Last Friday, Hope Africa University held its annual graduation ceremonies. This event reminds me that it has been a full year since I was at Hope Africa University, participating in the graduation ceremonies. I really miss being able to be in Burundi. In spite of a global pandemic, our development activities continue.
This Newsletter provides an update on our donors and donations, an introduction to a new agriculture development project and a progress report on an existing development project.
UPDATE ON OUR DONORS AND DONATIONS
As you will appreciate, we need to ensure that the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund has enough money so that we can keep pursuing our important development work in Burundi. Although our development projects are designed to become self-supporting and self-sustaining, we need money for start-up, one-time grants for new projects. Ordinarily, our newsletters focus on providing progress updates and photographs on our development projects. Fortunately, we have not needed to have our newsletters routinely focussed on soliciting donations or marketing products. At the end of last year; however, we found it necessary to use our newsletters and some e-mail messages to former donors and potential donors to try to increase our donors and donations.
Although we did not raise a large amount of money or recruit a large number of new donors, we are pleased to report that we were successful in raising enough money to be able to continue with our development work for the next year. We received donations of varying amounts from almost all of our previous donors in the United States and we added a few new donors. For those of you who donated and those of you who encouraged your family members, friends and/or contacts to donate, thank you very, very much!
We still have relatively few donors and relatively little money but we have enough money to continue with our development work of providing start-up development/investment grants for new projects and providing some support services for our existing development projects.
We have more good news. With support from all of the authors, I have been collecting the royalties from sales of the book entitled, John Wesley Haley and Building the Indigenous Church (an indigenous church is self-supporting, self-propagating and self-governing). As part of publishing, we promised to give all of the proceeds from the sale of the book to the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund so that the money could be invested in more development projects in Burundi. We are pleased to let you know that the dedicated “book” account recently moved to slightly above $1,500.00; the amount of money we provide for a one-time, start-up investment grant for a new development project. Accordingly, $1,500.00 was recently deposited in our Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund account at the Free Methodist Foundation.
INTRODUCTION TO A NEW DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
In 2019, the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund had a Special Call for Proposals, aimed at the graduates of Hope Africa University’s Community Development Master’s Program. We received one proposal that looked promising but required some reconsideration. For a variety of reasons, it took quite a bit of time before the project proposal was revised, completed and finalized but the would-be project manager remained positive and cooperative in enhancing the project plans. In early February, the final project proposal was submitted, reviewed, evaluated and recommended for a development grant. The project has recently received its first installment of the money from the grant and the project is just starting its implementation.
- Supporting Vulnerable Women of Rubirizi, Mutimbuzi by Cultivating Rice and Breeding Goats (2021), Project Manager: Viola NSHEMEZIMANA
The project was developed by Viola NSHEMEZIMANA who holds a Master’s Degree in Community Development from Hope Africa University and who works in Human Resources for Hope Africa University.
The primary target group for this development project is 6 poor and vulnerable women from Rubirizi Zone in Mutimbuzi Commune, Bujumbura Rural. As poor and vulnerable women, they generally do not own any land or animals. As women, they hold considerable responsibility for meeting the needs of their families, including feeding themselves and their family members.
The purposes of the project include reducing poverty and empowering women by developing an association, cultivating rice, breeding goats, working in other farmers’ fields and setting-up their own microfinancing system.
To ensure the 6 beneficiaries work together well for their own development, the women must join the project association and sign an agreement, promising to contribute harmoniously to the association and its work and development activities. The association is expected to become self-supporting, self-managing, self-governing and self-sustaining.
From the one-time grant, the Project Manager and the Association will have enough money to rent a rice field for two seasons and cover the expenses for cultivating rice. For each harvest, 30% of the rice will be shared among the beneficiaries and 70% will be sold in order produce enough money for the Association to be self-supporting for the continuation of rice cultivation for the next seasons.
Using money from the start-up grant, the Project Manager and the Association will buy 6 female goats that will belong to the Association. Each member will care for a goat. When the goats have kids, the members of the Association will own and keep the first generation kid and they will own its offspring. The original mother goat and the next generations will belong to the Association. The goats will serve as an important potential source of income for the Association and the individual members of the Association; when money is needed a goat can and will be sold.
To help sustain the Association, the members will organize themselves to work for other farmers to earn money to be put into the Association’s account. On their earnings, 70% will be given to the Association and 30% will be shared among members who did the work.
To sustain the beneficiaries, each member will contribute 400 BIF per month from her own resources. This money will be placed in the Association’s account for an internal microfinancing system. Three individuals will be chosen by the members of the Association to serve as signatories. Once the Association has enough money, the members will be able to borrow money for income generating activities and repay the money with low interest. After each year, the members will share the accumulated interest from the savings and loans but the core capital will remain in the account. These credits and interests will help the members to increase their personal revenue and help to reduce poverty for themselves and their families.
Using some of the grant money, the Project Manager and the Association have already rented a rice field and the women are preparing to plant rice. Stay tuned for a progress report with action photographs.
PROGRESS REPORT ON AN EXISTING DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
In response to our Call for Proposals 2019, we received and reviewed 15 proposals. As part of the evaluation, the Burundi Advisory Committee conducted interviews with four would-be project managers. All four proposals were recommended and received development grants. The progress report below is on one of the development projects.
- Supporting and Sustaining Livelihoods of Widows and Orphans at Rubirizi (2019), Project Manager: Barthelemy MINANI
The volunteer Project Manager for this productive agriculture development project is Barthelemy MINANI; a graduate of the Social Work and Community Development Program at Hope Africa University and a graduate student in the Community Development Master’s Program.
The purposes of this project are to increase the income of widows and orphans, make food available, reduce malnutrition and build social cohesion through cultivating crops and farming goats. The 15 beneficiaries are organized into an Association. They have weekly meetings to discuss about the issues of the group. To be productive and self-supporting, the women must work as a team. In addition to the agriculture development activities, the project has health training and microfinancing.
The Association’s main crops are maize (corn), soya beans, rice and cassava. The Haley McCready Outreach Development Fund grant money provided a start in renting fields, buying fertilizers, hoes and other related agricultural inputs and the members contributed through their own labor. Now the cultivating of crops must be self-supporting, meaning part of the harvests must be sold to support the continuation of crop cultivation and the remaining portion is shared among the beneficiaries. The members now work in strong cohesion.
The members of to the Association discussed the sharing of the harvest of maize, soya beans and rice. They decided to share equally 450kg of maize, 30kg of soya beans and 300kg of rice The rest was sold and the Association generated 2.624.000 BIF and the money is kept on the Association’s secure account.
The project grant money provided 15 female goats for the 15 Association members. The farming of goats supports crop cultivation because the goats produce local, natural fertilizer. Farming goats will also more directly provide support for the beneficiaries and their families. When a beneficiary has three or four goats, they will be able to sell a goat and generate quite a lot of money and, hopefully, the sold goat will soon be replaced by the birth of a new baby goat. The Association currently has 15 adult goats and 9 kids for a total of 24 goats. Some of the goats are pregnant and more kids are expected in the near future.
The Association members are trained on the importance of preventing diseases. The Project Manager facilitated workshops with the Association members on practicing good hygiene, focusing on washing hands, using nets, toilettes and acquiring Health Care Cards Insurance.
The period of COVID-19 came when members already had information about hygiene and hand-washing techniques. The women reported that they are happy with the project and are thankful to the donors.
The Association has a special microfinancing account for social support. Each member contributes 1000 BIF per week. The Association has already assisted 25 of its members and other members of the community with an amount of more than 60.000 BIF. The borrowed money is reimbursed with 5% interest. This is one of the ways of fostering the development principles of self-support and self-sustainability.
This is my first time to own a goat. This gives me value in my family and the neighborhood. Owning a goat is a benefit to the family. I now get fertilizer to rehabilitate my small land and also have local fertilizer to maintain my crops healthy. In the near future, selling a goat will provide money to help my family to address some basic needs. I really thank the association and the supporting organization.