love to hear about your project and make introductions there.  

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