Ten cooperatives and community-based groups around the country were yesterday awarded grants worth $75,000 by the United States Embassy.
The funds were handed over to the cooperatives under the auspices of the US Ambassador’s special self-help fund awarded on an annual basis.
According to the Economic and Commercial Officer at the embassy, Alexander W. Sokoloff, the grants are intended to support community-based economic initiatives aimed at helping these communities improve their lives.
“We look at projects that are going to benefit a big number of people, and most of these projects should be a motivation to make their lives better,” said Sokoloff.
Speaking at the ceremony, the US Ambassador to Rwanda, Stuart Symington, cautioned the beneficiaries to use the money appropriately.
“We are not releasing this money to benefit leaders of your cooperatives, it is for the benefit all the members and developing them,” said Symington.
“Rwanda cannot be developed by its leaders alone, but by every one of you, so it is up to you to use every resource you get to add value to everything you do, using your mind, ears, eyes and every part of your body to develop this country.”
Symington also informed the members of the cooperatives that the money they received was not from the U.S government but from the American people.
“Today we give you this money from the people of America, these people also have problems, many of them have lost their homes, their jobs, but they pay taxes which we use to invest in you…so you have to use the money properly,” he said.
The president of AVEH Umurerwa, one of the cooperatives that benefited, Eugene Ndayambaje, assured the embassy officials that his association would use the money according to the project proposal they presented.
The ten winning cooperatives were selected from over 100 that had applied for the grant.