Savings associations enabling Nyanza residents to fight poverty, malnutrition

Residents from Nyanza district have turned to saving groups and cooperatives in the area to reduce poverty and malnutrition that has for long affected a number of families in the region.

For instance, through Twisungane Saving Group, 1, 200 individuals from 209 households in a Isonga Village in Kigoma Sector has beaten the odds by saving money that has enabled the fight against malnutrition, especially among children.

According to Damascene Maniraguha, the representative of the saving group, each member contributes Rwf500 to the group every Monday.

“Today, each member has a kitchen garden and some of them established larger ones which have since become business avenues where they can get vegetables to feed their families and supply the rest to the market,” he said.

Each of the members has also been able to have at least one goat. Thanks to the saving group they can also afford to pay health insurance for themselves every year, he added.

Jeanne Umuhoza, one of the residents and member of the saving group said: “I have five kitchen gardens. I get vegetables to feed my family. Previously, my kid who used to suffer from malnutrition, which is no longer the case. I also sell the rest of vegetables on the market since I can sell 10 bundles of onions and get Rwf 1,500 per day to buy other basic needs.”

Other residents in the area have formed savings associations thanks to the income they generate from using available electricity.

Ignace Rudasingwa has been able to own a small hair salon since September 2018.

“I save between Rwf60, 000 and Rwf100, 000 every month through this business,” he said.

Jeremie Habaguhirwa installed a grounding mill owing to access  to electricity.

“I save between about Rwf 5,000 every day from grounding cassava and sorghum. I invested Rwf1 million in this business. This helps to feed our families and fight malnutrition among children,” he said.

The Vice Mayor in charge of Economic Development in Nyanza District, Patrick Kajyambere, said there are 35 children in code red (severe) of malnutrition levels and 300 children who are coded yellow (in less severe case), which calls for more efforts to avert the trend.

“Residents must participate in governance, they have to involve in planning and budget processes so that their challenges are addressed through budget allocation and guidance on how to benefit from infrastructure such as electricity and water to reduce poverty and malnutrition,” he said.

Electricity access is at 31 per cent in Nyanza district with only 75,000 households having access.