Nyiransabimana Immaculee, a resident of Mukarange Sector in Kayonza District, helps women to turn their backyards into kitchen gardens. She has trained 760 women since 2008. Having a kitchen garden, popularly known as akarima k’igikoni, is in line with the Rwandan government’s campaign rolled out to fight malnutrition.
After completing her own training programs in Uganda and Kenya, courtesy of Women for Women International, Immaculee returned home to help other women. Ever since, she has worked in Nyamirama, Rwinkwavu and Kabarondo sectors as a trainer.
In addition, she partnered with KURA Project in Murama Sector to help women from a local association of coffee growers acquire practical skills needed to start and maintain kitchen gardens.
Apart from introducing simple but highly effective farming methods, Immaculee is teaching rural women to produce organic pesticides and manure. Her passion and dedication to the craft is second to none.
Many families in Kayonza area and beyond have benefitted from her work. More and more people are now eating better as a result of a series of training programs she has been conducting.
Kitchen gardens have proven to be even more useful during the ongoing restriction of movement put in place by the government in a bid to combat the spread of COVID- 19. Thanks to kitchen gardens, many rural women can work from home during this pandemic.
Uwamahoro Maea, from Murama Sector, is one of many beneficiaries of Immaculee’s training. She applauds her teacher’s efforts and recognizes the role of Women for Women International in enabling her to make a difference. "I grow carrots, onions, greens and cabbages in my backyard. I prepare healthy meals every day and send extra produce to the market. My life during these challenging days is a lot easier.
Kitchen gardens have become common household projects across the country. They are designed to optimize aeration, nutrients and limited watering while putting space constraints into consideration.
The author is a travel enthusiast whose mission to discover Rwanda’s tourist attractions is suspended until further notice. He is currently staying home for obvious reasons.