The past year has been challenging for the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund. Although the political unrest has been concentrated in only 4 of the 13 communes in Bujumbura, it has presented significant challenges in starting three new development projects and maintaining our 12 older development projects.
Three New but Delayed Development Projects
From our 2015 Call for Proposals, three new development projects were selected and approved for funding. All three projects were to be implemented in Bujumbura. Before we could provide the first installment for the grants, political unrest began in nearby communes of Bujumbura. Some community members and some project beneficiaries relocated and business slowed down. Based on the recommendations from the project managers and the obligation to preserve our precious and limited development resources, it was decided to delay the funding of the projects. At the moment, the project managers for two of the three projects are attending school or working outside Burundi and the funding for these projects is postponed indefinitely. For the third project, the situation will be reviewed during January and a decision will be made to start the implementation of the project or continue to delay the start of the project.
Six Older and Challenged Development Projects
The Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund has provided small start-up grants to 12 development projects. Implementing and sustaining development projects in Burundi is challenging without political unrest. This newsletter provides updates on six of our older development projects and describes some of the challenges of sustaining development in Burundi.
Micro-financing for Women of Cibitoke Commune (formerly, the Pig Farming at Muyebe project), Project Managers, Evelyne Kanyana and Eddyne Irankunda
This project was set up at Muyebe with the support of the Church. The pig farming project lasted for nearly two years and was successful. The pig farming project provided valuable experience for the project managers and it produced jobs, manure and piglets. The project sold pigs and piglets and gave away 8 piglets. The project managers decided to look for a new development opportunity to invest the small amount of remaining money.
The project managers have decided to start a small micro-finance project with the money that was left over from the pig project. The new project would provide small loans to poor women in Cibitoke Commune; women who need to start income-generating activities.
Just before the recruitment of women was going to start, political unrest hit Bujumbura. Cibitoke is one of the four communes in Bujumbura that has experienced political unrest. Many people have left the commune and there is not much business taking place. The project managers think that for now it would be very difficult to establish small, successful income-generating businesses and repay loans. Accordingly, the micro-financing project is inactive, preserving its capital and awaiting better times.
Evelyne has assured me that the project managers are committed to pursuing the project, establishing an association, supporting small income-generating businesses and developing the capacity of the beneficiaries.
Tailoring for Women at Kinama (formerly Nyanza-lac), Project Manager, Christine Kamirameya
The sewing project began in Nyanza-lac but the project manager lives in the capital city, Bujumbura. The “long-distance” project management did not work and the project needed to be moved and restored. It took some time but the project manager did a great job of restoring the project in Bujumbura. A workshop was built, two additional sewing machines were purchased and the project was restored with two trainers and three poor women enrolled as trainees for life skills and sewing skills.
The project has been successful in operating a store/workshop, training poor women to sew and making and selling products. The small project faces challenges because it requires a tailor to design and produce products and train the beneficiaries. It is difficult to recruit and retain tailors; the tailors come and go and the project rises and falls. The project is currently trying to recruit a tailor which is made more difficult by the political unrest, the insecurity and related negative effects on business and incomes.
Farming Goats at Gatwe, Project Manager, Jean Claude Ngendakumana
This project was designed to work with six poor widows. The women have been taught about nutrition, composting and using organic fertilizer. The project assists the women in planting crops; crops on the collective demonstration site and in their own fields. The project manager has bought and distributed seeds and six female goats to six women and the women have planted beans.
The goats are expected to produce kids and the six widows are expected to pass on one of the female kids to another woman who agrees to join the group. The proceeds of the collective demonstration crop site are used to provide benefits for the association members.
The project sustains itself by using the goats to recruit more women into the association; women who agree to participate in nutrition training sessions, composting, contributing to cultivating on the demonstration site, improving cultivation in their own fields and distributing a female goat to another woman. Although there has been limited contact with this remote project, we understand that the women remain involved in planting and harvesting crops collectively.
Welding Workshop at Buterere, Project Manager, Kilongo Banyakwa
Buterere is one of the poorest parts 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 takes place in Buterere. This project purchased welding equipment and supplies and made and sold a number of windows and doors. The project has employed welders and trained four young, volunteer men to be welders. After a pretty good start, the project did not have enough money to buy materials, repair the grinder and entered a period of inactivity.
Buterere is near the areas of political unrest. The project is currently inactive. The grinder can be repaired for 95,000 BIF but the project needs about 600,000 BIF in order to purchase materials and get started again. The project manager has about 100,000 BIF and he is trying to acquire the additional money required to restart the project.
Farming Rice in Gihanga Commune, Project Manager, Ezechiel Manirakiza
This project provided training, employment and much-needed income for 16 jobless, hungry, poor people through the cultivation and sale of rice and, thereby, tried to improve the quality of life for the target group members and the project manager.
The project planted rice in two large fields. The first field has produced its rice and 12 large sacks of rice were harvested and sold. The second field was doing well but developed some unknown problem and was completely lost. There was a third planting and it too was doing well but the irrigation system failed for at least a couple of weeks and about half the harvest was lost.
The project manager acquired a teaching position quite a distance from the Bujumbura and the rice field. The rice growing has ended for now. The project manager saved the money from the last sale of rice (300,000 BIF) and he is looking for a new project idea that can be implemented close to his job at Mweya; perhaps, raising chickens and selling eggs and chickens.
Improving Food Security through Chickens at Karurama, Fidèle Niyoyita
This project was designed to provide training, employment, income, organic fertilizer and improved nutrition for 10 poor and displaced people. The beneficiaries include 8 widows and 2 orphans and the project activities include raising chickens, producing eggs, selling eggs, selling chickens, distributing fertilizer and generating other income producing activities such as vegetable cultivating, basket making and soap making.
Unfortunately, the chickens did not produce eggs as expected and they were sold for meat and the chicken coop was lost because of rain. After some time, the chicken coop has been rebuilt and the project manager will be buying more chickens that are expected to be better egg-producing chickens.
The project has planted and harvested maize (corn) and then planted and harvested sorghum. In another field, the beneficiaries planted tomatoes and just before the harvest there was a large amount of rain and much of the harvest was lost. The remaining tomatoes were shared among the beneficiaries.
The project manager and the beneficiaries still hold some project money and they hope to be able to acquire more chickens and be able to produce and sell eggs. The beneficiaries have saved enough money to rent a field and grow tomatoes again.