Nature-Based Community Funds Leading a Transformational Change in the Kagera Basin

In 2017, the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Network) launched a revolving fund system named ‘Nature Based Community Fund (NBCF)’ to support community investments in improving their livelihoods and environmental sustainability. This fund comes as a paramount initiative to assist communities to better understand and manage the limited resources sustainably. 

The NBCF was established as part of the project “Using Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus to Promote Climate Resilient Decisions and Model Actions in Selected Landscapes along the Kagera Basin” in Rwanda, with initial funding support from the Rwanda Environment and Climate Change Fund (FONERWA) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The project’s pilot operated in three districts namely Bugesera, Kirehe and Rutsiro and it ended in 2020. So, what has been the turn out of the NBCF? 

Even though the project came to its end in 2020, ARCOS is still working with communities engaged in NBCF. It is important to recall that these community funds are built based on the ARCOS Network’s BEST Approach to insure their efficiency. 

Bizaba Theogene, a farmer living in Bugesera, near the Akanyaru River, is a member of one of the 218 NBCFs working with ARCOS and he has already started enjoying fruits of being part of this initiative. “Since I enjoyed this revolving fund I have achieved a lot in terms of livelihoods improvement and environment protection,” Said Theogene. Through the NCBF, he also mentioned that he procured himself a piece of land and installed an irrigation system to irrigate his crops. 

Oswald Dufitumukiza, with a smile on his face, reiterated how NBCF came as a helping hand to their micro-project. He especially emphasized how the fund and trainings got from NBCF has helped him to go green in his everyday agricultural activities. For instance, his farm has been introduced to agroforestry and sustainable land management practices.

Oswald and Theogene all came with a similar crucial add up to their shared success stories regarding NBCF; transformation and inspiring others. Both Oswald and Theogene confirmed that social responsibility activities are one of the key indicators of how they are building inspirational and sustainable institutions (NBCFs). “This year we came up with two paramount ideas. We have assisted our Cell to pay health insurance fees for some of the most vulnerable persons of our community. In addition to that, we have maintained a road in one village of our community.” Said Theogene. 

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