Andrea from the Co-operative College has written a great blog all about her recent visit to Rwanda and the difference our training will make to the lives of the individuals and communities involved.
I have just returned for a week long scoping visit to Southern Rwanda where I carried out a needs assessment. The Tearfund project titled “sustainable agriculture and economic development” will be working with 1,500 self-help groups. As an associate for the Cooperative College and delivery partner of Tearfund it is my role to develop training manuals in business and financial skills, value chains and cooperative governance in order to supports members of the self-help groups to start up their own micro businesses and collectively work their way out of poverty.
During my time in Rwanda I meet with several groups who have already started out on their learning journeys and have been able to make significant differences to theirs and their families lives. One such person was Daniel. You can read his story below.
We have been a Self Help Group since 2012. When we started we were very poor, we could only save 10p per week per member. Now we save 60p per week per member. Through training we have learnt to identify resources within ourselves, how to build relationships and how to save and lend money. Now each and every member has a cow. This is significant for Rwandans for many reasons, it represents security and fertility. We have food security as we can now have milk from the cows, and we now have fertile lands as we can fertilise our land with the cow manure. Before none of us could harvest 30kg of beans, now we grow 300kg. In addition to this my cow has given birth 4 times, so I have been able to sell the offspring. With the surplus produce we harvest we are able to sell this and earn some money. We have now all paid for health insurance (£3 per person per year) and 2 of the members who were landless have borrowed money to buy land. It is so motivating. We aim to become a cooperative.
Through the training, which will be conducted over four and half years, we hope to help transform people’s lives in the same way as Daniels. Through their love to learn, we will equip them with the knowledge and skills to change their lives for the better.