Idjwi Community projects: the value of support from the Mwami

We mentioned in a blog post in October that we have offered loans to a women’s group led by Madame Esperance, the wife of the Mwami in North idjwi. The group is called UFIN and it has nearly 500 members.

In September last year they proposed four businesses centred around the Kishenyi market in the Bunyakiri groupement. They include a wholesale depot for farine and another for cassava and all have long since been up and running and employing local people.

UFIN have demonstrated excellent management skills and earlier this year they put forward a proposal for an increased budget to start up five more businesses including the export for fruit. We agreed and now we are supporting nine businesses on the island.

There is no doubt that Madame Esperance provides the leadership and authority needed to succeed and we have once again learnt the value of collaborating with local organisations – in this case UFIN – to identify opportunities and set them up.

We have also learnt the value of comprehensive training. Amani and Bahati have spent a lot of time with the businesses working through the basic principles and practices of setting up and sustaining a business and we are confident in the women’s capacity to apply the learning and ensure the businesses are a sustainable success once the loans are repaid.