After the first students graduated from the Hope Africa University Community Development Master’s Program in February of 2018, the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund decided to have a Special Call for Proposals, exclusively for the first graduates. The Special Call for Proposals was aimed at providing graduates with practical community development experience. Two of the proposed projects received start-up grants and the projects are well underway. Please review the updates below that include progress reports and photographs.
- Supporting Poor and Vulnerable Women by Raising Pigs and Cultivating Crops at Kajaga in Mutimbuzi Commune, Project Manager: Aimé Fidèle NINGEJEJE
This project recruited 10 jobless poor women with the assistance of the local administrative personnel from Mutimbuzi Commune. The women are organized into an association called Turashoboye (“We Are Able”). The project bought materials and paid for the construction of a central pig pen. Initially, the project purchased two male pigs and two females pigs. From the first sets of piglets, one of the female piglets will be distributed to each of the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries will be supported in building pig pens, caring for the pigs and developing a herd of pigs. The project rented four fields; one field for rice and three for beans and other crops. The beneficiaries collectively prepare the fields, do the planting, apply the fertilizer, do the weeding and complete the harvest. Some of the harvest is shared among the members, some is kept for seed and the largest portion is sold with the money going to the Association. By working together in a highly participatory fashion, the project is becoming self-supporting, self-managing and self-governing. In time, the project is expected to spawn another extension project of its own kind.
About the Animals
A pig pen composed with four different stalls has been built and 2 male pigs and 2 female pigs have been purchased. The pigs are being fed by the women in the Association. Each woman has her day of taking care of the pigs. This means that she has to search for waste foods and grasses. The rest of the feeding, especially in the evening, is done by the watchman.
About the Crops
All the beans have been harvested but the yield was less than expected because of heavy rains which destroyed the flowers. The harvest from the two small bean fields was distributed among the members of Association for their own consumption.
Once the beans are harvested, the Association members must separate the bean pods from the stems.
When harvested, some of the pods are dry and some are still green. The Association members organise themselves into small groups to separate the dry pods from the green pods so the green pods can be dried properly.
Once the bean pods are dry, the women organise themselves into small groups to beat the dry pods to extract beans.
After beating the pods, extracting the beans and separating the husks from the beans, the beans are ready for sale and consumption.
The harvest from the large bean field produced 150 kilograms of beans. The members decided to sell the harvest and keep money. The beneficiaries harvested 80 kilograms of rice and half was shared among the members and the other half was sold. All of the money was deposited into the Association’s account. Overall, the members of the association were very happy about the harvest and the beneficiaries have started to realise the importance being in the Association.
The Project Manager is going to work with the members of the Association and start microfinancing activities. He will sit with them and they will decide the amount and the schedule for the women to contribute their membership fees. The contributions will increase the amount of money in the project account. The Association will start providing loans to members for self’-help and income-generation. The loans will be repaid with 5% interest.
The Association is well organised. The members plan activities and execute them with or without the Project Manager’s direct involvement. The women have come to realise the importance of working in groups. They are connected and support each other. Despite the climate challenges that affect the harvests, the members are able to face their daily challenges. They are creating their own ways to support their families.
- Supporting Batwa Women in Breeding Goats and Cultivating Rice at Rubirizi in Mutimbuzi Commune, Project Manager: Guillaume GAHUNGU
The majority of Batwa, particularly the women, live in difficult conditions without land and in the greatest poverty. This project has recruited 14 women who are organized into an Association and who signed an agreement to contribute to the Association’s activities. The project and the Association are expected to become self-supporting, self-managing and self-governing.
The project has purchased 14 goats. The distribution system ensured that each woman has her own goat. The project is expected to produce enough goats to start a new project of Batwa women.
The project rented 2 rice fields of about half a hectare. All the beneficiaries collectively prepared the soil, seeded the nursery, planted the small plants, fertilized the plants, irrigated the fields and harvested the rice. Some of the rice will be kept for seed, some will be distributed among the members and most of the rice will be sold with the proceeds going to the Association.
All the Batwa women are responsible for breeding goats and cultivating rice. Members of the Association meet once a week to discuss activities of the Association. They are happy to be together, to work together and to share openly in the life of the Association.
All the 14 beneficiaries now have a goat. Some of the goats are about to have baby goats. Below is a sample of the goats that are being taken care of by the members.
The project has rented 2 rice fields of about half a hectare. The work in these fields is the responsibility of the women. Of course, the beneficiaries must prepare the soil for planting. The photograph below shows the women digging the soil.
In the meantime, the women have prepared nurseries to sprout the rice and develop small rice plants (seedlings for transplanting to the larger part of the rice field).
After they have prepared the field, they pool water in to prepare for the transplanting of rice. The picture below shows women transplanting rice to the larger field.
To get enough harvest, one needs to weed the field. Bad grasses can start growing in the rice fields and they need to be removed and thrown away to give way to the rice plants. Farmers need to fertilize the fields. The picture below show one of the women removing the bad grasses and spreading grains of fertilizer in the rice field.
The Project Manager continues to strengthen and guide the team of beneficiaries. Members of the Association feel happy because they now own their goat and have the use of land which was not the case before the project started. Through the weekly meetings, the members are connected and they are part of a working team.