From our Call for Proposals 2019, the Burundi Advisory Committee received and evaluated 15 proposals, recommended providing grants to four new development projects and the projects are well underway. All four projects have associations which promote independence, self-determination, self-help, self-management and self-governance. All four are agricultural development projects; they all involve both animal husbandry and crop cultivation. All four projects are using their own money to develop their own microfinancing.
In September, the Program Director, John McCready, and the Program Coordinator, Louise NTIRANYIBAGIRA, accompanied by the respective Project Managers, visited all four of our new development projects.
- Supporting and Sustaining the Livelihood of Widows and Orphans at Rubirizi, Project Manager: Barthelemy MINANI
- Pigs, Potatoes and Cabbage Plants in Kizunga Colline in Nyabiraba Commune, Project Manager: Désiré NSENGIYUMVA
- Supporting Widows and Divorced Women in Breeding Goats and Cultivating Rice at Musenyi in Mpanda Commune, Project Manager: Epithace NDUWAYO
- Breeding Pigs and Raising Sweet Potatoes for Widows from Nyabiraba Commune, Raro Hill, Bujumbura Province, Project Manager: Juvenal HAVYARIMANA
Supporting and Sustaining the Livelihood of Widows and Orphans at Rubirizi, Project Manager: Barthelemy MINANI
This project is in Mutimbuzi Commune of Bujumbura Province in the Nyabunyegeri area which is in northwest part of Bujumbura City. The war of 1993 left behind numerous widows who are poor and unable to satisfy the basic needs of their families. The purpose of the project is to support and sustain the livelihoods of widows through breeding goats and cultivating crops. This development project includes an association, goats, crops and microfinancing.
When we arrived at the project site, we were welcomed by the beneficiaries who had gathered together and were singing songs.
After the singing and the introductions, the President described their association and crop cultivation.
The Association has 15 members who were identified as vulnerable widows with the assistance of representatives of the local administration.
Several meetings were organized with the women to ensure that they understood and accepted the purpose of the Association and the project.
The name of the Association is “UBUZIMA BWIZA’’ which means ‘’Better Life’’. The Association members have elected a President, Treasurer and Secretary who comprise the Executive Committee.
All of the beneficiaries meet weekly and discuss the required work, project plans and personal matters (self-help). By being together and participating in the meetings and development activities, the beneficiaries develop an effective work team, social cohesion, friendship and a sense of belonging.
To get an early start early in crop cultivation, the beneficiaries rented some land using their own financial contributions. Making use of tools purchased from the grant money (hoes and watering cans), the first field has been used for growing fast-growing amaranth (lenga lenga; a leafy green vegetable) and has already produced two harvests and third was expected soon after our visit.
The harvests of amaranth have been shared among the members to feed the children, the rest of the harvests were sold and the money that was generated (150,000 BIF) was deposited in the Association’s bank account.
The Association has also rented two fields for a year. The Association members identified the land and called the Project Manager to provide grant money after an agreement had been signed. These fields were expected to be put to good use growing maize (corn), soon after our visit when rain was expected.
One of the Associaton members described the goat breeding and distribution program.
All members were mobilized to identify people who have goats to sell in the locality. Once they were identified, the Project Manager paid for the goats in front of all of officers and other members. Each of the Association members now owns a goat that is kept at her own home.
When goats have baby goats, they will belong to the women. The second generation of baby goats will belong to the Association.
The Treasurer described the project’s microfinancing plans.
Each week, every member contributes 500 BIF. This amount is kept on the Association’s account. Once there is enough, the money will be used to support the Association activities and provide small loans to individual members for income generation activities and/or personal needs such as school fees and medications. When a loan in made, it will be repaid with interest of 10% after one month.
Pigs, Potatoes and Cabbage Plants in Kizunga Colline in Nyabiraba Commune, Project Manager: Désiré NSENGIYUMVA
Nyabiraba Commune is in Bujumbura Province at 27 kilometers away from the City of Bujumbura. The Commune is mountainous and has suffered incidents of civil war and erosion. The population practices agriculture in the traditional manner; traditional animal husbandry and crop cultivation. The project was designed to organize poor women to work together to tackle poverty in their families and improve their living conditions. The development project includes an association, pigs, crops and microfinancing.
At the beginning of our field visit, we were welcomed by the project beneficiaries who were standing in one of their fields singing enthusiastically.
To start the development project, the Project Manager collaborated with the local leaders to identify poor women who would be included in an association. Meetings were organized to explain all about the Association and the development project. The project includes 12 poor women who agreed to join the Association that is called TWIBESHEHO (“To Live by Our Hands”).
After the women understood the importance of working together and signed an agreement to work with the Association, they chose their officers composed of a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary and a Treasurer.
Members of the Association meet weekly for activities and contribute 200 BIF each. They have also a general meeting each month to discuss plans for the next month, review the amount of money and exchange on personal issues.
Six women have already received female pigs that they keep in pig pens. Once these pigs have piglets, the female piglets will be passed to the rest of the members. Male pigs will be sold to generate money for the Association account. After each woman has a pig and the pigs have piglets, each woman will give a piglet to the Association.
Having pigs is of great importance because pigs provide local, organic fertilizer which is used to rehabilitate family plots and rented fields for the Association.
The Project Manager and the officers identified 2 pieces of land and the Project Manager provided money to pay the landlord after an agreement was signed. The Association members cultivated the lands themselves.
From the grant money, the Association bought cabbage seeds for both fields. The women did the planting, weeding and watering.
At the time of our visit to the project, the cabbage was almost ready to be harvested from the first field. The cabbage from the second field was harvested in October. The plan was that 1/3 of the harvest would be divided among beneficiaries and 2/3 of the harvest would be sold and the money that would be generated would be deposited in the Association’s bank account.
The Association has a microfinance component whereby each member contributes 200 BIF weekly. This money is kept in the account of the Association. When they have collected enough money, individual beneficiaries will ask for loans to attend to urgent needs and income generating activities. The interest rate is fixed at 5%, payable after one month. The visit was interrupted by rain. The Program Director and the Program Coordinator were forced to return to Bujumbura.
Supporting Widows and Divorced Women in Breeding Goats and Cultivating Rice at Musenyi in Mpanda Commune, Project Manager: Epithace NDUWAYO
Mpanda Commune is in Bubanza Province which is northwest of Bujumbura City. This commune was badly affected by the civil war of 1993, resulting in a huge number of vulnerable women. The purpose the project is to reduce poverty among vulnerable women through the breeding of goats and the cultivating of rice. The project is located in the Musenyi locality, an area which favors the growing of rice. The development project includes an association, goats, crops and microfinancing.
The President provided a description of the Association and its activities.
With help from the Colline Chief, the Project Manager identified vulnerable women and potential beneficiaries. Several meetings were held to explain the project, the activities and the principles of the project.
Fifteen vulnerable women accepted and signed an agreement to work with and for the Association.
The Association members elected the officers; a President, a Treasurer and a Secretary. All Association members agreed to meet every Friday to discuss the plans and activities for the Association.
When the grant money was provided, the officers identified healthy goats within the locality and the Project Manager made available money from the development grant for the Association to purchase 15 goats; one female goat for each of the 15 members. The plan is that once the goats have baby goats, all the first generation of baby goats will remain with the beneficiaries. The second generation of baby goats will belong to the Association.
The time of the field visit coincided with the dry season. Though it was so, the Association had rented two fields; one field for cultivating rice and the second field for cultivating maize (corn). At the time of our visit, there were no crops growing in the fields because of the lack of rain. The field for maize had been prepared and the members were waiting for rain to plant maize.
Rice is among the most important crops that are cultivated at the Musenyi Colline. For this Association, the Project Manager and the Executive Committee members searched for a field. One worthy, half hectare rice field was rented and would be cultivated in October which marks the start of the rain and the planting season. Through their own small contributions of money and some activities that generated income, the beneficiaries managed to rent a second field for maize and peanuts. The Association members had prepared the soil for planting and were wait for rain to plant maize and peanuts.
All the beneficiaries meet once every week for the common work of the Association and they contribute 500 BIF each. This contribution is meaningful because it helps the beneficiaries not only to identify the committed members, but it also helps members to have small loans from the Association, payable with 10% interest in a period of one month. For security and transparency purposes, the Association opened and uses an account in the COOPEC bank.
Breeding Pigs and Raising Sweet Potatoes for Widows from Nyabiraba Commune, Raro Hill, Bujumbura Province, Project Manager: Juvenal HAVYARIMANA
The Project Manager, Juvenal HAVYARIMANA, is a graduate of Hope Africa University’s medical school and a practicing physician who wanted to work on a community development project. The development project includes an association, pigs, crops and microfinancing.
The Association consists of widows; 15 vulnerable women from RARO Colline who agreed to work together to tackle poverty in their families and improve living conditions.
The launch meeting was held by the Project Manager and included discussion about the project activities and how the Association would be organized. The beneficiaries themselves elected the officers. The officers include a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. This Executive Committee is responsible for regular monitoring of the activities and must communicate and collaborate with all of the Association members before taking any decisions about the project activities and assets. The Association is named “MUKENYEZI TERIMBERE” and means “Woman Go Forward.”
The project has 5 pigs and all of them belong to the Association and the pigs are kept in the Association’s pens. The Association members have organized themselves to feed and care for these pigs.
When the pigs have piglets, each member will be given her own female piglet to keep at her home. The next generations will be the property of the Association and will be sold to provide income support for the Association. When the Association is strong enough, the project is expected to establish and extension project with another association.
The Association has rented 2 fields. The beneficiaries are responsible for digging, planting, weeding and harvesting. Some of the harvest from the crops will be shared among the members and the rest will be sold. The money generated from the crops will be kept in the deposited into the Association’s bank account.
The Association members decided to begin by cultivating onions. The members bought seeds and prepared a nursery to start the onions.
At the time of the field visit, the onion plants were ready to be transplanted into the field that had been prepared to receive the onion plants.
The Association has microfinancing activities. A monthly fee of 600 BIF (100 for social assistance and 500 for microfinancing) is being paid by each member. The accumulating money will be used for providing social assistance for members in need and loans to members for income generation activities. The loan money will be repaid with 5% interest after three months and be returned to the Association’s bank account (COOPEC Nyabiraba) to be available for ongoing social assistance, loans and support for project activities.