NEWSLETTER: Recognizing Our Volunteer Project Managers and Project Progress Reporting

The Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund (HMODF) is a small fund with a small annual budget. Our primary business is to provide two to four one-time, start-up grants each year in support of new agriculture development projects for an association of poor, vulnerable beneficiaries; almost all women. The HMODF is a development fund and not a job creation fund or a business development fund. Accordingly, our model is based on self-selecting Hope Africa University students or graduates deciding to submit a proposal for a project of their own choosing and agreeing to be a long-term, voluneer Project Manager. The volunteer Project Managers do not receive any direct financial benefit (no pay and no expense money) but they do have the opportunity to work on a real community development related project and to realize the gratification of being able guide the beneficiaries to be come self-supporting, self-managing and self-governing while improving their lives and the lives of their families. Accordingly, the HMODF and our beneficiaries are dependent on the goodwill and the good works of our long-term, volunteer Project Managers. The purpose of this Newsletter is to provide recognition of the work of our volunteer Project Managers and to celebrate their recent first-time, 100% success in project progress reporting.

To recognize the work of our volunteer Project Managers and to celebrate their achievement in project reporting, our Program Coordinator, Louise NTIRANYIBAGIRA, recently organized and facilitated the third Project Managers’ Meeting for this year.

Program Coordinator, Louise NTIRANYIBAGIRA

The Project Managers’ Meeting was attended by most of our active long-term, volunteer Project Managers.

  • Barthélemy MINANI
  • Christine KAMIRAMEYA
  • Désiré NSENGIYUMVA
  • Dieudonné IRAMBONA
  • Epithace NDUWAYO
  • Ernest MANIRAKIZA
  • Juvenal HAVYARIMANA
  • Viola NSHEMEZIMANA
Project Managers and Program Coordinator

Unfortunately, four of our active Project Managers needed to be excused because of other obligations; Aimé Fidèle NINGEJEJE, Audace MPAWENIMANA, Kilongo Banayakwa and Prosper NIYONGERE. The agenda for Project Managers’ Meeting was as follows.

  • Celebration of the Project Progress Reporting
  • Presentation of the Satisfactory Reporting Rewards
  • Review of the Main Sections of a Satisfactory Project Progress Report
  • Presentations and Reports on the Small Additional Grants
  • Peer Consultation on a Challenged Project
  • Reminder on Face-to-Face Consultations with Program Coordinator

1. Celebration of the Project Progress Reporting

One of the challenging areas for the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund has been reporting. We expect and require each of our long-term, volunteer Project Managers to prepare and submit a minimum of three Satisfactory Project Reports each year for each of their development projects (two of our Project Managers manage two projects). The Project Managers are responsible for visiting the project benefiiaries at the project location, working with the project association and then submitting a written project progress report with action photographs for each of three separate, four-month reporting periods throughout the year.

The recent Project Managers’ Meeting began with an announcement on and a celebration of the Project Progress Reporting because all of our active Project Managers submitted a project progress report for each of their projects (100% reporting). This is the first time that this has happened in all of the 10 years that the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund has existed. We are very thankful for our long-term volunteers for serving as Project Managers and we are very, very thankful for this first-time achievement in reporting. The Project Managers deserve recognition and this reporting achievement deserves celebration. Thank you very, very much Project Managers!

  • Aimé Fidèle NINGEJEJE
  • Audace MPAWENIMANA (2 Projects)
  • Barthélemy MINANI (2 Projects)
  • Christine KAMIRAMEYA
  • Désiré NSENGIYUMVA
  • Dieudonné IRAMBONA
  • Epithace NDUWAYO
  • Ernest MANIRAKIZA
  • Juvenal HAVYARIMANA
  • Kilongo Banyakwa
  • Prosper NIYONGERE
  • Viola NSHEMEZIMANA

Also deserving of recognition is our Program Coordinator, Louise NTIRANYIBAGIRA. This year, Louise has been busy with a number of responsibilities, including organizing meetings, providing information, providing reminders, encouraging reporting, supporting reporting and providing direct assistance with reporting. Louise offered face-to-face meetings for any Project Manager who wanted or needed assistance with reporting. Along with the Project Managers, Louise also gets credit for the best reporting period we have ever had. Thank you very much Louise!

2. Presentation of the Satisfactory Reporting Rewards

A couple of years ago, the United States Advisory Committee approved the Satisfactory Reporting Rewards program. The program is an incentive program to encourage Project Managers to prepare and submit the expected and required project progress reports with action photographs. Given that all of our active Progect Managers just submitted the expected and required reports, all of our active Project Managers were entitled and received the related financial reward for reporting whether or not they were able to attend the meeting.

Some Project Managers with Reporting Rewards
  • Aimé Fidèle NINGEJEJE
  • Audace MPAWENIMANA (2 Projects)
  • Barthélemy MINANI (2 Projects)
  • Christine KAMIRAMEYA
  • Désiré NSENGIYUMVA
  • Dieudonné IRAMBONA
  • Epithace NDUWAYO
  • Ernest MANIRAKIZA
  • Juvenal HAVYARIMANA
  • Kilongo Banyakwa
  • Prosper NIYONGERE
  • Viola NSHEMEZIMANA

3. Review of the Main Sections of a Satisfactory Project Progress Report

Although Louise, the Program Coordinator, congratulated all the Project Managers for their reporting efforts and distributed the financial rewards, she pointed out that there still needs to be improvments in the reporting. The reports need to submitted earlier and be complete. She stressed the need to pay attention to including the required good-quality, action photographs and to provide testimonials as evidence of changes and improvements in the lives of our beneficiaries.

Louise reminded the Project Managers of the expected and required main components of a full and complete Satisfactory Project Progress Report.

3.1. Introduction. Accompanied by a photograph, each project progress report requires a brief introduction that includes a description of the beneficiaries and their association and a review of the purposes and main functions of the project.

3.2. Crop Cultivation. Accompanied by action photographs, each progress report needs to describe the crop cultivation activities, the results and a description of how the harvests are used and the impact on the lives of the beneficiaries and their families.

3.3. Animal Husbandry. Accompanied by action photographs, each progress report needs to describe the animal husbandry activities, the ownership of the animals and their offspring, the results and how the animals impact on the lives of the beneficiaries and their families.

3.4. Microfinancing. Explain the weekly or monthly contribution system, where the money is kept and how the money is used. Describe the loans, how and when the loans are repaid and the related charges. Provide action photographs of the members paying their contributions and/or using their loans.

3.5. Testimonial/s. Accompanied by a photograph, each report should consider the inclusion of some form of testimonial on how the project is benefitting the life of one or two of our beneficiaries.

4. Presentations and Reports on Small Additional Grants

About two years ago, the United States Advisory Committee approved a Small Additional Grant program. The program is another incentive program to encourage the Project Managers to submit their required project reports so that their project association is eligible to submit a brief proposal for a Small Additional Grant to address a challenge or seize an opportunity. If the Project Manager is preparing and submitting the expected and required reports, their project association is eligible for a Small Additional Grant. For last year, most of our project associations were eligible and they received Small Additional Grant early in this year.

For any project that receives a Small Additional Grant, the Project Manager must report on the use of the money and all of the required reports were submitted. The following brief descriptions are based on the reports that were submitted and the related presentatons from the Project Managers who were present at the recent meeting.

  • Making Bricks and Cultivating Rice in Mugaruro Quarter, Buterere Commune (2014)

Audace MPAWENIMANA has been the long-term, volunteer Project Manager for 8 years and he is one of our best at project reporting.

Audace and Satisfactory Reporting Reward Money

Our first Batwa project began in 2014 and has been self-supporting for 8 years. The Association has 12 members; 9 women and 3 men. The project is involved in making and selling bricks and cutivating and distributing rice. The rice is particularly important because it requires all of the Association members to work together. Part of the rice harvest is shared among the members and the rest is sold to support the continuation of the Association and continuing rice cultivation.

The Association used the Small Additional Grant to buy two female piglets; the project’s first animals. Later, the Association will distribute the first generation of plglets to the members and the following generatiions will be belong to the Association to produce income when needed and, thereby, support the Association.

Two New Female Piglets
  • Women Shopkeepers in Buterere Zone, Bujumbura Mairie Province (2017)

The Project Manager, Audace MPAWENIMANA, submitted another project proposal in 2017 and received a second one-time, start-up grant for a second project.

Audace MPAWENIMANA, Project Manager

The  Association began in 2017 with 14 women and today the Association has 15 women. Their weekly activities are selling vegetables, decorating sheets, selling food in small restaurants and other income generating activities that help the beneficiaries respond to their family needs. The Association’s members sit together for analyzing their activities and they have decided to become a Cooperative. The Cooperative has helped to develop capital for creating their own enterprises.

The Small Additional Grant money was used to increase the capital of the Coorperative and some of the money was borrowed to two women to increase their income-generation from their own business.

Association Member Selling Tomatoes
Woman Decorating a Sheet
  • Supporting and Sustaining the Livelihood of Widows and Orphans at Rubirizi (2019)

Barthelemy MINANI became the Project Manager of this project in 2019; his second development project. Barthelemy’s first project began 2014 (Farming Peanuts with Landless Women in Giharo, Rutana) but the project ended when the beneficiaries abandoned the project and returned to refugee camps in Tanzania. Bathelemey has taken over as Project Manager of another project (Supporting Batwa Women in Breeding Goats and Cultivating Rice at Rubirizi in Mutimbuzi Commune, 2018) and he assists with reporting for yet another project (Welding Workshop at Buterere, 2014).

Barthelemy MINANI, Project Manager

The purposes of this project are to increase the income of widows and orphans, make food available, reduce malnutrition and build social cohesion through cultivating crops and farming goats. The 15 beneficiaries are organized into an Association. They have weekly meetings to discuss about the issues of the group. To be productive and self-supporting, the women must work as a team. In addition to the agriculture development activities (crops and goats), the project has health training and microfinancing.

Barthelemy Presenting on Use of Small Additional Grant

The additional grant money was received by the members of the Association. The beneficiaries decided to use the money to support their cultivation activities by purchasing modern fertilizer.

Association Members Receiving and Counting Grant Money
  • Goats and Crops for Women at Matara in NYABIRABA District (formerly Savings and Loans: Christian Initiative for Women’s Development in Gatumba, 2014) 

Christine KAMIRAMEYA has been the Project Manager for this project since 2014 but she was one of the very first Project Managers, beginning in 2011; Christine has been a volunteer Project Manager with the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund for 10 years.

Christine KAMIRAMEYA, Project Manager

The Matara Association has 17 women members. The project beneficiaries continue keeping goats and pigs, cultivating crops such as peas, Irish potatoes, cabbage and wheat. Currently, the women have at least 11 goats. They have a pig that produced piglets. The Association members also have microfinancing so the women are able to borrow and repay loans to run small income-generating businesses.

From the Small Additional Grant money, the Association members decided to buy a male pig. In addition to the goats, the Association has five pigs: a female with 3 piglets and, now, a black male pig.

Women and Pigs
  • Pigs Husbandry, Potatoes and Cabbage Plants in Kizunga Colline in Nyabiraba Commune (2019)

The Project Manager of this two-year old development project is Désiré NSENGIYUMVA.

Désiré NSENGIYUMVA, Project Manager

This project has an Association of 12 women with elected officers. The Association raises pigs (they have at least 19 pigs) and cultivates crops. The Association has monthly meetings at which time the members make small contributions (membership fees) to support microfinancing.

The Association received a Small Additional Grant of 195000 BIF. The members decided to withdraw 655,000 BIF which was in their own account and add it to the grant money so that they could buy a bull. The bull is kept by one beneficiaries and the women take turns feeding it. In the future, the bull will be sold to generate income that might be used to buy a female cow.

A New Addition; a New Bull
  • Breeding Goats and Cultivating Crops for Vulnerable Women from Mihigo Colline, Kayanza Province (2018) 

The Project Manager for this goats and crops project is Dieudonné IRAMBONA and the project is our only one in Kayanza Province.

The Association is comprised of 16 vulnerable women who came together through breeding goats and cultivating crops. At the beginning of the project, 16 female goats were puchased and distributed to the 16 Association members. The women in the Association are responsible for the work in the field, follow-up, harvesting and identifying other needs to address to make sure the Association is strengthened.

The Association has had as many as 39 goats; 29 goats belonging to the individual women and now 10 goats belonging to the Association. The goats provide fertilizer that helps in the rehabilitation of the plots, thus making the plots more productive. The goats that belong to the individual Association members are sometimes sold to support the woman and her family and the goats that are owned by the Association will be sold to generate additional income and to support the continuation of the Association and its crop cultivation activities.

The grant money (the BIF equvalent to $100.00 USD) was presented to the beneficiaries by the Project Manager so it could be counted for tranaparency and verification purposes. The money was used to rent a field to permit the continuation of crop cultivation.

Association Members Counting the Grant Money
Women Working Together in the Newly Rented Field
  • Supporting Widows and Divorced Women in Breeding Goats and Cultivating Rice at Musenyi in Mpanda Commune (2019)

Epithace NDUWAYO, the Project Manger, designed and submitted a proposal for this development project. The project received a one-time, start-up grant in 2019.

Epithace NDUWAYO, Project Manager

The project began with Epithace, the Project Manager, identifing vulnerable women as potential beneficiaries. Several meetings were held to explain the project, the activities and the principles of the project. Fifteen (15) poor widowed or divorced women accepted to join the project and signed an agreement to work with and for the project Association. The Association members elected officers. All Association members agreed to meet every Friday to discuss the plans and activities for the Association. The development project is engaged in crop cultivation, animal husbandry (the project has had as many as 26 goats) and microfinancing.

Epithace Presenting on the Small Additional Grant

The Association received the Small Additional Grant money from the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund. Members of the Association were struggling with money to pay for the irrigation of their rice because there was a problem related to water supply in the rice fields that required all farmers in the location to pay money for pumping water. They had paid a certain amount but they have reached a point of giving up. This grant money facilitated the continuation of the watering activity which had been a big problem for Association. Now, the Association members are happy because they are expecting to get a good harvest of rice.

Rice Before an Expected Good Harvest
  • Breeding Pigs and Raising Sweet Potatoes for Widows from Nyabiraba Commune, Raro Hill, Bujumbura Province (2019)

The Project Manager for this development project is Dr. Juvenal HAVYARIMANA; our only Project Manager who is a graduate of the Hope Africa University Medical School.

 

Juvenal HAVYARIMANA, Project Manager

The Association is named “MUKENYEZI TERIMBERE” which means “Woman Go Forward” and the members are widows; 15 poor, vulnerable women who agreed to work together to tackle poverty in their families and improve their living conditions. All of the members are active in the Association. Twice a month, the Association members meet to discuss and make decisions about the project’s business and activities. The Association is involved in crop cultivation, animal husbandry and microfinancing. The initial, one-time, start-up grant was used to buy five pigs. Now, the Association has 15 pigs; 5 adults pigs and 10 piglets.

The Small Additional Grant money was presented to the members of the Association for verification and the Executive Committee members signed a copy of the receipt. The Project Manager explained that the grant money is to assist members to support their project. As shown in the photograph below, the beneficiaries listened carefully to the information about the gift. The members decided to keep money in their account and use it during the dry season to grow amaranth. This vegetable is more productive and more expensive during dry periods when vegetables are scarce.

Money Saved for Planting in the Dry Season
  • Farming Potatoes and Breeding Goats in Bukirasazi Commune (2018)

The Project Manager, Prosper NIYONGERE, is a graduate of the Entrepreneurial Program at Hope Africa University and he started this project in 2018.

Prosper NIYONGERE, Project Manager

The beneficiaries are 15, very low income orphans, widows and landless women between 15 and 40 years of age. The women are organized into an Association that has elected officers, holds regular meetings and functions democratically. The main functions are cultivating crops and breeding goats but the project is also involved with microfinancing to support the Association members in their own income-generating activities and arising family emergencies.

The project has had good success in cultivating potatoes, beans, millet and maize (corn). The project began by purchasing a female goat for each of its 15 Association members. Currently, the development project has 32 goats and four beneficiaries have sold a goat and the Association has sold two goats. Goats are sold in order to generate income for the beneficiaries and the Association.

From the Small Additional Grant money received from the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund, the members of the Association rented a piece of land and purchased four hoes for the beneficiaries.

Rented Field Before Preparation for Planting
Association Members Receiving New Hoes

5. Peer Consultation on a Challenged Project 

  • Microfinancing for Poor Women at Mirango in Kamenge Commune, (formerly the Producing Eggs to Support Aged Poor Women, 2015) 
Ernest MANIRAKIZA, Project Manger

This project began as a chickens and eggs project but the sale of the eggs did not support the continuation or growth of the project. It became necessary to sell the chickens and the money was used for microfinancing for the individual members and some other income-genrating activities for the Association. Things went along well for a while but some of the members did not repay their loans and the project Association lost members and became inactive. Accordingly, Ernest has been struggling to rebuild his Association and he decided to consult the other Project Managers on how to restore the Association and reactivate the development project.

Ernest Consulting His Peers on a Challenged Project

After a long discussion on the alternatives, Ernest was advised to recruit some of the old members and recruit a few new women who are struggling to earn a living. At the same time, Ernest will continue to contact the old members to bring back money they took. It was decided that those who pay back the money they owe and express the willingness to rejoin the Association could be accepted back, provided that they accept the conditions of membership. Ernest and the other Project Managers were advised to ensure that their project associations are registered with the local authorities so that the local government can assist in dealing with problems if they arise.

6. Reminder on Face-to-Face Consultations with Program Coordinator

Our Program Coordinator, Louise, reminded the Project Managers of the availability of face-to-face meetings to discuss project related activities and issues and/or receive assistance with preparing project progress reports. Any Project Manager who wants or needs technical assistance can contact Louise and request a face-to-face meeting. The meetings must take place on Friday,  Saturday or Sunday. The next Project Managers’ Meeting is planned for the first part of August 2021.