Burundi and the Hope local support groups can bring
Nana lives in in central Burundi, where poverty and malnutrition are a very real part of life. Like most girls in her community, Nana did not finish school and was married by 18.
While parts of Burundi are thriving, more than 50% of the population is chronically food insecure.
In Nana’s community, like in much of rural Burundi, the majority of work is done by women. However, because they do not own their own land, farming or providing food their families becomes almost impossible.
Nana, VSLA Project Participant
”I am a farmer but I have no land to cultivate which belongs to me…the training that I’ve just followed will allow me to do another activity of trade like buying vegetables and bananas [to sell]. I will also educate my neighbors so that we can form a village savings and loan association”
Our partners in Burundi, ARM, have a vision to improve the lives of children and their families in their rural communities. Their goal is “sustainable development by bringing people to a standard of living that is independent, honest, healthy, fair and balanced.”
In the last year we have worked with ARM in setting up what are known as ‘Village Savings and Loan Associations’ (VSLA’s). VSLA’s are like small community Credit Unions, where each member receives a small loan to start their own business and in turn they pay back a small amount each month to help others to start their businesses.
As well as capital, the groups are also a type of support group for the members, the majority of whom are mothers, helping each other, sharing their ideas and empowering other women to reach their full potential.
Like Nana, members choose their business based on their own skills and talents and can give each other advice and support.
Another woman benefiting from the VSLA is Kella. Kella is also a mother who felt she had no way to make money of her own to support her children.
Nana and Kella were both supporting the basic needs of their families by growing their own food. Because they didn’t own their own land suitable for growing, poverty was a real obstacle and malnutrition a heartbreaking reality.
Last year ARM trained ten groups of three people from different villages and commissioned each group to invite and train twenty seven other people in their villages to join their group.
In a country where the total annual production of food would only cover for 55 days per person per year*, our partners, ARM, have a vision to improve the lives of those in their rural communities. They work year round with women like Nana and Kella and their children, supporting them to overcome poverty.
*United Nations World Food Programme, 2019.
Kella, VSLA Project Participant
“ I did not know how to do the activity that can give me money. I was only farming and this activity cannot satisfy all the needs in the family. But thanks to the teachings that I have just received, I will participate in the village savings and loan association in order to receive a loan which will serve me as capital of cassava flour because, very close to my home, there are no other people doing this activity and like that I could increase the purchase of shares in the association and my family’s living conditions will be improved.”
Did You Know
ARM also deliver your Christmas Shoeboxes! They delivered your shoeboxes to 5,000 children in these same communities in 2020!