Although I have returned to Burundi again, I am reporting on my previous visit earlier this year. Our last newsletter reported on our work with Hope Africa University, this newsletter describes some of our work with the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund.
Call for Proposals 2019
In December of 2018, we posted and distributed our annual Call for Proposals. We received 15 proposals in January and evaluated the proposals in February. From the 15 proposals, the Burundi Advisory Committee selected a shortlist of four proposals and conducted interviews with the four would-be project managers who had submitted the application/proposals. The evaluation of the proposals and the interviews of the would-be project managers were conducted by Susan Muchiri, Esperance MPAWENIMANA, Louise NTIRANYIBAGIRA and John McCready.
The Review Team decided that all four project proposals were worthy of additional consideration, providing the would-be project managers were willing to revise and improve their proposals. Each would-be project manager was provided with some specific areas of their proposed project to consider, reconsider and improve. We are almost finished with the review of the revised proposals and, in the very near future, we will be announcing and describing the projects that will receive a start-up development grant.
Project Managers’ Meeting
We held a Project Managers’ Meeting in February. We have been holding regular meetings and trying to improve the attendance at the meetings and increase the participation during the meetings.
Improving Project Reporting
We are trying to improve the reporting on our development projects; the written reports and photographic reports. The Program Coordinator, Louise NTIRANYIBAGIRA, developed a reporting template. She distributed and reviewed the reporting template during the Project Managers’ meeting. Of course, she will continue to provide ongoing reporting assistance to the Project Managers.
Louise Presenting the Reporting Template
For satisfactory reporting, the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund has developed an incentive program. The program consists of providing a financial reward for satisfactory written and photographic reporting during the past year. For the past year of 2018, four of our Project Managers were provided with a financial reward.
• Making Bricks and Cultivating Rice in Mugaruro Quarter, Buterere Commune (2014)
• Women Shopkeepers in Buterere Zone, Bujumbura Mairie Province (2017)
Audace MPAWENIMANA, Project Manager
• Microfinancing for Poor Women at Mirango in Kamenge Commune (2015)
Ernest MANIRAKIZA, Project Manager
• Breeding Goats and Cultivating Crops for Vulnerable Women from Mihigo Colline, Kayanza Province (2018)
Dieudonné IRAMBONA, Project Manager
• Farming Potatoes and Breeding Goats in Bukirasazi Commune (2018)
Prosper NIYONGERE, Project Manager
Contributing to Other Development Activities
Pamela Meyer of the Seattle area, Washington, USA has been visiting Burundi for some years now. Pam has learned to love Burundi and the Burundian people. Whereas she started by teaching at Hope Africa University, she now supports some of her own activities in Burundi. She has done this work with Jean Paul NIYONGABO who has served as the Project Manager for the activities. The focus has been on giving food to the needy through an initiative entitled, Food for Hungry People.
Pam returned to Burundi in January. Pam has been a supporter of the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund and its development work. Pam has decided it would be better if the activities she is supporting directly through Jean Paul could be transformed from simple giving activities to development activities. Pam asked if the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund would be willing and able to assist. We were delighted to have to have the opportunity to help with developing development.
The first step was for Pam and I to meet with her Project Manager, Jean Paul NIYONGABO, and our Program Coordinator, Louise NTIRANYIBAGIRA. This provided all of us with a good opportunity to get know each other and the nature of our respective activities and to discuss the nature and importance of development.
John, Louise, Jean Paul and Pam
To learn more about development in action, we agreed to make onsite visits to two of the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund’s development projects. The field visits provided Jean Paul and Pam with opportunities to hear about the importance of developing an association of beneficiaries that develops the capacity of the beneficiaries to become self-reliant, self-supporting, self-sustaining, self-managing and self-governing.
• Making Bricks and Cultivating Rice in Mugaruro Quarter, Buterere Commune (2014), Project Manager, Audace MPAWENIMANA
This project has been making and selling bricks and cultivating and selling rice for five years. During the field visit, the beneficiaries, members of the Batwa ethnicity, explained that their Project Manager helped them form an association. They received a start-up grant to help them become self-supporting through making bricks and cultivating rice. Some of the rice is distributed to the members but the selling of bricks and selling the rice has provided the association with enough money to keep the development project going for many years. Whereas the beneficiaries used to beg and pick through garbage for food, they no longer do so and they feel much better about themselves because they are working together to improve their lives.
Pam, Jean Paul, Audace and Association Members
• Microfinancing for Poor Women at Mirango in Kamenge Commune (2015), Project Manager, Ernest MANIRAKIZA
This project began with the aim of generating income from chickens and eggs. Unfortunately, the chickens did not produce enough eggs to cover the cost of their feed and other project expenses. The chickens were sold and the money has been used to for microfinancing for the association members. During the onsite visit, the association members explained that they have been borrowing money from the association for income generating activities such as reselling vegetables and, thereby producing enough money to repay the loans and purchase some much-needed items for themselves and their families.
In addition, the project selected to pursue two other development activities; decorating sheets and cultivating lenga lenga. The women have started decorating sheets to sell. The women work together and separately to decorate the sheets, fill orders and sell sheets for income generation for the association and themselves.
The association has rented two small fields to cultivate a rapidly-growing, leafy green, nutritious vegetable called lenga lenga (amaranth). In this case, half the field is distributed among the association members and the other half is sold to generate more capital for the microfinancing association.
We were flattered to be asked for assistance in developing a development orientation. We are delighted that Pam and Jean Paul found our meeting and the field visits to be helpful. Following the meeting and the two field visits, we have learned that the feeding program is being changed in accord with our development suggestions and the name has been changed from Food for Hungry People to Women Feeding Families.
Jean Paul is using an adaption of our project proposal outline and format to describe the new development orientation. He has met with our Program Coordinator who will remain available to Pam and to Jean Paul. We wish them well with their new development orientation.