The Gishwati ecosystems of the Nile-Congo crest watersheds in North-Western Rwanda are increasingly vulnerable. In 2007, heavy flooding occurred, taking the lives of dozens of people and displacing hundreds of families from Gishwati Forest to Nyabihu District. Climate change, overpopulation and inadequate disaster preparedness compound the risk of future floods and landslides, putting the lives of the 280,210 inhabitants of the district in peril.
The project aims to strengthen national and district capacities to deliver a functional early warning and disaster preparedness system that would allow for early warning of vulnerable populations in the Gishwati ecosystem. The project plans to building capacities for risk responsive planning at district and local levels and to incorporate climate change risks into district development planning of four districts covering Gishwati forest area.
Visit the UNDP Rwanda website for more information on Transforming Nyabihu District.
The project will promote and engage in ecosystem rehabilitation - designed in such a way to increase the resilience of ecosystems to intense flooding - as a critical part of the management of disaster risk. It will also develop risk maps, land-use plans and settlement plans that focus on increasing ecosystem resilience to climatic shocks - working to combat the adverse effects of floods and droughts reduced in the Nile-Congo crest watersheds (Nyabarongo and Sebeya rivers) and Gishwati ecosystem. Lastly, the project will strengthen the national information base on climate change and adaptation through dedicated communication, awareness and training activities and the documentation and sharing of lessons learned.
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The programme "Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change by Establishing Early Warning and Disaster Preparedness Systems and Support for Integrated Watershed Management in Flood Prone Areas" aims to reduce the vulnerability of the Gishwati ecosystems and its associated Nile-Congo crest watersheds, and the people that derive their livelihoods from it, to increase floods and droughts due to climate change. To achieve this objective, the project will support the local government and local communities in identifying land uses and rehabilitation measures for the Gishwati ecosystem that will allow farmers to derive livehood benefits from it.
More specifically, the interventions will consist of (i) strengthening national and district capacities to deliver a functional early warning and disaster preparedness system that would allow for early warning of vulnerable populations in the Gishwati ecosystem particularly, but not only, in terms of flooding, and also to deliver support to develop agricultural planning at the household level (ii) building capacities for risk responsive planning at district and local levels and support implementation of such plans; (iii) ecosystem rehabilitation as a critical part of the management of disaster risk, as well as the development of risk maps, land-use and settlement plans, and the application of adaptive measures and (iv) expected strengthening of the national information base on climate change and adaptation through dedicated communication, awareness and training activities and the documentation and sharing of lessons learned from the intervention.
The outcome contributes to the improvement of land use practices currently applied by the local farmers in the area. There are more than 1000 households deriving their livelihoods from farming and agricultural practices in the identified project area.
Land rehabilitation and improved land-use practices will be implemented in 1000 ha in Bigogwe, Karago and Rambura.
Key Results and Outputs
Component 1: Early Warning System for climate change risks in Gishwati Ecosystem developed.
Component 2: Climate change risks incorporated into Nyabihu district development planning.
Outcome 3: The adverse effects of floods and droughts reduced in the Nile-Congo crest watersheds (Nyabarongo and Sebeya rivers) and Gishwati ecosystem.
Land-use management practices in Gishwati pilot areas are adjusted for anticipated climate change risks(Output 3.1). A systematic assessment of climate change impacts and implications for land use options (including resettlement) undertaken in Gishwati (Output 3.2). Capacity development programme for communities and Gishwati-based practitioners formulated and implemented (Output 3.3).
Componet 4: Knowledge of good practices to reduce vulnerability to climate change based on the Gishwati pilot improved.
Reports and Publications
As part of a series of workshops conducted to gather information on traditional practices of combating climate change effects, this video has been created by the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) to provide information on the use of organic fertilizers in Rwanda. The video focuses on a few farmers in the country who have adopted the use of organic fertilizers and witnessed improved crop production.
This video provides a brief description on the traditional form of the meteorological system called Amavubiro. This system has been in use in Rwanda for many decades and has helped the pastoral communities predict rainfall patterns in the area.