Originally published on June 22, 2015.
Local cheese makers produced a variety of cheeses for the Rwandan Cheese Championship, which was held to commemorate National Dairy Month.
With June celebrated in many countries around the world as National Dairy Month, USAID’s Rwanda Dairy Competitiveness Program II (RDCP II) implemented by Land O’Lakes International Development is celebrating the occasion through several special events. In collaboration with the Rwanda National Dairy Platform (RNDP), a multi-stakeholder group advocating for the needs of the dairy industry, RDCP II hosted the 2nd annual Rwandan Cheese Championship, along with a two-day exhibition highlighting locally-produced cheese. The cheese competition offered local cheese makers the opportunity to enter their products into 14 different categories.
This is the second time RDCP II and RNDP have worked together to host events to promote Rwanda’s growing dairy sector. Alex Ruzibikira, Director-General of Rwanda’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, presided over the Rwandan Cheese Championship Awards and the launch of the Cheese Expo. He proclaimed the events as “great marketing and promotional platforms” for Rwanda’s cheese processing industry.
Acrobats clad in "Shisha Wumva" t-shirts attracted crowds at the agriculture show to promote the campaign's message about the benefits of drinking milk.
In June, RDCP II also launched the third phase its campaign to raise awareness about the nutritional benefits of consuming milk and other dairy-related products at Rwanda’s largest Agriculture Exhibition. The campaign’s slogan is Shisha Wumva, which means “feel the goodness” in the local language of Kinyarwanda, and this third phase of the campaign is focused on encouraging milk-producing households to save a few liters of milk for home consumption, as opposed to selling it all. The week-long exhibition, which attracts mammoth crowds daily, provides a platform to relay the campaign’s messages through live and recorded audio dramas, acrobatics performances and the dissemination of flyers. RDCP II is also presenting awards to outstanding milk collection centers (MCCs) during the exhibition.
The campaign was initially launched during June Dairy Month in 2014 – the perfect opportunity to launch a campaign promoting increased milk consumption. Its second phase, launched six months later, focused on raising awareness about best practices in dairy farming, in order to improve herd health, milk quality and consumer confidence.
RDCP II has utilized radio spots and audio dramas as one method of spreading the campaign’s messages, which have been broadcast on the national station Radio Rwanda, and on the community and agricultural station Radio Huguka. The slogan Shisha Wumva is now widely recognized by the general population across the country. RDCP II will continue promoting the Shisha Wumva campaign beyond June Dairy Month, with more audio broadcasts and outreach programs planned across the country.