Blog | 28 Feb, 2023

Meet Nyiransabimana Alice, AREECA project beneficiary from Nyagatare District

Nyiransabimana Alice, a farmer in her early 40s lives with her husband and four children in the Rwimiyaga sector in Nyagatare District. The family loves farming and taking care of their cattle.


Alice, who lost several harvests to climate change-related effects, is now a beneficiary of the Alliance for Restoration of Forest Landscapes and Ecosystems in Africa, commonly known as AREECA project since 2021.

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Photo: Nyiransabimana Alice is a beneficiary of AREECA project since 2021

Since 2021 Alice has been joined by hundreds of small holder farmers from Nyagatare District to plant agroforestry and fruit trees around the border of their lands to mitigate and adapt to the climate change.

IUCN AREECA projectPhoto: To promote agroforestry, trees were planted on farmland in collaboration with communities.

“As you see, there are many more trees in my farms compared to the last five years ago. We received Calliandra seedlings free of charge two years ago and many of us were not sure about the importance of the Calliandra, as we wanted massively grevillea.

Today we are happy to see our Calliandra trees growing very fast, and our cows are testing the leaves from them.” Said Alice while pruning the trees to feed her cow.

IUCN AREECA projectPhoto: Trees help Alice's family to restore degraded land and thrive during prolonged droughts

“AREECA project has truly changed our lives. Our mindset towards taking care of trees has changed because we know and have experienced the benefits of trees in our homesteads. Our roofs are no longer carried away by strong winds. The trees act as wind breakers,” Alice said.

Calliandra callothyrsus and grevillea remain one of the agroforestry species introduced in the Rwimiyaga sector of Nyagatare district.

During the tree planting season for 2020-2021, AREECA project campaigned to plant agroforestry trees in Gacundezi I and II in the gardens and on agricultural lands to improve food security.

“We were advised to plant trees, especially fruit trees and agroforestry trees. Trees are one of our greatest partners in the fight against the hot temperature in our region, provide us clear air, give us rain, fodder, and shelters.” Said Nzabandora Emmanuel, another beneficiary of the AREECA project.

IUCN AREECA projectPhoto: Nzabandora Emmanuel, another beneficiary of the AREECA project with his wife Beatrice

As part of the awareness, the local authority committed to sustain activities achieved but also appreciated the contribution of the AREECA project.

“We are very happy to have the AREECA project in Nyagatare District. The project has contributed to the efforts of combating desertification and climate change, but also improved agricultural productivity and consequently livelihoods.” Said Mbonigaba Jean, Forestry Officer at Nyagatare District adding that AREECA project helped the district to restore degraded forests and planted new trees.

IUCN AREECA projectPhoto: Mbonigaba Jean, Forestry Officer at Nyagatare District, Eastern Province of Rwanda

The AREECA project is on track to restore the ecological functionality and biological productivity of the landscapes of Kirehe and Nyagatare districts, enhancing its ability to meet multiple objectives such as biodiversity conservation, climate change resilience, and improved livelihoods.

The 4 years’ project is funded by the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

Since 2020, AREECA project has done various activities including distribution of 1000 improved cooking stoves to vulnerable citizens in Nyagatare and Kirehe Districts, over 900 hectares were planted agroforestry trees, over new 17ha new forests planted on, forests rehabilitation on 104ha, roadside trees planted on 10km, and 1500 fruit trees distributed in Nyagatare, whereas new forests cover 120ha, agroforestry covers 500ha, roadside trees cover 10km, and 1500 fruits trees distributed in Kirehe district. The project is ongoing and will end in 2024.

IUCN AREECA projectPhoto: Reforestation includes planting trees to regrow on land that had recently been covered with forest.

About AREECA project in Rwanda

In Rwanda, the AREECA programme is being implemented by International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in partnership Rwanda Forestry Authority, RWARRI, WRI, WB, AUDA-NEPAD, FAO and GIZ  and the project comes at a time when the country is celebrating the achievement of a 30.4% national forest cover and the self-reported restoration of over 700,000 ha of degraded lands in the previous decade.

IUCN AREECA projectPhoto: Reforestation in Nyagatare is the process of planting trees in a forest where the number of trees has been decreasing.

The programme builds on past initiatives, such as Investment Packages for Rwanda (IPR), to intensify and scale up restoration efforts in the country.

Targeting the restoration of 25,000 ha of degraded lands in the Kirehe and Nyagatare districts, the programme is putting up catalytic and supportive measures that impact the livelihoods of over 13,000 households and over 50,000 people. In a bid to reduce pressure on the forest, the programme is set to distribute 2,000 improved cooking stoves as the local authorities intensify FLR awareness.

IUCN AREECA projectPhoto: Agroforestry trees provide a potential restoration solution to land degradation in Eastern Province

As an incentive for restoration, the programme is setting up a Community Environmental Conservation Fund (CECF) that will popularize restoration among the target communities. The programme also is strengthening the existing Cross-Sectoral FLR Task Force platform to enhance institutional coordination and knowledge sharing.

About AREECA project in the news

IUCN AREECA projectPhoto: Murekatete Juliet, Vice Mayor of Social Affairs, Nyagatare District in interview with Radio Rwanda Journalist during ICS distribution in Rwimiyaga sector

Minister Steffi Lemke visited German funded FLR projects implemented by Government of Rwanda in partnership with IUCN

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Rwanda: AREECA project donates 500 improved cook stoves to Kirehe and Nyagatare districts as part of reducing deforestation rates

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More Environmentally Friendly Cookstoves donated to residents of Rwimiyaga Sector

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Minister Steffi Lemke extolled German funded FLR projects in Rwanda

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FLR partners join Rwanda in launching the Country’s 2022-2023 Tree Planting Season

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