On October 6, Ngororero District celebrated the close out event of a two-year public private partnership program between the Walmart Foundation and The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), implemented by Global Communities. The partnership provided technical skills on agriculture best practices to farmers, especially women, involved in maize, beans, fruits and dairy value chains and worked to improve nutritional outcomes in the targeted districts.

The celebration took place in the gardens of Muhororo Sector together with program beneficiaries, district officials, and representatives from Caritas Rwanda and Global Communities. The event featured dances, songs, drama, testimonies and speeches from the program beneficiaries showcasing Ngororero communities’ new ownership and leadership.

Ngororero’s close out event is one in a series of close out events in eight districts of the Southern and Western Provinces of Rwanda in which the program was implemented.

Global Communities implemented the public-private partnership program in Ngororero District through Caritas Rwanda, a local partner. Caritas Rwanda field officers trained community volunteers, known as “Be the Change Volunteers”, who were key in the program implementation and who trained the beneficiary famer.

Faustin Gatera, Ejo Heza Coordinator at Caritas, explained that he is very satisfied with what the Walmart Foundation and USAID funded program achieved in such a short time. He stated that in only 2 years, Caritas field officers trained 152 “Be the Change Volunteers” who have communicated their knowledge to 6910 Ngorerero District farmers. When breaking it down: 28 “Be the Change Volunteers” trained 70 farmers working in maize and beans value chains, 21 trained 1060 farmers in fruit and vegetable planting and 103 trained 5150 farmers in milk production handling. Out of the 6,910 farmers, 100 received a training in small entrepreneurship and 46 individuals have created a saving and lending association in which Rwf 1,300,000 (US$ 1,776) have been saved so far. In addition, 214 kitchen gardens were created, and 116 cow sheds were renovated.

“Before the program started, farmers harvested on average 20 kg of beans and maize per season; now with the new knowledge they harvest 150 kg per season. The same for the milk production in the dairy value chain; prior to the program, farmers milked 1 liter per day from a cow, now with better knowledge of animal health, a proper feeding, clean sheds and a better disease control, the same cow gives on average 5-7 l milk a day,” Faustin Gatera, Ejo Heza Coordinator at Caritas, added.

“I appreciated most the creation of our kitchen gardens next to our homes! We grow spinach, peppers and cabbages which are only designated for own consumption and not to sell on the markets as we did it before, when we restricted ourselves from our own food to earn additional income. Before, we also grew spinaches on our fields but we did not pay much attention to them as we did not know how healthy they are. Today, we know that a pregnant women should eat several small meals during a day, and it is even accepted in our community”, Claudine Umuhoza, a spokesperson among the beneficiaries, acknowledged.

A project booklet has been left at the district with all contacts of the “Be the Change Volunteers”. They will now work together with government officials to share their knowledge with other farmers. “Although the Walmart funded part of the program ended, USAID funded Ejo Heza program will take over some of the program components until it will close next year“, stated Waringa Kibe, Project Coordinator of Global Communities Ejo Heza Program.

Emmanuel Mazimpaka, Deputy Mayor in charge of Economic Development in Ngorerero District, is proud to announce that Ngororero district was ranked third among the country 30 districts for fulfilling their national performance contracts signed for the year 2014-2015 before the President of the Republic, addressing country priorities as reducing poverty and increasing economic performance at the grass root level. “We therefore acknowledge the Walmart and USAID funded program as it helped us in this endeavor. Now, the trained farmers of Ngorerero will assist our district in training other villagers and our aim is to be ranked first at next year’s national performance contract evaluation, which will take place in June 2016,” he said.

In recognition for their good performance in training farmers, Global Communities jointly with the  district of Ngororero handed out certificates of achievements to every “Be the Change Volunteer”.

Inshuti z'UmuryangoDuring the week of March 10, 2016, USAID Twiyubake supported MIGEPROF in establishing the Inshuti z’Umuryango structure in 10 districts by mobilizing local authorities and training village chiefs on responsibilities, election, and reporting requirements of the program.

Inshuti z’Umurayango (Friends of the Family) are two community-based child and family protection volunteers, one man and one women. Their responsibilities include promoting child rights, protecting children from violence, abuse, and exploitation, mobilizing against early pregnancies and school drop outs, and promoting equal rights of children with disabilities.

Moreover, Inshuti z’Umuryango will protect children from being separated from their families and will work on returning lost children to their families. Village residents elected the best suited candidates for this position on Saturday of the same week after the community work. Inshuti z’Umuryango will be working in the villages reporting to the village chief and to their representative in the cell and sector, up to the district, which will follow up on all reports for an inclusive child protection system. 

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