Leaving so soon?!

July 22, 2011 – Today was supposes to be my returning day to Canada!! Due to many delays that I faced early on (i.e., research approvals from the local and upper government), I still have much work to take care before I return to Ottawa. Well, technically speaking, I can consider “mission accomplished” at this point too: I finished my fieldwork and got the data that I need, so thank you, bye bye! BUT, this would be selfish as a researcher to just “extract” data from the study area and the people without adequately sharing or disseminating (although preliminary at this point) the findings of the research. That is why I decided to extend two more weeks to at least finish the data entry and do a preliminary analysis of the data here in Rwanda. The findings will be limited to descriptive statistics at this moment, but it can still illustrate the baseline information of the Girinka beneficiaries. Their socio-economic conditions (family size, head of the household’s education, employment information, and the number of dependents, and household assets compositions) and accessibility to drinking water, energy sources, and markets. This information will give a good snapshot of the current livelihood conditions of the beneficiaries, and in future, our work can serve as a baseline for other (and further) studies.

In particular, this research probed the usage of manure as organic fertiliser, amongst the cow beneficiaries. This study was interested to find out the current level of manure preparation and application knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAPs) of the farmers. By understanding their perceptions of benefits and challenges of using manure, we can better design and improve the support programmes such as farmer training on soil fertilisation and organic manure management. If properly managed and applied, this can lead to increased crop production which will ultimately lead to better food security and healthier households (both physically and financially).

Also, I have to meet other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) who are actively giving out cows as part of their poverty reduction strategy. The big international NGOs like Heifer International and Send A Cow have been operating in Rwanda since early 2000. Their primary mission is – yes you guessed it right – give a cow (heifer) to resource-poor farmers in the developing countries. I have much to hear and learn from their experiences. In fact, I met the country director of Send A Cow – Rwanda on Monday and had a very insightful discussion about their programme. More on this later.

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