WASHINGTON, October 2, 2023 — Communities living in the vicinity of Rwanda’s volcanoes will benefit from new support that will mitigate the risks of soil erosion, landslides, and flooding that regularly affect the agricultural land and water resources they depend on. The new Volcanoes Community Resilience Project (VCRP) will deploy $50 million in International Development Association* (IDA) financing to help the Government of Rwanda reduce flood risks, strengthen watershed management, and improve livelihoods. The project will be co-financed by a grant in the amount of US$12 million from the Global Partnership for Sustainable and Resilient Landscapes (PROGREEN) Multi Donor Trust Fund.
The project will adopt an integrated approach to address these risks by developing and implementing catchment management plans which are guided by science but tailored through bottom-up community involvement.
“By involving communities at grass-roots level, they will benefit both from employment, improved security and opportunities to participate in livelihood diversification activities,” said Sahr Kpundeh, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda. “The project will also seek to adopt nature-based solutions as a key component of flood mitigation and management, thereby shifting the conventional approach to flood management towards an integrated grey-and-green approach.”
The project’s targeted catchments are home to over 1.4 million people and approximately 223,000 households, all of whom will be direct beneficiaries of the project. VCRP areas include some of the most populated districts including Ngororero (with 30% of the project beneficiaries), Nyabihu, Muhanga, Musanze, and Gakenke. People will benefit from lower exposure to flood events, improved soil quality, and better water management. Some people will also benefit from employment opportunities related to the restoration activities.
Over the long term, the VCRP will serve to increase agricultural productivity, diversify livelihoods of communities, enhance biodiversity values and tourism revenues, as well as help mitigate and adapt to climate change.
From a conservation perspective, the project’s restoration actions in the Volcanoes National Park expansion zone will create additional habitat for one of only two remaining populations of the endangered mountain gorillas, while also seeking to enhance tourism opportunities and reduce human-wildlife conflict outside the park. Opportunities to restore and protect other key conservation areas will also be explored, with the intent to direct further financing to ecological restoration efforts through parallel financing from other institutions. Housing in the form of a model climate-resilient, smart green village will be provided to affected communities who will also benefit from investments in livelihood diversification and sustainable income generation initiatives.