Bosco M., is 33 years old. He is living with his wife and three children in Remera sector, Musanze district. One year after his marriage, a conflict arose between him and his wife, Maria. Bosco’s perception was that he is the only decision maker in his household while his wife has not a word to say as she was not generating income. He used to come home late every night, he kept drinking until midnight and came home in a very bad mood, threatening everybody. He did not support his household financially as they had no value for him and ended up leaving his wife seeking for another wife who is capable to take better care for him.

In 2016, his wife and children were enrolled into the USAID Twiyubake program. When the program started mobilizing men in the community on gender issues, a USAID Twiyubake male champion invited Bosco and other men in his village to discuss on gender equality and its benefits in the family. The male champion who knew that Bosco was the husband of Maria, continued to visit him at his home. He trained him on gender equality, and that men and women are equal regardless of their biologic physiology. Meaning that they have the same rights. He also convinced him that there is no household that can develop without sharing ideas, views and opinions.

The male champion visited Bosco several times until Bosco decided to return to his wife and work for his family. He changed completely and decided to become a male champion. He was then trained on positive masculinity and decided to reach out to his former friends to transmit gender messages. “I realized that my children were emotionally affected by my attitude towards the family but after gaining full knowledge on gender I decided to change”, he said.

Today, Bosco is enjoying his life with his family and is grateful to be part of the USAID Twiyubake program which has changed his behavior through the counselling and training provided by the male champion. Now, he takes time to listen to his wife, he is not defensive anymore, instead he is offering alternative solutions and valorizing her ideas. He considers the role and responsibilities of his wife in the family development and welfare. He is accountable for the way he uses resources and he shares information with his wife.

He is even considered as a role model regarding positive masculinity in his village. Male champions are working hand in hand with USAID Twiyubake staff to end gender inequalities and family conflicts. They play a huge role to educate other men in overcoming barriers affecting women’s advancement related to gender bias and stereotypes.

USAID Twiyubake implementing partner in Nyarugenge district African Evangelistic Enterprise (AEE) created the Twisungane saving group on July 29th 2016 in Rwesero cell, Kigali sector. The group is composed of 18 members. Out ofthe 18 members, 12 are indigenous traditional potters who used to live isolated from the society and impoverished.

“We used to be shy. The USAID Twiyubake program trained us on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. We received the conditional household grants which supported our basic needs. But we were really looking for an income generating activity as a group”, explained Clementine, President of the Twisungane saving group.

USAID Twiyubake linked the group to the “Cana Rumwe” government supported program. A program which is promoting the production and dissemination of improved clay cooking stoves. The clay stoves reduce firewood use by 50 % and are environment friendly. As a startup capital each group member provided Rwf 7000. The local administration of Kigali sector linked them to a training on improved stove production and a market of 1000 stoves to be sold at Rwf 2000 each.

“Now we are contributing to the sustainable development of our country. We feel integrated and valued”, explained one member.

The group started a new cycle with a vision to become a cooperative. They plan to expand their business beyond improved cooking stoves and buy new equipment to start a diversified clay production such as dishes, plates, cups and bowls.

Josephine M. is a widow and a mother of four children. She lives in Cyanika sector, Burera District in the Northern Province of Rwanda. When her husband passed away in 2007, Josephine very soon was overwhelmed by the poverty and all the unmet needs which arose. She struggled a lot to get little earnings. “It was very hard to find food for all my four children. Often they spent the entire day without eating, I did not take much care for myself and people would not help us. I harvested very low yields on my small land plot and it was impossible to respond to the household needs”, explained Josephine.

In April 2016, Josephine’s household enrolled into the USAID Twiyubake program. She joined the Imbereheza saving group. Prior to start with the saving activities, a skilled community based volunteer trained the group on the “financial literacy and particularly saving methodology. The saving group learned the importance to save systematically and how to work with financial institutions.

Josephine wanted to try out an Irish potato business. Prior to ask for the first loan, a CBV explained her how to get a loan from the saving group. She borrowed a loan of Rwf 20,000 from the saving group to start selling Irish potatoes which she was able to pay back out of the profit after only two months. She immediately requested an additional loan of Rwf 60,000, which allowed her to reach a capital of 400 kg Irish potatoes. Within only two months, she was able to pay back her loan. Her business continued to grow until the share out in her saving group where she received Rwf 76,000. In addition, her saving group was among the groups that received program incentives of a match of 1.5 times the total amount saved by the group as a motivation to save and grow their household assets. From the incentives she received additional Rwf 32,000.

“Together with my earnings generated from the potato trade, I have now a capital of Rwf 228,000 equal to 1.3 tons of Irish potatoes which I am currently selling. Out of the profit from the Irish potato business I also were able to buy three goats and one pig and recently, the pig got 8 piglets”, she explained.

“I never thought that I would be able to achieve such a turnover out of a business which I started myself. My life changed completely since I am in the saving group. My children go to school, we all have a community based health insurance, and we are eating well. My next plan is to invest in a cow”, explained Josephine.

Josephine explained that within one year, the program has helped many beneficiaries to make investments and meet the needs of their families. The program assists in so many areas but the most important one to her was the trainings on financial literacy and saving methodology. “From the bottom of her heart, I thank the USAID Twiyubake Program for all they are doing to improve the lives of vulnerable families”, concluded Josephine.

Francoise N., 46 years, has 2 children who are in secondary school. She is living in Gashari sector, Karongi district. She used to be very poor and to beg in her village to survive. Since 2011, she lives in a small house provided by the sector.

 Connect with Us  Facebook7Twitter7