Exploring the success and challenges of the Girinka1 programme and the need for social work involvement: Southern Province, Rwanda
This article discusses an indigenous approach labelled „girinka programme‟ designed for reducing poverty and fighting against child malnutrition. The approach consists of providing a milk cow to poor households in order to ensure milk supply to children. The issued milk cows are not only for milk consumption but also for enabling beneficiaries to get out of poverty through selling surplus milk and using manure to increase land fertility for agricultural production. The objectives of this article is to understand how girinka programme works, highlighting its success in empowering poor households and examining the challenges and obstructions it faces, and eventually put emphasis on the role of social work in coping with them. In addition to the 21 individual interviews with practitioners in Huye district, 18 more interviews with girinka programme beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries were conducted in both Huye and Gisagara districts, and during June-July 2016 annual workshop on social work in Rwanda held in Huye, a group discussion with 7 advisory committee members was also conducted. Though this programme was designed to decrease poverty and fight against malnutrition, challenges and obstructions such as unaffordable preconditions, insufficient training in animal husbandry and cooperative management, misappropriation of milk cows, cases of bribery, and poor follow up were observed. The article recommends the use of not only veterinary and agricultural technicians but also social work practitioners in addressing these challenges and obstructions to the success of girinka programme. The role of social work practitioners along with local public staff in charge of social services would for instance be that of using „strengths perspective‟ to facilitate beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries of the programme on the waiting list to find alternative solutions to their problems and build up their self-sufficiency through empowerment approach.
Keywords: Indigenous Empowerment, Girinka programme, Poor Household, Huye, Gisagara, Rwanda