In 2023, the US-based Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund (HMODF) provided one-time, start-up grants to three new agriculture development projects. One of the three Project Managers is new but the other two are experienced, successful Project Managers. In addition to the Project Managers, we are trying to ensure that each of our new agriculture development projects have working connections with a Graduate of the new Hope Africa University (HAU) Agriculture Program who is from the same commune as the project.
- Supporting Vulnerable Women of Gitunga Colline, Kayokwe Commune, Mwaro Province by Cultivating Crops and Breeding Pigs, Project Manager: Liliane BUTOYI
- Supporting Vulnerable Women and Single Mothers in Cultivating Crops and Breeding Pigs at Gasenyi in Mutimbuzi Commune, Bujumbura Province, Project Manager: Epithace NDUWAYO
- Breeding Goats and Cultivating Crops for Vulnerable Women from Muzinda Zone, Rugazi Commune, Bubanza Province, Project Manager: Viola NSHEMEZIMANA
We are thankful for the support that Rector Victor BARANTOTA and Agriculture Program Head Cyprien NTUNZWENIMANA have provided for connecting Graduates of the new HAU Agriculture Program with the new HMODF Projects.
Project Progress Reports
The reports below are based on written progress reports and recent onsite visits by the Project Manager for each project and two other HMODF Project Managers; Prosper NIYONGERE or Desire NSENGIYUMVA, Program Coordinator Dieudonne IRAMBONA and Program Director John McCready.
Dedication of a Project in Memory of Rev. Burton Hamilton
In our last Newsletter, we announced that Rev. Burton Hamilton had resigned because of health reasons and now we must announce that he died in August. Beginning in 2011, Burton Hamilton was one of the founding members of the Advisory Committee of the US-based Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund (HMODF). Burton was a great supporter of social justice and he was a strong and enthusiastic supporter of the HMODF and its poverty-alleviating agriculture development projects.
Burton freely shared his knowledge, skills, experience and wisdom. The Advisory Committee Members are so grateful for the significant and lasting contributions that Burton Hamilton made to the development of the HMODF and its solid foundation that will continue to serve the HMODF beneficiaries very well and long into the future.
The Advisory Committee Members have selected and dedicated one of our three new HMODF agriculture development projects as a special project; a project dedicated to the memory and the contributions of Rev. Burton Hamilton.
- Supporting Vulnerable Women of Gitunga Colline, Kayokwe Commune, Mwaro Province by Cultivating Crops and Breeding Pigs
This project is a fitting choice because it is being implemented near Muyebe; the first Free Methodist Church mission station in Burundi and the one that was started in 1935 by the first Free Methodist Church missionaries to Burundi; John Wesley Haley and Jenny (Hamilton) Haley.
We think this project is a good choice because it builds on our proven agriculture development project model that will allow the project and its association members to become self-supporting, self-managing, self-governing and self-sustaining long into the future. In addition to the Project Manager, the project has a working connection with a recent Graduate of the new Hope Africa University (HAU) Agriculture Program and, thereby, increases the chances that the beneficiaries will learn to use and benefit from modern more productive agriculture methods (see the project progress report below).
Dedicated to the Memory of Rev. Burton Hamilton
- Supporting Vulnerable Women of Gitunga Colline, Kayokwe Commune, Mwaro Province by Cultivating Crops and Breeding Pigs
Project Manager: Liliane BUTOYI, Graduate and Employee of Hope Africa University
Connected HAU Agriculture Program Graduate: Alfred BIKORIMANA
The present project is at Gitunga Colline, in Muyebe Zone, Kayokwe Province, Mwaro Province. Its goal is to alleviate poverty by supporting vulnerable women to generate income by cultivating crops, breeding pigs and microfinancing. To achieve the goal, the women are organized into a Project Association so that they can work together and be able to fulfil their basic needs. Through the Association and capacity development, the project and the beneficiaries are expected to become self-supporting and self-sustaining. This project is fortunate to have a working connection with an HAU Agriculture Program Graduate in the same Colline; Alfred BIKORIMANA.
Burton Hamilton suggested that we should sometimes include photographs of children to show our readers, our donors and our potential donors that our projects benefit the families of the project beneficiaries (about 60% of children in Burundi are chronically malnourished).
Organizing the Association
The Project Manager held a number of meetings to explain the project and describe the work of the association.
There are 10 project beneficiaries and they have accepted to work together in an association. The association is called INGUVU ASSOCIATION, meaning the “GREAT ASSOCIATION.” This is to agree that the association will be a strong one. All of he beneficiaries have agreed to the rules of the association and signed the agreement to work faithfully and cooperatively with the other members. The association members have elected their officers; a President, Vice-president, Secretary, Treasurer and two Counsellors.
After receiving the first instalment, the Project Manager presented the money to the beneficiaries to count. They have seen the total of amount given on the receipt and they signed it. The Project Manager and the association members selected and rented two fields. One field is about a hectare and is being used to for cultivating potatoes and the other field is about a quarter hectare and it is being used to for cultivating maize (corn). With expertise and assistance from Alfred NIKORIMANA, the connected HAU Agriculture Program Graduate, the beneficiaries were able to learn and use modern more productive methods for cultivating the the potatoes and corn.
To protect the project, the HMODF requires that the crop cultivation function produces successful harvests and becomes self-supporting before the second installment of money can be distributed to purchase pigs. The breeding of pigs will provide the association and the beneficiaries with a second important, income-generating function and, thereby, ensure the project will become self-supporting and self-sustaining.
To develop capital for the microfinancing functions, all of the beneficiaries are contributing 1,000 francs per month. The money is used to provide low-interest, repayable loans for family needs and income-generating activities. Although there a small but growing amount of money, already there has been some loans given to some beneficiaries.
- Supporting Vulnerable Women and Single Mothers in Cultivating Crops and Breeding Pigs at Gasenyi in Mutimbuzi Commune, Bujumbura Province
Project Manager: Epithace NDUWAYO, Graduate of Hope Africa University
Connected HAU Agriculture Program Graduate: Jean Luc NKURUNZIZA
This project is being implemented at Gasenyi Colline, Mutimbuzi Commune in Bujumbura Province, located in the northern part of the City of Bujumbura. In this locality, the Project Manager observed many women abandoned by their husbands as well as single mothers who are struggling in caring for their respective families. Most of them are hopeless of life and live in extreme poverty. They are not able to support their needs and take care of their children. They live very complicated lives and their minds are not open to development activities and they underestimate themselves. Although some vulnerable women and single mothers have the capacity to work, they continue to face several constraints that limit their participation in agriculture development. The lack of access to land, access to capital and their lack of skills for value addition are some issues that limit the participation of vulnerable women and single mothers in some development activities.
The goal of this project is to put women together, teach them how they can overcome their vulnerability through working together, changing their mindset and providing them with the opportunity to engage in agriculture developmental activities. The project will replace traditional agriculture methods by teaching the women modern, more productive ways of farming crops and breeding animals. The project is expected to change the women’s economic status and, thereby, allow all of them to become self-supporting.
Developing the Project Association
This project started in September 2023 with 7 beneficiaries. The project is based on agro-pastoral activities and aims to improve the socio-economic conditions of vulnerable women and single mothers through their HARAGEZE Association (“It’s Time Association”).
In agreeing to join the association, the women needed to agree to work well with the other members, meet the expectations and sign an agreement. The association members democratically elected officers; a President, Secretary and Treasurer. The association and its members are expected to become self-supporting, self-governing and self-sustaining.
At the beginning the project, the Project Manager helped the association members rent two fields for one full year. All the activities relating to crop cultivation, like digging, planting and weeding, are the responsibility of the beneficiaries.
The HARAGAZE Association is currently cultivating maize (corn) and beans. For this first season, some of the grant money was used to buy seeds and fertilizer. The women will cultivate lenga lenga (amaranth) in the summer, followed by cultivating maize and beans again for the second planting season.
After the harvest of maize and beans, the project intends to share some of the harvest among the beneficiaries and their families, sell the rest and deposit the generated income in the association’s account.
To ensure that the success of the project through the central crop cultivation function, the HMODF requires each project to demonstrate that the cultivating of crops has become successful and self-supporting before the second installment of grant money can be used to buy animals. It is expected that after the harvests from the two fields, crop cultivation will be self-supporting and the second installment can be distributed in support of purchasing three adult female pigs. By having, breeding and selling pigs, the association and its members will have another important income-generating function to sustain the project.
Microfinancing is an important element which helps any association grow and reinforce the social cohesion. In their weekly meetings, each woman is expected to contribute 1,000 BIF of her own money. To ensure the security of money, the association has opened an account at the COOPEC. The money from the contributions will be used to provide loans for income-generating activities and other purposes. The borrowed money must be returned with 5% of interest.
The project has a special plan to help a number of additional vulnerable and single mothers located at Gasenyi in Mutimbuzi Commune. In the coming years, the HARAGEZE Association plans to start and support a new association of vulnerable women and single mothers.
In conclusion, everyone is responsible of his or her life either good or bad. In our association, we will help and continue to encourage vulnerable women and single mothers to understand that their principal role is to change and improve their lives and become increasingly involved in self-help.
- Breeding Goats and Cultivating Crops for Vulnerable Women from Muzinda Zone, Rugazi Commune, Bubanza Province
Project Manager: Viola NSHEMEZIMANA, Graduate and Employee of Hope Africa University
Connected HAU Agriculture Program Graduate: Fredieve NIYONYISHU
This project is located at Muzinda zone in Rugazi Commune, Bubanza Province. It aims at empowering poor and vulnerable women by gathering them into an association and encouraging them to work together in order to address their daily issues and improve their socio economic development. The main activities of the project are crop cultivation, animal husbandry and microfinancing.
Setting up the Association
After several meetings to explain the work of the association and the conditions, the Project Manager selected 8 vulnerable women. They agreed to work together in an association named ‘UMUGORE NKINGI Y’ITERAMBERE’, literally meaning the woman is the pillar of development. Each association member signed an agreement and they elected officers; a President, Secretary and Treasurer.
For transparency and credibility purposes, the Project Manager presented the first installment money to the beneficiaries so it could be counted and verified before it was deposited in the account.
The association members have rented two fields for two seasons so they can cultivate cassava and maize (corn), using modern more productive agriculture methods. Some of the grant money was used to purchase hoes, manure, fertilizer, selected seeds and other supplies.
Concerning the breeding of goats, each member will care for a female goat that belongs to the association. When the goats have baby goats, the members of the association will keep the first generation as their own. The mother and the next generations will belong to the association. The goats will serve as a package for supporting the life of the project, the association and its members.
At this reporting time, the beneficiaries already have 141 490,145 490 BIF. The beneficiaries will start to get some loans after six months of saving. During that period, the beneficiaries will be able to become known as honest and faithful. For now, the money is kept on the bank account. Soon, the association members will be able to get loans for income-generating activities and other purposes. The loans much be returned with a small amount of interest.
Until the Next Time
At the end of the onsite visit and before leaving, the beneficiaries, the guests and the Project Manager agreed to a “family” photograph.
Please consider investing in self-supporting and self-sustaining agriculture development projects that work, please visit our donations section; Donations – Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund (haleymccreadyfund.com).