NEWSLETTER: Updates and Progress Reports on Two New Development Projects

We have updates and progress reports for two of our new development projects; projects that received a development grant earlier this year. The projects, entitled as shown below, are progressing well.

Women Shopkeepers in Buterere Zone, Bujumbura Mairie Province

Supporting Poor Rural Women through Pig Farming in Mutimbuzi Commune, Bujumbura Rural Province

Thanks to Audace MPAWENIMANA and Elise NUWAYO, project managers, and the twenty poor women association members, both projects are making good progress toward meeting their objectives.

Women Shopkeepers in Buterere Zone, Bujumbura Mairie Province: Project Manager, Audace MPAWENIMANA

This carefully thought-out development project was designed and is being guided by a capable, volunteer project manager, Audace MPAWENIMANA. Audace holds a Masters of Business Administration from Hope Africa University. He has successfully served as the volunteer, long term project manager for a previously funded, a three and a half year old development project that makes bricks and grows rice; it is our only development project that works with the Batwa people.

Audace, Project Manager

For this project, Audace has recruited 10 illiterate poor women who did not complete primary school. Through a highly participatory process, the women are being enabled and empowered to improve their living conditions; improve the health, diet, shelter, clothing and education of the women and their families. Through literacy training, business training and investing, the women are being prepared, equipped and supported to become successful shopkeepers.

The women have organized into a self-supporting, self-managing, self-governing and self-sustaining development association. Each woman has been provided with enough capital to rent a stand (a shop), buy equipment and purchase vegetables and  other items for resale through their small shop. The sale of merchandise will produce enough money to continue with the purchasing and selling, supporting their families and supporting the association. As the association builds new capital, other women will be recruited, trained and supported to become shopkeepers.

Project Update

The association of 10 women has been formed and the project is becoming self-governing and self-managing. The association decided to become involved in sewing and selling decorative sheets. The original association has attracted 15 additional women who wanted to join the project. An association meeting was held with the potential new members and, after meeting, it was decided to welcome and accept the 15 new, additional members. The association has decided that next year the association will separate into two associations; the original association and the new association. In the meantime, it was decided that the original members will assist the new members with income generating activities and increase the amount of monthly contributions to the association in order to be better able to invest in the new association next year.

Association Meeting with Original Members and Potential Members
Discussion, Questions and, then, Decisions

The literacy training is well underway. This is our first project to include literacy training. There have been more than 7 literacy training sessions and they are going very well. In about six more months, the women are expected to be literate. The additional, new members will receive literacy training.

Literary Training Is Going Well

All of the 10 first association members have received business training and have become active in small businesses. Five women are selling vegetables; three women are selling other products; and, two women are selling decorated sheets.

Woman at Small Market, Selling Lenga Lenga
Woman at Small Market, Selling Cassava
Woman in Her Shop, Selling Flour and Other Food
Woman in Her Restaurant, Selling Cassava Bread
Woman in Her Shop, Selling Household Goods
Woman at Her Shop, Selling Bicycle Repair Supplies

In addition to the selling vegetables and other products, the project decided to start sewing and selling decorative sheets. All of the 10 original  members are being trained to make the sheets which sell for relatively large  sums of money. The new, additional members will be trained in making decorative sheets.

Trainer Is Association Member and Sews and Sells Her Own Sheets
Women in Training and Sewing Together
Women Sewing on Orders for Decorative Sheets
Member and Trainer, Member Sews and Sells Sheets at Shop
Member Sewing to Fill an Order
Member Sewing Decorative Sheet, Able to Fill Orders

Supporting Poor Rural Women through Pig Farming in Mutimbuzi Commune, Bujumbura Rural Province: Project Manager, Elise NUWAYO

This well-designed development project was proposed by Elise NUWAYO, who previously started her own pig raising project with her own money. Elise holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Community Development from Hope Africa University. She worked at Hope Africa University from 2012 to 2016 but she is currently a student in the Community Development Masters Program and working on her thesis. Elise will serve as a long term volunteer project manager, use her knowledge and experience and gain additional development skills and experience.


The project manager has recruited 10 poor, rural women who agreed to work together to rear pigs and cultivate crops within their own association. The women have developed their own organization and defined their responsibilities and benefits. During the first phase of implementation, the women were trained on rearing pigs, cultivating crops and working cooperatively.

As planned, the women have been given female pigs and assisted in building sheltered, elevated pig pens. The pigs are expected to produce piglets and organic manure. The women are working together in caring for the pigs and the association will decide how to divide, share and allocate the pigs and crops among its members and the association.

After the first year, another group of women will be recruited, assisted with developing their own association, provided with training, assisted in building pig pens and provided with female pigs. By following this project development model, the benefits from the first association will increase the capacities and income for the first group of women and the benefits will be extended to develop the capacities and income for the next associations.

Project Update 

The development is project is well underway. The association has been formed and the training has taken place. The association has regular project meetings as shown below but some women were absent because they were suffering from malaria.

Women at an Association Meeting

The first installment was used to build an elevated, sheltered double pig pen.

Women Building the First Double Pig Pen

With the money from the first installment, five female pigs were purchased. The pigs have reached the stage of maturity that now a male pig has been brought in to ensure the pigs begin to produce piglets.

Three of the First Five Pigs from First Installment

With the second installment of grant money, the women built a second pig pen.

Constructing Another Pig Pen, a Second Double Pig Pen from Second Installment
Second Sheltered Pig Pen

With the second installment of money, two pigs were purchased but there was a delay in purchasing three more because of a contagious viral disease that was affecting pigs in the area. Fortunately, someone promised to provide three more healthy pigs.

Two Pigs from Second Installment
Two More Pigs
Another Pig in Other Pen, 2 + 2 + 1 = 5

Apart from a brief delay in acquiring the last three pigs, the project is proceeding as planned. Early next year, the women expect to have piglets from the first five pigs.

In January, the women expect to have a good supply of manure from the pigs and the third installment of grant money so that the planting of crops can begin. In anticipation of cultivating crops, each woman has been given their own hoe.

Women with Their Own Hoe