RWAMAGANA - People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) in Rwamagana district have joined hands to form cooperative societies. This follows similar moves in which those living with the virus formed associations for the purposes of undertaking entrepreneurial activities.
“We were initially joined in associations, but we have now moved a step higher by forming cooperatives for the purposes of earning more from our activities,” said Stelia Mukarugwiza, a member of one of the cooperatives.
One of the reasons for having formed the cooperatives is to assist members to penetrate markets for the products that they sell. In this quest they have made requests to NGOs and government to assist them to access markets for their products.
“We have a challenge in accessing markets for our products. Making a breakthrough in reaching our target markets will assist with our growth prospects,” Dafroza Gahongayire, one of the members, said.
A representative of the cooperatives movement in the country, Odette Mukarugambwa, said that part of the problems facing the new cooperatives in Rwamagana was lack of product specialization as they were currently engaged in multiple activities.
“The problem is that these cooperatives are involved in multiple productions of different items. Meaning that marketing of different variety of products is a challenging activity,” Mukarugambwa observed.
Nevertheless, officials said that these cooperatives also have a dual function of assisting with fighting the HIV scourge through generating greater awareness about it and by focussing on rendering financial assistance to those affected.