It was incredible for the women to harvest their maizes cultivated during the first season. After a long mentoring, coaching and visiting them during the whole process of cultivation, the received necessary information for good farming and organic fertilizer use.
It was a period of cultivating maizes which can help them to gain income by sending to the market the maizes and save the income within their case; where any member can borrow any amount depending on her capacity of repayment. It is a good model for the women to teach them working together and providing them the financial literacy skills.
The season was very nice for the farmers because it didn't rain a lot and it didn't shine a lot too; said a cooperative member. when they receive a lot of rain than expected, they do not receive good harverst and this cause a big loss for them because their seed are wasted and they also do not harvest enough.
They are now excited to start preparing their field for next season of rice cultivation and they hope that it will go well as it was for this season. women hope to improve their nutrition and income conditions once the rice harvest will go well.
The women were working hard during the last summer to prepare a field for the new season that start in september. The rain season have started and it is raining well for them to cultivate. RVCP is working closely with the local leaders in charge of agriculture to provide them the fertilizer and the good seeds for growing. The local leaders at the sector level collabolate with the Rwanda Agricultural Board to search good seeds which have found to provide a good harvest.
They started to prepare the final field area during the past few weeks and they report that they are progressing well. We are also pushing them to cultivate early as possible so that the rain in January stops after having their plants well grown to obtain the good harvest.
The rice cultivation require a lot of energy but we are organizing them in way that it will be easy for them to work together. The rice will make them having it for consumption at home and for the market in order to gain some income to spend in home needs.
The women cooperative in now well functioning, the leadership in position and cultivating and meeting regularly every week. The women who had malnourished kids has formed a cooperative in the help of RVCP team so that the women will be able to stay together during their daily life. they meet regularly as planned for cultivating their field and it is the time for discussing different issues that they are facing in the cooperative and at their families so that they can receive advice from peers.
We visited them at the field to observe how they are progressing in working together as a cooperative which will enable them to increase their income and living conditions despite the poverty. we found them cultivating and it was in the 11:30AM. they started cultivating arround 7:00AM and they were about to stop and have a rest while discussing and sharing ideas on how to improve themselves and the cooperative in general. They were smiling exchanging this and that and telling different stories from their villages while the cultivation going on.
It was the time to take a rest while we arrived and we joined them in glasses where they come and sit. their cooperative president were briefing them on how they worked and how she hopes they will be working next days. she imfasized on being on time and thinking on taking care to kids everyday up to 2 years of breastfeeding. she also encouraged them to prepare nutritional meal for the lids and all members of the family in general. One of out team members joined them and added that it is crucial for the kids to have good health in order to prepare them for being good students and good citizens who will be part of their villages development.
We concluded by thanking them for their daily work and we requested them to help each other by thinking on child and maternal health.
RVCP and GlobeMed have worked closely together for more than five years on the Maternal Health Education Program in Rwanda. Like all sustainable partnerships, there comes a point when the organizations turn the program over to the local community so that they are able to take full ownership. This year, that is what RVCP and GlobeMed at GW have been working toward. We have worked with RVCP to help the women's cooperative go through the application process to become certified and recognized by the government and therefore eligible to receive government support in the following years.
Along these lines, the government of Rwanda has showed interest in rice harvesting and so have the women of the cooperative. The cooperative has decided that growing rice will be more profitable than harvesting crops such as potatoes and corn, given the working conditions they have. Since this is important to the women, and what they want to spend their time on, GlobeMed has chosen to help them start this project for the first year including renting the land, and purchasing the necessary start up costs. In addition we are trying to set up a meeting between the government agricultural specialist and the cooperative so that the women are fully trained and educated on what it takes to grow a successful rice crop.
We hope to see the women's cooperative successful in a project that they have chosen to pursue and would love your help in assisting with the start up costs of their vision.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
GlobeMed at GW has been working hard to raise funds for RVCP this semester. A couple weeks ago we held our bi-annual Run for Rwanda at the Georgetown waterfront. Thanks to our amazing Campaign Team Leader, Tori, and Campaign Coordinator, Becca, the event was a huge success. We were able to integrate with the greater DC community and spread awareness about GlobeMed's mission and our work with RVCP.
In addition, our chapter has been collaborating with RVCP, and the members of the cooperative to create a business plan to expand the income generating activity beyond agriculture. Over the past three years the cooperative has grown to include nearly 150 members. These women have developed a voice of their own and have expressed interest in creating another income generating activity so that they aren't dependent on only one resource. This year RVCP, GlobeMed, and the women in the cooperative have worked together to brainstorm different income generating activities that would be feasible in Butare. This process has involved meetings with the RVCP alumni, other NGOs such as Gardens for Health, and the local governmental agronomist to create a realistic busines plan. This process will not only assist the cooperative in becoming more sustainable, but creates community involvement and investment in the cooperative.
Molly and Priya
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GlobeMed at GWU Co-President