As usual, we posted our annual Call for Proposals in December 2017 with a deadline for submissions in January 2018. We reviewed and evaluated all of the proposals, interviewed a shortlist of would-be project managers and recommended two projects for development grants. The development projects began in April and were introduced on our website in May; our 17th and 18th funded development projects.
Now, it is time to provide an update, a progress report on our two newest development projects. Both of the projects described below employ our most successful development model of animal husbandry and agriculture in this case, goats and crops.
Breeding Goats and Cultivating Crops for Vulnerable Women from Mihigo Colline, Kayanza Province, Project Manager: Dieudonné IRAMBONA
The project manager for this development project is Dieudonné IRAMBONA, who holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree from Hope Africa University. Previously, Dieudonné lived and worked in Kayanza Commune, Kayanza Province for six years.
Kayanza is a northern, overpopulated province that was devastated by civil war, resulting in many vulnerable families and widows. The goal of this project is to reduce poverty among vulnerable families through self-help and by distributing and breeding goats and cultivating crops. This capacity development project was designed to recruit and organize 16 vulnerable women between the ages of 25 to 45 who agreed to be active members of a self-help association and participate in self-help and Savings and Loans (SAL) training, animal husbandry and agriculture. The project is expected to become self-supporting, self-managing and self-governing and, every six months or so, spawn new self-sustaining and self-governing associations of 16 vulnerable women.
Initially, each woman would be provided with a female goat. The goats are expected to provide much-needed fertilizer and help make the women’s personal plots more productive. In approximately six months from the time of receiving a goat, the goat will produce one or more kids and the first kid will be passed on to a woman in another association; a new association of 16 vulnerable women. After distributing the first kid, the next kids will belong to the original woman.
In addition, the women would be assisted in the initial collective cultivation of crops, alternating beans, potatoes, wheat and other crops. To begin the agricultural activities that will become self-sustaining, the grant money would be used to rent land and purchase seed. The women in the association would prepare the field, sow the selected seed, irrigate the field, care for the plants and harvest the crop. Some of the harvest would be shared among the members, some would be kept for seed but most of the harvest would be sold for income for the association. The first association of 16 women would assist the next association of 16 women to become involved in the collective cultivation of crops.
Following the National Referendum in May, local officials helped Dieudonné, the Project Manager, identify and recruit 16 women. Recording books and pens have been distributed to the women to help monitor the project activities. The self-help association has been established and each woman has signed a contract. The association members have agreed to attending regular weekly meetings, paying weekly fees and working together cooperatively on agricultural activities every Monday.
The Project Manager has organized and held three two-hour training sessions; training on finances, health and cohesion. There has been training on the role of women in managing family finances and the Savings and Loans (SAL) program. The SAL program is an internal microfinancing program to allow the members to participate in their own income generating activities. The training, provided by Dieudonné and the veterinarian, was designed to help the women understand the process and conditions for getting loans from the association.
The training included the importance of health and the prevention of diseases. The women were provided with basic information on hygiene; the importance of use of safe water, regular washing of hands and prevention of diarrhea.
The training covered the importance of good, constructive communication within the association. The training emphasized the importance of inclusion, cohesion and unity; the value of coming together and working together in spite of differences in beliefs or circumstances.
As planned, the animal husbandry has begun; the project has purchased 16 goats and presented one to each of the beneficiaries. In addition, the project has acquired some medicine for the goats and the services of a veterinarian.
As planned, the agricultural activities have begun; the project has rented land, purchased certified seed and purchased fertilizer. The women have prepared the field, acquired manure, dug holes and begun seeding in the holes.
The women will continue to care for their goat and gather manure for their own plots. The women will continue to work together on their cultivation of crops. The association members plan to continue to work together and support each other.
Farming Potatoes and Breeding Goats in Bukirasazi Commune, Project Manager: Prosper NIYONGERE
The Project Manager for this development project, Prosper NIYONGERE, is a student, studying in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Business Management at Hope Africa University. Prosper lives in Bukirasazi Commune.
Bukirasazi Commune in Gitega Province is inhabited by many landless widows and orphan girls. The plan was to identify and recruit a primary target group of 15 landless women, widows and orphan girls, between 15 and 40 years of age and who were members of the FUPDD (Forces Unies des Partenaires pour le Development Durable) English Clubs in Bukirasazi Commune. The women and girls would be organized into a participatory, self-help association and would be required to agree to work collectively on the project aims and activities.
The purpose of this project is to improve the social-economic situation of the beneficiaries through collectively cultivating potatoes and distributing goats. The women would be assisted in renting land, preparing the soil, planting potatoes, fertilizing the plants and sharing and selling the harvest. The women would be given a goat with the understanding the first kid would be given to another woman in a another association and the next kids would belong to the beneficiary. The project would develop the capacity and independence of the women and girls by providing training in the production of potatoes, the care of goats, self-help, savings and loans and self-government. As the first association would become successful in harvesting potatoes and breeding and distributing goats, the project would start another association of 15 landless women, assist the association in cultivating potatoes and breeding and distributing goats. The project is expected to produce a series of self-supporting, self-sustaining and self-governing associations that improve the social-economic situation of the landless female participants.
The Project Manager has identified and recruited 15 women and girls as the initial beneficiaries of the development project. The women and girls have agreed to be active members of a participatory self-help association.
The project has already provided training on growing potatoes, breeding goats and working cooperatively to become self-supporting and economically independent. The Saving and Loans (SAL) activities are taking place twice a month on Wednesdays. The main objective is to promote self-financing and self-support in the years to come. During these meetings, members focus on how they can support themselves in the future when there will be no more external funding.
The association has rented the land in two locations for cultivating potatoes. The first field measures 60 meters of length and 59 meters of width and the second field measures 31 meters of length and 26 meters of width. The project has purchased hoes and fertilizers and ordered seed potatoes. The members of the association have prepared the land for planting.
The beneficiaries have prepared the field by making the “digs” within which the potatoes will be planted. The man in the photograph below was interested in this initiative and offered to help members of the association in preparing digs on a voluntarily basis. He is an agronomist and he will continue to teach the beneficiaries about growing potatoes successfully.
A total of 15 goats and some medicine have been purchased and distributed to the members. Each member of the association now owns a goat. The project has secured the services of veterinarian who will assist the association members and oversee the health of the goats on a regular basis.
The potatoes will be planted soon and the women will take care of the fields, the women will look after their goats and the training discussion meetings will continue.
Message from the Project Manager
We are committed to work hard to reduce food insecurity and make Burundi a better place to live, even if we always face challenges related to financial support which is one of the setbacks preventing us from moving the way we wanted.
We really salute the commitment of John; you have been a channel of blessings to us.
We express our gratitude to US support team for their commitment to helping our country and for their open heart to Burundi. Thanks to John and his team.
We appreciate in a mighty way all beneficiaries for their commitment to transform our nation.