Supporting the world’s poor

March 9, 2017 by 1 Comment | Category International Development

International Development Minister Alasdair Allan launched today a new four and a half-year funding round to support for communities in Zambia and Rwanda. In Rwanda, in partnership with Tearfund Scotland, the Scottish Government has helped communities set up businesses and find a way out of poverty.

In this blog post, Tearfund talks about the programme “Ending Poverty One Village at a Time“, run in Rwanda in 2016 thanks to Scottish Government funding.

Tearfund has been actively involved in poverty relief efforts in Rwanda for decades, particularly since the genocide in the early 90s.

Since receiving Scottish Government funding in July 2012, we have been able to expand our impact – working in 233 villages in over 12 districts across Rwanda to empower communities to reduce poverty, hunger, disease and the impact of disasters.

Through the ‘Ending Poverty in One Village at a Time’ project, our partners have been working within communities to identify the challenges which they face, equipping them to respond and bring about lasting change.

Mukashyaka Didanciene is just one woman in one of these villages whose life has been greatly impacted by this project.

After surviving the genocide in 1994 but losing many members of her family, Mukashyaka found herself isolated and was barely able to leave her home. With no source of income, and no family to help her provide for her basic needs, she struggled to survive for a number of years.

When Tearfund arrived in her village, working through their partner organisation AEE, Mukashyaka’s life was completely transformed.

She was invited to join one of 1200 self-help groups which have been set up as a result of this project, and this has enabled her to save together with the group and take out a loan to start up her own banana plantation. She also now has cows which means she can have fertiliser for a vegetable garden which has been her dream for some time.

tearfund self help group EPOVAT Rwanda

Mukashyaka is one of over 35,000 farmers who have been able to improve the quality and quantity of their agricultural produce in the lifetime of this project. ¦ Photo: Chris Hoskins

Another issue identified by her community was safe drinking water. Mukashyaka now has access to clean and safe water, right next to her home, for the first time in her life, alongside 40,000 others who have been supported in this way by Tearfund partners. She has received training and serves as a health animator in her community, providing hygiene advice to other families.

water sanitation Rwanda

Thanks to EPOVAT, realised through Scottish Government funding, 40,000 people have now has access to clean and safe water, right next to her home, for the first time in their life. ¦ Photo: Chris Hoskins

Mukashyaka’s involvement in the self help group has also had a profound effect on her well-being. Working together with others across the community, from both sides of the divide which existed around the time of the genocide, Mukashyaka believes this project has been instrumental in bringing about healing.

“Some people in our group, we used to see them coming to kill us, but today we are sharing a meal on the same table. Before they were part of the hunters, but today we are part of the same group.

“During the day when I’m in that group, when I stand up as a leader, I feel confident and supported. Whenever they mention about orphans of the genocide, I feel like I’m not an orphan, I feel like their leader. I’m no longer an orphan.”

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  • Jacqui Lunday Johnstone says:

    So powerful to hear the stories of those who have directly benefited from this co-production work

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