Businesses for 60 Changemaker Women in DR Congo

by FEDERATION DES ORGANISATIONS DES PRODUCTEURS AGRICOLES (FOPAC SK)
Businesses for 60 Changemaker Women in DR Congo
Businesses for 60 Changemaker Women in DR Congo
Businesses for 60 Changemaker Women in DR Congo
Businesses for 60 Changemaker Women in DR Congo
Businesses for 60 Changemaker Women in DR Congo
Businesses for 60 Changemaker Women in DR Congo
Businesses for 60 Changemaker Women in DR Congo
Businesses for 60 Changemaker Women in DR Congo
Businesses for 60 Changemaker Women in DR Congo
Businesses for 60 Changemaker Women in DR Congo
Businesses for 60 Changemaker Women in DR Congo
Businesses for 60 Changemaker Women in DR Congo

Project Report | Sep 18, 2023
New Milestones: Hogs, a calf, and numbers (Oh my)!

By Annette Scarpitta | Program Founder and Leader, USA

Rwenena families enjoy raising hogs.
Rwenena families enjoy raising hogs.

Little by Little. It’s much more than a GlobalGiving campaign the week of September 18 (in which donations up to $50 are matched 50%; see end of this report). It’s an expression of long-term progress of the Rwenena community. Sometimes, it’s what may seem like little occurrences. But upon reflection, we recognize mile markers of progress. Two recent cases mark turning points: A changemaker paving a new path, and several women entrepreneurs recognizing the familiarity of numeracy.

Women in Rwenena have come to love rearing small livestock. In 2018, an earlier project provided chickens, goats, and hogs to women. Distribution called for either 1 chicken per household or 1 goat or 1 hog shared between 2 households. As litters emerged, owners were responsible for distributing some of the offspring to women in other households.

Those who reared hogs were unfortunate at this early stage. African swine flu was prevalent and wiped out most of these animals. But not all. Some of the changemaker women, with assistance, learned best practices through instruction and experience about the animal’s health. An improved breeding system followed. The learning and the litters grew: There have been no cases of swine flu in  Rwenena for more than 3 years. Owners now reserve resources for care & vaccinations to maximize hog wellness.

Despite the early setbacks, hog breeders appreciate the animals for their prolific and profitable offspring.

Recently a hog (sow) of one of Rwenena’s entrepreneurial women ("Denise") gave birth to 8 piglets (see them on YouTube!). She decided it was time to pursue a longstanding dream: She purchased a calf for dairy farming.

Not long ago, cattle were owned only by men. But now, women entrepreneurs are demonstrating innovation in their activities.

Men’s perception of this woman’s purchase of a calf has caused a shift in mentality – another “Little by Little” mile marker of progress. Our FOPAC Project Leader in DRC, Jean Marie Ruhanamirindi, explains it this way (translated from French):

“There is a difference between women raising small livestock and women raising cattle. It is significant that as a small-business entrepreneur, Christine sold her piglets and acquired a calf through a business transaction with a man. She did so without the involvement of her husband and for the advancement of the household and the community. Her husband was proud.”

We will see what long-term effects might emerge. While Denise waits months for her calf to mature, she is using her remaining hog to maintain income. The hog is now pregnant again.

Our remaining “Little by Little” progress concerns ongoing business literacy training. Jean Marie reports that the women participants are happy with how the activity is going. They are currently undergoing numeracy training.

The students are excited to realize that the numbers they are now studying correspond with formerly meaningless numerals they had memorized (with assistance) for their business transactions. This learning builds trust between the women, including in required reports to the educated leaders of their Village Savings and Loan Associations. It also provides accountability with household finances, particularly at weekly planning meetings.

As the Level 0 students have advanced, they have merged with the Level 1 students for classes. Paired women from both groups meet steadfastly for study sessions among themselves. They no longer need the presence of the teacher.

We join the women of Rwenena in celebration of their progress with our programming and in their lives. We also applaud the growing number of men who are opening their minds based on the women's business success that cannot be denied.

Despite these positive mile markers, much work remains. Our priority is to hold this year’s Peace Summit in the next few months for continuing dialogue between different groups and regional authorities such as the police and the military. But to make this happen, we need more donations totaling $500 from folks like you.


The Little by Little Campaign is a perfect time to reach our goal. Please visit our project page between Monday, September 18, 2023, at 00:00:00 (midnight) Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and Friday, September 22, 2023, at 23:59:59 (11:59 PM) EDT: For every donation up to $50, GlobalGiving will match it by 50%. Higher donations are welcome! You can always designate your own amount to give on the donation page in the blank cell at the bottom of donation options. We would also love it if you could share this project with your networks both in-person and online.

Thank you!

Watching 2 pregnant hogs (sows) feeding
Watching 2 pregnant hogs (sows) feeding
Initially, hogs were kept primarily in pens.
Initially, hogs were kept primarily in pens.
Today's system calls for a degree of hogs roaming.
Today's system calls for a degree of hogs roaming.
One of the women whose hog evaded the swine flu
One of the women whose hog evaded the swine flu
A child's drawing associates love with a hog.
A child's drawing associates love with a hog.

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Organization Information

FEDERATION DES ORGANISATIONS DES PRODUCTEURS AGRICOLES (FOPAC SK)

Location: Bukavu, South Kivu - Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @RwenenaKids
Project Leader:
Annette Scarpitta
Bukavu , South Kivu Congo, Democratic Republic of the
$11,376 raised of $16,000 goal
 
139 donations
$4,624 to go
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