Vi Agroforestry phases out of Rwanda

Maesopsis Eminii a great agroforestry tree!

The Vi Agroforestry Board of Directors have decided to phase out the organisation’s operations in Rwanda. The decision is a consequence of reduced revenues and the need to strengthen operations in East Africa.

“We are proud of the work we have done in Rwanda for the past 16 years. It is with sadness that we make this necessary decision”, said Board Chairperson Unn Edberg.

East Africa is characterized by growing hunger, poverty, inequality, and an escalating climate crisis. While these are important reasons for Vi Agroforestry to work in the region, they also place greater demands on the organisations capacity to meet increasing needs. To increase its relevance, Vi Agroforestry needs to scale-up and increase the programme volume in the places where the organisation operates.

Vi Agroforestry has operations in four countries in East Africa – Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. Rwanda is the country where the government has come the furthest in promoting sustainable farming methods. The country’s agroforestry strategy contributes to better opportunities to provide the population with food. The country’s forest sector plan also includes agroforestry. Rwanda is the country where Vi Agroforestry has the smallest operation.

To strengthen the organisation’s operations in the region and to be more (aid) efficient, the Board of Directors have therefore decided to phase out Vi Agroforestry’s operations in Rwanda. This measure will help reduce organisational costs and at the same release funding that can be reinvested in the other countries.

The background to the Board’s decision is an organisational review from 2019. The review points to the need for investments to strengthen the own organisation, at the same time as costs need to be reduced. Operations are too thinly spread across the four countries where Vi Agroforestry operates.

The review recommended several improvements. An action plan was drawn up, but implementation has been delayed because of the Covid 19 pandemic. During the same period, Vi Agroforestry has seen declining revenues. Fundraising has decreased, as has funding from donors, such as the EU.

The regional office has been commissioned to develop a phasing-out plan for operations in Rwanda. The phasing-out plan will be a gradual process to be done in a period of one year, and will also include support to our employees and partners in the country.

Vi Agroforestry started working in Rwanda in 2005 and has worked with a strong focus on tree planting, construction of terraces and bioenergy. Vi Agroforestry has planted about 18 million trees in Rwanda since its inception.