A Unique Diplo(Moo)tic Gift!

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If you were the Prime Minister (PM) of India, and you were meeting another Premier, what gift would you take as a token of our friendly diplomatic relations? I’m sure you have interesting ideas but you will never guess what our Indian PM’s gift was for the villagers in the Rwanda… Cows!

Recently, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Rwanda as a part of his three nation Africa tour. He visited Rweru Model Village and gifted 200 cows to the families under the ‘Grinika’ programme launched by Rwandan President Paul Kagame in 2006.

What is the Grinika Programme?

Grinika can be translated as ‘may you have a cow. It is a centuries old cultural tradition in Rwanda where one can gift a cow to another as a sign of respect and appreciation.

Under this programme, the government ensures ‘one cow for one poor family’. This helps to tackle the problems of childhood malnutrition and poverty. It also helps in building camaraderie in the community as the first female calf born of that cow is to be gifted to a neighbour.

According to the Rwandan Government, 3.5 lakh families have benefitted so far from this scheme.

Did they take cows from India?

Well, no. The cows were locally sourced there as they are better suited to the natural surroundings.

Holy Cow! What did Prime Minister Narendra Modi have to say about this unique yet effective scheme:

He said that people in India would be pleasantly surprised to see the cow being given such importance as a means of economic empowerment in Rwanda. We all know that the cow in India is considered an important animal too – both economically and religiously.

The PM also suggested that “Honey can be produced along with milk and both businesses can be run together which would provide additional benefits.”

After the Moo-tastic gift in this visit, maybe next time he could gift something even Bee-gger!


Written by: Preetika Soni. Preetika is a freelance content writer and transcriptionist. Her interests are photography, crochet, and finding answers for her 3 year old son’s ‘But Why’ questions.

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