Misizi Marshland Project
The project in brief
Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA)
September 2018 - August 2021
The Government of Rwanda has made land available for agricultural projects benefiting the refugee and host community.
The Misizi marshland project contributes directly to the second GCR objective of building self-reliance of refugees, as 1,427 refugees and host community farmers have joined forces on the Misizi marshland to improve their livelihoods. This project helps refugees’ transition from life-saving to life-building activities alongside their host communities following a whole of society approach. Not only are they able to make a living and contribute to the local economy, they are also able to successfully integrate into their new community.
Misizi marshland project aims at improving income, food security and peaceful coexistence for 1,427 refugees from Mugombwa camp and host community households.
The key enabling factors for the successful implementation of Misizi marshland project include the following:
- Conducive legal framework: As a signatory to the 1951 refugee convention, the 1967 additional protocol and the 1969 Organization of African Unity Refugee convention, the Government of Rwanda (GoR) maintains a policy to protect and advance the rights of refugees as is enshrined in the Rwandan Refugee Law. This law provides refugees with the right to work, to freedom of movement and to access documentation such as refugee identity cards. Refugees can own property and can enter into contracts including land-leases. This enabled refugees to engage into agricultural activities under Misizi marshland project together with the host community farmers.
- CRRF: GoR adhered to Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), which provides for a more comprehensive and sustainable response that benefits both refugees and host communities. In this regard, the District of Gisagara availed 55 ha of Misizi marshland for a joint agricultural project benefiting both refugees and host community farmers. Refugees were able to access the land for farming activities and Government-subsidised agricultural inputs.
- Funding opportunity from IKEA F for a joint project benefiting both refugees and host communities
- Private sector engagement: Market linkage was created with Africa Improved Foods factory which is buying the agricultural production from the Misizi marshland project.
- Collaboration with other UN agencies: The good collaboration with WFP and FAO who have expertise in agricultural programming enabled the farmers to access the necessary technical support and financial resources under Misizi marshland project.
- Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA)
- GISAGARA District
- Refugees and host communities from Mugombwa and Muganza.
- Funded by the IKEA Foundation.
Challenges and how they were overcome
Plots allocation challenge: During the project design the initial number of local farmers to be considered in the project was 468 but later it was realised that the number of local farmers who were initially using the marshland was 1,127. So, we had to manage the increase in beneficiaries and ensure that all local farmers who were initially farming in the marshland are considered in the project to avoid conflicts.
The challenge was addressed with the support of the District and Local authorities. An agreement was reached about the number of refugees and host community farmers to be considered in the project without causing tension or conflict between refugees and local farmers.
Results of the Good Practice
- In Season A of 2019, the farmers produced 101 tons of maize and sold 37 tons to the Africa Improved Food company, while keeping the remaining maize production for household consumption. This enabled farmers to gain income and improved household food security.
- The joint cooperative framework enabled refugees to access Government programs such as subsidized agricultural inputs (i.e. seeds, fertilizers) and agricultural extension services while enhancing social cohesion with the host communities.
Misizi Marshland project model proved to be successful in enabling refugees and host communities to work together for improved income, food security and peaceful coexistence. Therefore, the success of Misizi project model served as an advocacy tool which was used to engage other refugee hosting Districts to avail arable land for agriculture project, benefiting both refugees and host communities. As a result, about 167.8 Ha of land was availed from three refugee-hosting Districts (Nyamagabe, Gatsibo and Karongi) for replication of Misizi marshland project model in 2020.
Ingabire Veneranda, SPIU Coordinator, Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA)
Arifur Rahman, Livelihoods and Economic Inclusion Officer, UNHCR