Newsletter: It’s Development

At my own expense, I am going to Burundi again and I am going for two months this time.  I am going a bit early so that I have some time to travel around Burundi and get to know the country better.  I should be able to visits to our development projects again. 

As usual, I will be teaching my Community Needs Assessment course at Hope Africa University in January, only this time it will be within their new masters program in social work and community development.  So, before I leave, I am putting out this newsletter to keep everyone informed on the five development projects and some other developments.

Improved Food Security at Kabezi, Project Managers, Marie Nadège Twagirayezu and Anicet Nyandwi

The project managers are both graduates of the Department of Social Work and Community Development at Hope Africa University.  They used their theses on female school dropouts and female early marriage in designing their very well-conceived project.  The project involves five women who live in an area that was seriously affected by the war; the inhabitants moved away from their homes to seek safety with others and the rebels and soldiers devastated their livestock and crops.  Although the fighting ended years ago, the area is still in a serious recovery period.

Each of the five poor women has been given a female goat and all the goats have conceived.  One of the goats has had kids and, uncommonly, this goat had three kids!  As is the aim of the project, the project managers have advised the woman with the goat and three kids to give two of the kids to two other needy women in the community.

Women and Their Goats








The other part of food security pertains to crops: soybeans, corn and beans.  The women have been trained and encouraged to be involved with composting.  The project managers have rented a parcel of land as a planting demonstration site.  The women have been given seed and the demonstration site will bring the women together to be trained in the use of compost and planting and caring for soybeans, corn and beans.  The project managers note that the demonstration site is an efficient way of providing the training for all five women and bringing the women together to the demonstration site builds solidarity.

Welding Workshop at Buterere, Project Manager, Kilongo Banyakwa, Project Secretary, Henry Milenge

Buterere is a new part of Bujumbura, an area where recent arrivals settle, and it is considered to be the poorest part of Bujumbura.  The project is designed to produce windows for the building that is taking place in the area.  The project employs two welders and provides training to young men in the neighborhood.  Accordingly, the project aims to establish a welding business and provide employment and training.

The project has found a location to rent, paid for electricity to made be available and purchased a welding machine, a grinder and materials.  The project has received and filled orders.  For October, the income was slightly higher than the expenses.

For welding and grinding, the project is dependent on the availability of electricity.  The power goes down in Bujumbura and now a new rationing system has been established because the demand for electricity outweighs the supply.  The lack of electricity adversely affects the welding, grinding and training.

Adding to the challenges, the landlord for the land being used as a “workshop” has announced an increase in rent.  Kilongo, the project manager, is looking for another site.

Farming Goats at Gatwe, Project Manager, Jean Claude Ngendakumana

This project is located upcountry near Mwaro.  The project has identified six poor and needy widows as the primary target group.  The project has already acquired six adult female goats and the project will provide goats to the six widows.  I was recently informed that the six goats are doing well and one of them has had a male kid that is in good condition.  Once the other goats have kids, the distribution of goats to the widows will take place.

The project will also provide assistance in understanding malnutrition, raising crops and increasing yields.  There has been one session on malnutrition and another one will be held this month.  The widows have already been provided training in composting and they are composting.  The agricultural training will begin in February before the time for planting. 

Tailoring for Women at Kinama (formerly Nyanza-lac), Project Manager, Christine Kamirameya

As previously reported, the sewing project ran into problems in Nyanza-lac.  The project manager lives in Bujumbura and she was trying to manage the project from a great distance away.  In January, John made a field visit to the project to confirm the importance of relocating and restoring the project.  John had a very serious discussion with the project manager and asked her to respond positively to the challenge of relocating and restoring the project.

The project manager has responded to the challenge.  First, she moved the three sewing machines to Bujumbura so they would be safe.  Then, she located a Free Methodist Church that would allow her to use their property to construct a sewing shop.  Somehow, Christine secured the resources to acquire two specialized sewing machines and the resources to pay for the required bricks, roofing and construction.

Rev. Van Valin, a member of the North American Governing Committee, was able to meet Christine and visit the project as the workshop was being built in July.  The construction is now complete and the project has been restored on a closer-to-home, smaller, more focused and manageable basis.  Since July, there have been three women involved with a trainer teaching sewing skills and the project manager teaching life skills.  All three women are very poor; one is a widow, one has an alcoholic husband and the other has an unemployed husband.

Woman Sewing








The women have developed basic sewing skills and they have made robes, skirts and blouses.  Christine has invited John to attend a graduation ceremony in January.  John has accepted the invitation to participate in the graduation during the time he will be teaching at Hope Africa University.  Christine is also interested in ensuring the women have access to a sewing machine after graduation; she is looking for donors to buy machines for the women and John is encouraging her to develop a way of permitting the women to have access to the project’s three sewing machines.

Pig Farming at Muyebe, Project Managers, Eddyne Irankunda and Evelyne Kanyana

In September and with John’s direct involvement, it was determined that at this stage the pig project cannot produce enough income to meet the expenses; the pigs eat a lot of food and main source of income is selling pigs.  The project managers have decided to transform and relocate their project.  They are in the mist of selling off their pigs at Muyebe and planning to become involved with egg-laying chickens in Bujumbura.

The adult male pig, the two adult female pigs and some of the remaining piglets have been sold.  The project is actively seeking a buyer or buyers for their last two piglets.  The project managers have located a place in the Bujumbura area (where they live) to hold their chickens.  When the last two piglets are sold, the project managers will use the proceeds and the money they have left to invest in egg-laying chickens.

Third Call for Proposals

In the very near future, the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund will announce another Call for Proposals for the Student Grants Program.  We are hoping to provide support for more development projects proposed by students and/or recent graduates of Hope Africa University.  The North American Governing Commitee has approved the funding of three projects or, if warranted,  four projects.   Hopefully, the African Governing Committee will  be able to review the proposals and recommend funding for three or four new development projects before I return to North America in mid-February.

Second Call for Donations

To ensure that the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund is able to continue to support Hope Africa University students and recent graduates to implement capacity building, sustainable development projects, we are posting this second Call for Donations. The project reports demonstrate that a great deal can be done to provide very practical development experience and benefits for students and recent graduates and the needy people they serve. A lot can be done to improve lives through development projects. A $1,500.00 development grant goes a long way in Burundi; it is not charity, it is a real investment in the lives and futures of real people.

Following Thanksgiving, a time to count our blessings, heading toward Christmas, a time to give to others, and nearing the end of the tax year, it is a timely opportunity to make a donation. If you are willing and able, please consider making a donation to the Student Grants Program of the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund.

With a donation of $1,500.00, you can sponsor a full development project. For $500.00 you can sponsor a “share” of a development project and with any gift, large or small, you will be a very important contributor to improving the lives of students and recent graduates of Hope Africa University and needy people in Burundian communities. Your donation is tax deductable and every dollar you give will be spent entirely on supporting development projects rather than administration.

If you are going to make a financial contribution, please use one of the links below to print the appropriate donation form.

Donation form for donations in Canada

Donation form for donations in the United States