Building capacity for sustainable land use and management in Rwanda

What the project is about

 Earning an income and protecting livelihoods: UNDP has supported 1200 households through radical terraces construction

Rwanda is a small mountainous country with the highest rural population density in Africa, largely on steep mountainous terrain on old leached infertile soils. This has led to declining agricultural yields and increasing levels of land degradation as rural farmers cultivate ever more marginal lands. An initial scoping exercise showed that the key issue within the land degradation scenario was poor cultivation practice leading to increasing and severe erosion of soil and consequent sedimentation of watercourses, loss of soil fertility and overall loss of ecosystem productivity and health.

Rwanda is a focal country within the TerrAfrica Programme on Land Degradation. The World Bank and other agencies within the partnership address broader mainstreaming issues, and the Bank leads the national Country Specific Investment Framework (CSIF) or Country Strategic Investment Process, This Medium Sized Project fills one specific gap in Rwandan Sustainable Land Management (SLM), and addresses the root-causes and barriers associated with land degradation from poor cultivation in four districts in the mountain agro-ecological zone.

The government has invested heavily in rural reform since the genocide, with massive decentralisation which greatly empowers Secteurs within Districts. New laws provide for Sustainable Land Management. However, the breakdown in rural services post-genocide, coupled with re-structuring, has led to a loss of capacity in the extension services to provide Sustainable Land Management Models and to enforce new laws and directives. Small scale farmers with tiny parcels of land have not adopted past topdown terracing prescriptions – seeing no benefit compared to costs. The main barrier remains agriculture extension’s inability to offer acceptable soil conservation models to rural people.

This project proposes four outcomes linked to the Least Developed Counties - Small Islands Developing States (LDC – SIDS) Portfolio Sustainable Land Management Programme. The first outcome is the analysis and preparation of an acceptable set of intervention techniques, which are turned into field training modules, for new extension agents, within participatory demonstration training programmes. This is coupled with household socioeconomic assessments of costs and benefits.

Country eligibility

Rwanda ratified the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification on
22/10/1998 and is eligible for funding under paragraph 9 (b) of the GEF Instrument

Contribution of key development indicators of the business plan

Four Districts (out of 30 in Rwanda) with a set of demonstrations for Soil Conservation mechanisms to reduce land degradation in steep cultivated hillsides, leading to > 20,000 ha of land brought under sustainable land management within five years.

Who finances it

Donor Contribution amount
GEF USD  600,000
PDF A USD    12,500
UNDP USD  300,000
ICRAF USD  397,000
GoV USD  265,000


Year Amount
2008 USD 154,771.76
2009 USD 539,750
2010 USD 209,947.48
2011 USD 140,971.01

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Rwanda 
Go to UNDP Global