Jean Marie M. is a 36 years old father of 6 children, 5 girls and 1 boy. He is living in Myatino village, Urugarama cell, Gahini sector, Kayonza district. Jean Bosco is a USAID Twiyubake program beneficiary and also a community based volunteer (CBV) overseeing saving groups. He also coordinates all CBVs in his cell.

During the ISLG sessions, Jean Marie gained a lot of skills and knowledge about business development especially from the community finance initiative trainings. This increased his aspirations to start a business.

When the USAID Twiyubake program switched from cash payment to online transfer for payments, program beneficiaries opened a mobile money account to receive those payments.

Jean Marie saw an opportunity to start a fruitful business as a mobile money agent. He bought a phone for Rwf 15,000 (US $ 17) using the money he had got from selling his vegetables from the kitchen gardens at his house. He took a loan of Rwf 25,000 (US $ 29) from his saving group Inshuti z’umurimo, and took Rwf 55,000 (US $ 64) he earned from his banana and maize yield.

He started with a capital of Rwf 80,000 (US $ 94) and shortly afterwards, he got 20 customers. His capital increased quickly because he transferred the money for many Twiyubake beneficiaries. He now has reached an operating capital of Rwf 200,000 (US $ 234).

In June 2016, Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Rwanda (FXB) established the USAID Twiyubake supported Tuzamurane saving group located in Rusisiro village, Kayenzi cell, Kagogo sector, Burera district. The program trained the saving group on financial literacy and the saving with education methodology. Kagogo sector is among sectors designed to receive USAID Twiyubake household economic strengthening (HES) – only services, so the saving group is not receiving any additional services from the program. The group is composed of 21 members - 11 females and 10 men.

In only one year, the members were able to improve the socio-economic status of their households. They managed to share out Rwf 2,800,000 (US $ 3,289) after one year of saving and received a match on their savings of Rwf 1,200,000 (US $ 1,409) from the program. The group was motivated by their progress and started to think of starting an income generating activity. When they started their second saving cycle on August 17th 2017, their aim was to save enough to start viable small businesses that would generate income for their group and families. Following a brief survey of the market and discussions among members, the group opted to invest in a basket weaving business. They hired a trainer to teach them how to weave baskets and bought materials from the saved money to get started. The members also started individual businesses and used these as outlets to sell the baskets.

Within only four months after starting their second saving cycle, and starting their weaving business, the group managed to accumulate savings of Rwf 1,206,000 (US $ 1,417). Every week, members generate a minimum of Rwf 14,000 (US $ 16) from their personal business, in addition to selling the baskets.

The lives of group members have changed significantly. Everyone in the group has a goat and an additional personal income generating activity. Their living conditions have been transformed and they are no longer struggling to have something to eat as it was before the program intervened. They are able to meet the basic needs of all their children. The group has a bank account at Umurenge SACCO and has applied for a loan to further invest in the basket weaving business. Different stakeholders are promising to help them find markets for their baskets.

Recently, the group conducted a market survey and found out that in their area there is no milk collection center. They are now planning to establish a small milk collection center, as a second group income generating activity. They plan to invest around Rwf 2,500,000 (US $ 2,937) in this project. The group has already taken the first step towards this goal and has obtained a written permit and approval from the district authorities. They are currently working closely with the sector to find a house where they can set up the business and start collecting milk from local farmers. This project is expected to start in February 2018. The group has become a useful avenue for members to converge and discuss their challenges, and find ways to overcome them.

David T., 24 years, is living in Nyamasheke district, Cyato sector, Bisumo Cell, Munini village. He is member of the USAID Twiyubake youth saving group and is gratefull for the training on workforce readiness he received where he was taught about job creation out of small investments. He used to consider himself as the poorest in the village and often asked himself how to get out of this poverty.

He had 15,000 Rwf from a job he used to do and borrowed 30,000 Rwf from the saving group. With 45,000 Rwf, he opened a small barber shop in November 2016 and signed a contract with Mobisol Rwanda Ltd to purchase a solar powered shaver, a solar panel and a battery for 150,000 Rwf to be paid within one year in monthly installments of 12,500 Rwf.

He then rented a house to start the business. His business became profitable, he earned 15,000 Rwf per month, paid back 12,500 Rwf and saved 2,500 Rwf per month. He has already cleared all the loans from the saving group and Mobisol Rwanda Ltd and was able to save 30,000 Rwf after one year in the saving group. He is expecting to increase his saving share in 2018.

Two young girls explain how the USAID Twiyubake youth saving group Twishyirehamwe Twiyubake Miko helped them to become financially independent. They both attended a training on workforce readiness

 

Francine, 22 years, lives in Kabisheshe village, Miko cell, Karengera sector, Nyamasheke district.

Prior to entering into the Twiyubake program, she had an opportunity to attend a three month tailoring short course but after completion of the course she was not able to afford any materials to work in her profession.

When Caritas Rwanda established the saving group in July 2016 in her village, she started saving at least 150 Rwf every week and was then trained in work readiness.

In September 2016, she borrowed 20,000 Rwf refundable in two months. From this money, she bought a chicken and rented a sewing machine. After three months, the chicken laid eggs which she sold. This helped her to increase her savings in a way that she was able to take another loan to buy a pig which gave her piglets which she sold. From this money, she paid back the loan and remained with 10,000 Rwf. She then borrowed 67,000 Rwf and added the 10,000 Rwf she was remaining to buy her own sewing machine. Now, her business is going well and her life improved. Her goal for 2018 is to have a tailoring shop

Josiane lives in the same village. She used to sell cassava roots but was not able to manage well the revenue. She borrowed 32,000 Rwf and added 68,000 Rwf she was able to gain from her cassava business to get 100,000 Rwf. She bought two cows from this money. Her cassava root business goes well. Today she is trusting herself and is confident.

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