At my own expense as usual, I made an extra trip to Burundi in early September. Once again, I was hosted by Hope Africa University. This special trip allowed me to make field visits to all five development projects that have received funding from the Student Grants Program of the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund. That’s right, we now have three new, recently funded development projects that are getting underway and we have two previously funded projects that are continuing into their second year.
In addition, this trip allowed me to explore some opportunities to develop funding proposals for research and development projects in support of the Spring Arbor University (SAU) and Hope Africa University (HAU) Partnership. I was exploring the possibilities for research and development projects in the areas of Health and Social and Community Development.
For the planned publication of a book on building the indigenous church, based on J.W. Haley’s unpublished manuscript, Rev. Dan Sheffield had completed a first draft on his section.
Three New Development Projects
Improved Food Security at Kabezi, Project Managers: Marie Nadège Twagirayezu and Anicet Nyandwi
Kabezi is a commune south of Bujumbura and the project is located at the Rugembe colline (hill). It was exciting to drive up the winding dirt road to this isolated mountain community of subsistence farmers. The area was strongly effected by the war with the residents leaving their homes and land to gather together for protection while the rebel and military presence adversely effected their crops and animals. The area is still in a serious state of recovery.
The food security project received its first installment in mid-July and is off to a very good start. The Project Managers, Marie Nadège Twagirayezu and Anicet Nyandwi, both graduates of HAU Department of Social Work and Community Development, designed a project that is related to their theses on the effects of food systems on schooling of children from poor households and the effects of premature mature marriage on girls’ schooling.
The well-conceived project has already identified five prematurely-married, school drop-out women and their respective families as the main focus of the project. Each of the women have been given an adult female goat and training on composting. All five goats are pregnant and the women are composting, using the goat fertilizer and local vegetation. The women will be given training in cultivating corn and soybeans and given the seeds to start the crops. The beneficiaries are expected to pass on female goat kids to other women and assist in supporting the other women with growing corn and soy beans.
Welding Workshop at Buterere, Project Manager: Kilongo Banyakwa and Project Secretary: Henry Milenge
Buterere is, perhaps, the poorest part of Bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi. Buterere has been recently populated by newcomers to the city. Although most of the buildings look pretty bad, there is new building that is taking place in Buterere.
The welding project received its first installment of funding at the end of July. The Project Manager, Kilongo Banyakwa, a HAU graduate, has already found space to rent, secured electricity, purchased a small arc welder, a grinder and materials. At the time of the field of the visit, the team was working on the completion of one of two windows that had been ordered.
The project employs two welders and has two young, neighborhood men who are voluntarily in training to become welders. The project aims to be a viable welding business that provides training to residents in the area.
Farming Goats at Gatwe, Project Manager: Jean Claude Ngendakumana
Gatwe is a zone in the Province of Mwaro and the project is located in the district of Nyarukere. Nyarukere is an upcountry, subsistence farming community, comprised of poor families. The target group for this project is six poor widows and their families and the goal for the project is to improve food production and nutrition.
This goat farming and food security project received its first installment of funding at the end of July. The Project Manager, Jean Claude Ngendakumana, is a HAU graduate and a nurse who developed this health related project. A shed has been built, a caretaker and a watchman have been hired and six goats have been purchased.
The six widows have been selected. Each widow will receive a female kid goat and, through demonstration and training in composting, fertilizing and crop production, the project aims at fighting hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
At the end of the project field visit, Jean Claude’s children gave John a gift; the children gave John a chicken.
Two Continuing Development Projects
Pig Farming at Muyebe, Project Managers: Eddyne Irankunda and Evelyne Kanyana
The pig project has completed its first year of funding and it is continuing independently into its second year. The project is facing the challenge of acquiring enough income to cover its expenses. The biggest expense is feeding the pigs; yes, the pigs eat like pigs. Apart from the fertilizer that does not produce much income, the central source of income is the sale of pigs and piglets.
Since the last report, the project found it necessary to sell the smaller of the two adult female pigs. They also sold some piglets and, unfortunately, some piglets died. Currently, the project has one adult female pig and four healthy piglets.
The Project Managers are carefully reviewing their project and its future. They are concerned that the project will not be able to sustain itself as a pig project. Accordingly, they are carefully considering the possibility of continuing with Claude, the Caretaker, but transforming their project into a new area; they are exploring the possibility of selling off their pigs and investing into egg-producing chickens.
Tailoring for Women at Kinama (formerly at Nyanza-lac), Project Manager Christine Kamirameya
The sewing project has completed its first year of funding and it is continuing into its second year. As reported earlier, this project needed to be moved and restored. A new location was identified and a sewing shop has been constructed. By using her own resources, the Project Manager, Christine Kamirameya, has invested into the restoration of the project at Kinama by paying for bricks, roofing, construction, two more sewing machines and some furniture.
The project is now functioning much closer to the Project Manager and on a much smaller, more manageable basis. The restored project is underway and a Trainer is working with three very poor women. By attending the sewing shop, the women will learn sewing skills from the Trainer and life skills from the Project Manager.
The Project Manager experienced some considerable disappointment in the early phase of this project at the first location. Instead of becoming discouraged and quitting, she has developed a new plan, invested her own resources and restored the project in a very impressive fashion. Christine Kamirameya is to be commended for her efforts. Now we hope that the restored project can sustain itself into the future.
On the way to the onsite visit to the Improved Food Security at Kabezi project, we made a quick stop at Mugere to see the Livingstone Stanley Momument; a place where Livingstone and Stanley met (the second time, “I presume”) on November 25 of 18971.
On our way back from our upcountry trip to visit the Goat Farming at Gatwe and Pig Farming at Muyebe projects, we stopped to see the Agasumo (“falls”) ka Mwaro (Mwaro Falls), a historical Burundian site on the Kayokwe River.
Alliance Niyurkuri, a very good friend of mine, is shown in both photographs above. This December, Alliance will be one member of the first graduating class from Hope Africa University Medical School. I have known Alliance for a number of years and he has become a good friend of the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund. Alliance is a bright, well-spoken young man (five lanuages) and he has been of great value in educating me and translating for me. During this visit to Burundi, he accompanied me on the upcountry field visits and a number of information gathering meetings.
After all the project field trips and at the end of my time at Hope Africa University, I held a dinner for the Project Managers. All but Jean Claude (whose children gave me a chicken) were able to attend the dinner and it was a very nice way to spend time with the Project Managers. Yes, we ate the chicken!
Hope Africa University
In 2011, Hope Africa University (HAU) and Spring Arbor University (SAU) developed and signed a Partnership Agreement. While I was at HAU in January 2012, I had a chance to meet with the Rector of HAU, Bishop Elie Buconyori, and ask him to identify the research and development priority areas for HAU and the Partnership. Bishop Buconyori identified four priority areas: Health, Social and Community Development, Education and Technology.
Fortunately, the Education and Technology areas are being addressed by SAU. I have received considerable support from Dr. Betty Overton-Adkins, former Provost of SAU, Carla Knootz, Executive Director of the SAU Center for Global Studies and Initiatives and other SAU representatives to work with SAU in the preparation of funding proposals for projects in the Health and Social and Community Development high priority areas.
During my recent September visit to HAU, I met with the Rector of HAU and the Heads of the Health Sciences departments and the Head of the Department of Social Work and Community Development. To gather background information, explore project possibilities and develop some contacts, I was able to me with the Chief of Statistical Information for the Burundi Statistics Bureau (ISTEEBU), the Director of the National Public Health Information System, Burundi Ministry of Health and a representative of the Census Office, Burundi Ministry of the Interior.I have returned to North America with some good ideas and support for projects in the Health and Social and Development areas. In the Health area, it seems like we could pursue community health assessments and community health programs for the jurisdictions served by HAU’s two hospitals and four clinics. For the Social and Community Development area, it seems like we could develop a proposal to enhance social work and community development in Burundi through the HAU Department of Social Work and Community Development. In consultation with SAU, I will continue to explore, develop and define a project for each area and begin to outline proposals and identify possible funding sources.
Haley Book on Indigenous Development
As you may recall, John Wesley Haley left behind an unpublished manuscript on building an indigenous church in Burundi and the surrounding countries. An indigenous church is self-supporting, self-propagating and self-governing. As a principal contributor to the planned publication, Rev. Dan Sheffield has submitted a first draft of his section of the book. As one of four sections, Rev. Sheffield has prepared a section that identifies the international mission context for Haley’s indigenous approach and, then, summarizes Haley’s missiological framework and considers its meaning in the present context.