Study on Socio-economic baseline survey of displaced in Gishwati Natural forest


Back ground of the project

Environment protection and management rank among the main pillars of vision 2020.  By 2020, the Government intends to have built a nation, where pressure on natural resources mainly lands, water, biomass; biodiversity will have reasonably been decreased and the pollution process and environmental degradation reversed. The management and protection of these resources and environment are more rational and strictly under control in order to preserve and conserve for the future generations a basic heritage which is likely to ensure sustainable development. Therefore, with regard to  and environment protection and management, the Government of the Republic of Rwanda has set a mission of decreasing the percentage of households involved in direct exploitation of primary agriculture from 90% to 50%; setting up efficient and updated regulations, which are appropriate for sustainable protection and management of natural resources and environment; decreasing within the national energy assessment rates of diseases related to environmental degradation and firewood from 60% and 94% to 50%, respectively (Environmental profile of Rwanda, 2006).   

In order to solve this environmental pressure, the GWLM project, identified, defined and materialized three land use systems: (1) Crop land; (2) Range land; (3) Forest land. The forest land was then gazetted as public domain, and consequently, a certain number of households or land exploiters were requested to leave that particular area. The affected households were resettled in different resettlement sites of Nyabihu, Rubavu and Rutsiro districts, and compensated with agriculture land with average at 0.5 Ha far away from the previous size of their lands. Somehow, the affected households were left without any potential economic activity.

The following study is organized in two major parts. The first part is the general introduction that provides this background, the problem statement, the aim and the rationale of the study, the description of the research methodology in terms of data collection and sample design. The second part depicts the description of key results from the public consultation and the household survey. The report is ended with some conclusions and recommendations.


Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources MINAGRI, Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC), Ministry of Natural Resources (MINERENA). united nations development program, (UNDP).


Timeline of the project: This project was implemented in 2012.


This project will cover Bugesera District (Ngeruka sector). The project will be implemented on 34 Ha and support more than 380 smallholder farmers grouped into 4 cooperatives (KOANGER, KOJYAMUNGE, KOTEMUNGE and KOPABINGE) located in Ngeruka Sector, Bugesera District.

Achievements/Objective What does the project intend to accomplish

The overall objective of this study was to assess community’s perceptions regarding Gishwati rehabilitation, looking at their current socio-economic conditions with focus to resettled people from Gishwati forest. These people are mostly living in 3 districts neighboring Gishwati forest namely Nyabihu, Rubavu and Rutsiro. The intention was to gain their perceptions on the challenges they are currently facing as results of being resettled as well as their proposed exit options. To validate the objectives of this study, data was collected from both public consultations in the form of focus group discussions and individual survey. Key informants, including local authorities, were also consulted to get more clarifications on certain aspects as regards to the purpose of the study. Major challenges and proposed solutions per site where these people were resettled are documented in this report. In addition, findings from household survey are also documented in this report. Some of key challenges identified include and not limited to the followings: 

Main Activities

Create awareness of farmers and farmers’ cooperatives on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation by Establishing Early Warning and Disaster Preparedness Systems and Support for Integrated Watershed Management;

Establishment of Agroforestry species and fodder for livestock feeds, erosion control, and soil fertility;Horticulture species for nutrition improvement and income generation:

Tarmarillo and Avocadoes.Forestry species to be planted are Syzigium parvifolium, Polysias fulva, Dombeya gotzenii and Arundinaria alpine.

Horticulture and agroforestry intervention on the rate of 2/3 and 1/3, respectively;

The total surface to be used for Horticulture and agroforestery is 240 ha; and the total area of Graded terraces is 90 ha;

The Population was trained on nursery establishment, grafting, and cultivation techniques of horriticulture and agroforestery trees as a climate change mitigation and adaptation;

The total area of Forest Rehabilitation is 120 ha; Population sensitized to eat fruits for nutrition improvement.


Challenges and Recommendation


Soil infertility, no access to drinking water / rainwater harvested from roof is used as source of water by   sharing 35 tanks /105 houses; alternatively, dirty   stream in the valley is also used as source, no final land titling was provided. This restrains and has implication on loan application from Micro-finances or SACCO. Limited job opportunities. For instance, most of the youth dropped their schools at secondary level and become cattle keeper with a payment of about one cow per year (at the equivalence of 60,000 Rwfr. Lack of access to market for milk production milk whereby milk is supplied at 7 km from the villages at low price of 80 Rwfr/L.

There is an urgent need to support and improve livelihoods of reallocated Rwandan from Gishwati area especially during the transition period (before getting a job or any other place for cultivation). The government or other agencies/NGO in collaboration of the study population can take the lead to handle identified challenges in light of the proposed solutions.


Given that the resettled populations from Gishwati do not have enough land for cultivation, there is a need to create off farm activities or to look for other alternatives such arts, small agri-business activities and animal husbandry projects which could support their low income got from agriculture. This is likely to improve their household income and be able to have access to the market and improve their livelihood.


Expected project outcome 


District’s Joint Action Development Forum (JADF) should own and focus on recommended projects, Infrastructure issue (road and electricity) was raised by participants as one of the important challenges that was not revealed by the study done and this has implication on market accessibility and other accessibilities therefore there is a need of addressing this issue,APEFA should collaborate with districts /sector authorities for the way forwards in providing some of the possible solutions.,To ensure the sustainability of constructed houses for resettled population of kitchen and toilette are needed.  The recommended projects should be submitted to different development partners for their consideration.