NEWSLETTER: Call for Proposals 2019 and Update on Projects from Call for Proposals 2018

The Student Grants Program of the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund has an annual Call for Proposals, announced in December and closed in January. This newsletter announces our eighth annual Call for Proposals.

  • Announcing Call for Proposals 2019

The Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund has provided start-up grants for 20 development projects. This newsletter provides updates on the two development projects that received grants following the careful review, evaluation and selection of proposals/applications from our Call for Proposals 2018.

  • Breeding Goats and Cultivating Crops for Vulnerable Women from Mihigo Colline, Kayanza Province, Project Manager: Dieudonné IRAMBONA
  • Farming Potatoes and Breeding Goats in Bukirasazi Commune, Gitega Province, Project Manager: Prosper NIYONGERE



Student Grants Program

Call for Proposals

Submission Deadline: January 26, 2019

Overseen by the African Advisory Committee, the Student Grants Program of the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund provides grants to students and graduates of Hope Africa University who submit a proposal with their own ideas for an outreach and development project; a student-generated project idea for capacity development in Burundi. Any student or graduate, who is connected with any department and who is willing to be a long term volunteer project manager, is eligible to apply. Interested students and graduates are encouraged to submit a proposal describing their ideas and the anticipated, sustainable results.

Applicants must clearly explain how their proposed project will contribute to the development of capacity among the project beneficiaries. The projects should be innovative, address obvious needs and have the potential to produce significant, lasting change. We have had great success with projects that organize poor women, distribute goats and cultivate crops. The proposals must clearly describe how the objectives will be met; how the beneficiaries will be meaningfully involved; how the development benefits will be shared and extended to others (needy individuals, families and community members); how the project will become self-supporting and self-sufficient; and, how the project will become self-sustaining, self-managing and self-governing through an association, a cooperative or another type of development organization.

The grants are for the equivalent of $1,425.00 USD. The initial funded start-up, implementation period will normally be for about 12 months but the projects are expected to become self-sustaining and continue long into the future, see examples on our website:

  • All applications or proposals must be submitted in English as e-mail Word file attachments to John McCready, using the 2019 proposal outline and format.
  • All applications must be submitted by January 26, 2019.

For an application package that contains the 2019 proposal outline and format and for questions about the use of the proposal outline and format, you must e-mail John McCready.


The updates below were informed by our recent field visits to the two new development projects; the respective Project Managers, the new Program Coordinator, Louise NTIRANYIBAGIRA and John McCready visited the project locations and the project beneficiaries.

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.

Project Manager, Dieudonné IRAMBONA

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 crop cultivation. The project is expected to become self-supporting, self-managing and self-governing and 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 potatoes, maize (corn), beans 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, nurture 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.

Developing Self-support, Self-management and Self-governance

At the beginning of the project, an association was formed and the association had sixteen beneficiaries (poor, vulnerable women) with different beliefs, behaviors and marital statuses. These differences were very helpful to the association because members of the association become united in their diversity. This unity in diversity is the key ingredient to their development.

Association Members

The Project Manager continues to develop the capacities of the members of association. These women (beneficiaries of the project) have selected among themselves four leaders who organize weekly activities and meetings on their own. Consequently, beneficiaries have decided to meet every Monday morning for one hour before they go to their daily duties. In those meetings, they plan and decide on what to do for the benefit of the association. This capacity development practice of making decisions on their own will help them to become more and more self-managing and self-governing.

An Earlier Capacity Development Discussion Session

In order to become self-supporting, the association members decided to have each member contribute 300 BIF each week. They encourage themselves to continue to give the contribution of 300 BIF for the development of their development program. This money is essential. It will be used for their self-help program to enhance their self-supporting ability. With this amount of money, they are able to provide small loans to their members for income generating activities (microfinancing). The money also helps to buy medications for goats.

In educating these women on the importance of social cohesion and responsibility, women have set their own program for mutual help especially in cultivation activities. Each member of the association has set a day whereby the rest of the members of the association join her to cultivate her own personal field. This program is very beneficial for women in the association because it promotes team work, builds bonds and relieves the women from straining too much during cultivation seasons.

Development through the Distribution of Goats

After a group of vulnerable women was recruited, sixteen goats were bought and each member received a goat. After a while, one woman moved to another province and she took her goat. The association continues with 15 members and 15 goats.

Women and Their Goats

The goats are healthy. Ten of the fifteen goats are going to produce baby goats by the end of January to the beginning February 2019. Under normal circumstances, all of the goats should be expecting. The association has decided to wait for the other five goats until July 2019. If they do not produce baby goats, they will be considered as barren and the association will sell them and buy five new goats.

The women feel happy and they are proud of their goats. One woman said, “Before I got a goat, I didn’t have fertilizer to make my small land productive. With the fertilizer that I collected from the goat, I planted onions and I believe I will have a good harvest.”

Development through the Cultivation of Crops

Using the grant money, the association rented a large field for two cultivating seasons. For this first season, the beneficiaries planted maize (corn) and Irish potatoes separately. The field was prepared by the members of the association. At the time of our field visit, the corn had started coming-up and the beneficiaries were weeding.

Weeding the Corn

The leader of the association expressed her satisfaction with the commitment of the beneficiaries to work together in cultivating the field, demonstrating their cooperation and unity. Since our field visit, all of the field has been weeded and the corn and the potatoes plants are growing well.

Growing Corn Plants
Growing Potato Plants

At the time of our visit, rain was a bit scarce and the beneficiaries were a bit worried. The beneficiaries were asked to pray for rain to come. Everyone was so pleased when, just before the end of our visit, it started rain!

If the weather conditions are good, the association expects to have a good harvest of corn and a large harvest of Irish potatoes. Some of the harvest will be shared among the members, some will be saved for seed and most of the harvest will be sold and the money will belong to the association and used for microfinancing, renting land again and other collective expenses.

Some Testimonials from the Beneficiaries 

“I like the association because I can easily get a free loan. I am now able to feed my children and send them to school. I can easily get fertilizer from the goat I got from the association. This association is very important to me.”

“This association has become a family to me. I consider the association members to be my sisters. Before joining the association, I was lonely. But now, my daily life has changed. I feel at home when I am in the association. I feel supported because I have a new family.”

“When there are no activities of the association, our team decides to go and work in the field of one of our team members. This helps so much. No one is stressed by the cultivation. Once it rains, everyone is ready to help sow her seeds. It grows our fellowship, strength and unity.”

Human Interest Story

As we were about ready to leave the project site, the association members asked to us to join them in one of the houses. The visit was ended by a short ceremony that was prepared by the project beneficiaries. The leader of the association expressed their gratitude to the visitors for visiting Mihigo. She emphasized that John McCready is the first muzungu (the first white person) to visit Mihigo Colline. She offered thanks to the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund for the grant that made the development project possible. The expression of gratitude was followed by presenting John with a gift of beans and bananas. It was exceedingly touching to see the kindness and generosity of these poor, vulnerable women, so willing to share what little they have with others.

A Generous Gift to John

Farming Potatoes and Breeding Goats in Bukirasazi Commune, Gitega Province, 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.

Prosper NIYONGERE, Project Manager

Bukirasazi Commune in Gitega Province is inhabited by many landless widows and orphan girls. The primary target group for this project was 15 landless women, widows and orphan girls, between 15 and 40 years of age and who are 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 agree to working 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 will 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 will be given to another woman and the next kids would belong to the beneficiary. The project will 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 becomes successful in harvesting potatoes and breeding and distributing goats, the project will 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.

Arriving at the Development Site

A group of us visited this remote project on November 1, 2018; the Project Manager, Prosper NIYONGERE, the Program Coordinator, Louise NTIRANYIBAGIRA, two other Project Managers, Dieudonné IRAMBONA and Ezechiel MANIRAKIZA, and a driver, John McCready. This project is difficult to visit because of the distance from Bujumbura; it is in Gitega Province but quite a bit east of Kibuye and several kilometres off the national highway and accessible only by slowly driving a “strong” car along a narrow, challenging dirt road. It took a long time but the visitors arrived at the project location.

Three Project Managers and the Program Coordinator Finally Arrived at the Project Site
Greeting the Association Members

Developing Self-support, Self-management and Self-governance

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. When one member has difficulties, members come together and decide on how to assist their fellow association member. Already, the association has built trust and confidence among its members. They feel connected and this reinforces the required team work.

The project has provided training on working together cooperatively to become self-supporting and economically independent. This association has set up a governing committee made of a president, a vice-president, a treasurer and a secretary. The committee manages all matters regarding the association and seeks assistance from the Project Manager when needed. The Saving and Loans (SAL) activities are taking place twice a month on Wednesdays. The committee sits together to analyze the requests for loans and takes decisions.

Development through the Cultivation Crops

The project provided training on growing potatoes. The association has rented two fields 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 purchased hoes and fertilizer and ordered seed potatoes.

Members by One of their Two Potato Fields

The women have prepared the soil, planted potatoes, fertilized the plants and weeded the fields. Supported by an agronomist, the potatoes were planted in a modern mound system.

Nicely, Neatly Planted Potatoes

Since our field visit, the potato plants have broken through the mounds and the plants are off to a very good start.

Potatoes Getting a Good Start

From 400 kilograms of seeds planted, members of the association expect to harvest 8,000 kilograms of potatoes.

Development through the Distribution Goats

The project provided training on raising, breeding and distributing goats. All of the 15 women have their own goat. Upon arrival, the visitors found the beneficiaries with their goats waiting for them. It was wonderful to see the members of the association and their beautiful healthy goats. The beneficiaries are very proud of their goats.

Association Members and their Goats

At the time of our visit, some of were about to give birth; eleven of the goats were expecting one or more kids. On November 12, 2018 the goat of the president of the association gave birth to a healthy kid.

The New Kid on the “Block”

Goats provide organic manure that helps rehabilitate the fields and contributes to a better harvest. After the first kid is distributed to another woman in a new association, the goats will continue to multiply and the women will have a number of their own goats and, thereby, be able to address several family needs from money that will be generated from selling goats (the small herd will serve as a line of credit).

Friend or Foe

Human Interest Story

Getting to this project is difficult. It requires a “strong car” like the Blue Jeep. On the way in to the project, I stopped to investigate two bridges before crossing. On the way out, I stopped at the bridges again. For the second bridge, we agreed on the best way to cross and I started across. It was not long before one of the logs broke and the right front tire and wheel fell through the bridge.

Broken Log, Wheel Drops through the Bridge

I was not sure that we would be able to get the Blue Jeep off the bridge and across the bridge. I was starting to wonder how we would spend the night, if we would be fed and billeted by the local people, and how long it would take to get help to get the Blue Jeep off the bridge and out to the main road. With the Program Coordinator coordinating all of the effort and the three Project Managers managing the lift of the right front part of Blue Jeep, I was surprised that I was able to back off the bridge without any serious complications. We selected a different pathway across the bridge and, fortunately, we were able to cross the bridge and get out to the main road.