The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, today gifted 200 cows to villagers who do not yet own a cow, under the Rwandan Government’s Girinka Programme. The function to mark the handing over of cows was held at Rweru Model Village, in the presence of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister appreciated the Girinka Programme, and President Paul Kagame’s initiative in this regard.
He said people in India too would be pleasantly surprised to see the cow being given such importance as a means of economic empowerment in villages, in faraway Rwanda. He spoke of the similarity in rural life in the two countries. He said that the Girinka Programme will help transform villages in Rwanda.
The word Girinka can be translated as ‘may you have a cow’ and describes a centuries-old cultural practice in Rwanda whereby a cow was given by one person to another, as a sign of respect and gratitude.
Girinka was initiated by President Paul Kagame in response to the alarmingly high rate of childhood malnutrition and as a way to accelerate poverty reduction and integrate livestock and crop farming.
The program is based on the premise that providing a dairy cow to poor Girinka Programme transforms livelihoods, reconciles communities improving agricultural productivity through the use of manure as fertilizers which would lead to improving soil quality and reducing erosion through the planting of grasses and trees.
Since its introduction in 2006 hundreds of thousands have received cows through the Girinka program. By June 2016, a total of 248,566 cows had been distributed to poor households.
Photo courtesy: Press Information Bureau
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