Empowering Communities Through Nature-Based Investments: The Success Story of Valens Mutagisha

In Rulindo district, Rwanda, a transformative initiative begins to germinate, enriching both the environment and the lives of local communities. Meet Valens Mutagisha, a beneficiary of the ARCOS interventions, whose journey relates the power of community-driven landscape restoration and sustainable development.

Valens, alongside 216,000 community members, has been actively engaged in ARCOS’s landscape restoration efforts. His story takes a remarkable turn with the introduction of the Umusave Fund, a Nature-Based Community Fund (NBCF) designed to support community investments in livelihood improvement and environmental sustainability.

Valens Mutagisha

With a loan of Rwf 500,000 from the Umusave Fund, Valens and his 20 Friends of Nature Association members embarked on a new venture: poultry farming.

“Thanks to our poultry farming business, myself and members of the Friends of Nature Association are now able to handle some of our household’s financial needs. It’s empowering to see the tangible impact of our collective efforts,” shares Valens, reflecting on the newfound economic stability within his community.

Reflecting on their journey, Valens highlights how ARCOS has been instrumental in realizing their dreams of entrepreneurship spirit and taking care of their farms together. “ARCOS helped us attain our dreams of owning a poultry farming business,” he shares, emphasizing the pivotal role of community collaboration in driving positive change.

The Umusave Fund represents more than just financial assistance; it symbolizes a commitment to sustainable development and community empowerment. By providing access to capital and fostering a culture of environmental responsibility, it equips communities like Valens’s with the tools to thrive in harmony with nature.

“We sell both chicken and eggs, and our aim is to increase production to satisfy the growing market demand. This venture not only sustains our livelihoods but also contributes to local economic growth,” adds Valens, underscoring the multifaceted benefits of their enterprise.

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