NYAMASHEKE – Residents of Cyato Sector in Nyamasheke District have registered a tremendous change in their livelihoods, thanks to the benefits of the Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP).
Through the government programme, a total loan of Rwf33 million was given to Up to 657 residents (from 258 households) to start up different income-generating projects.
Many others are employed in VUP projects, such as terracing.
And, it is evident that that area has undergone significant development in the recent years, especially in agriculture, trade, business, savings and health.
Before, Cyato was an impoverished, isolated hunger-stricken sector.
“It is an understatement to say that VUP has transformed our lives,” Zakayo Kayonga, a resident said. “I got a loan which I invested in modern farming. I am now a wholesaler for beans and maize. I have saved enough money to buy a motor bike.”
Xavier Murigande, who operates a shop in the area, says business is booming now because residents’ purchasing power has gone up compared to the past.
“This trading centre was isolated with nearly no business transactions. Traders would earn Rwf500 a day, but now we make Rwf50, 000 or even more. No other development programme can compare to VUP,” he said.
Beatrice Mukashema, an elderly resident in Cyato, observed that the past poverty and hunger had driven the youth and many other able-bodied residents out of the area, with most of them seeking refuge in major Rusizi and Nyamasheke trading centers.
But today food is in abundance and affordable.
A kilo of beans now costs Rwf200, down from Rwf800 in the past days, due to abundant supply.
Bartazare Ndikubwimana, a representative for VUP in Nyamasheke District, attributed the residents’ transformed lives to their embracement of such government-driven development initiatives as savings and credit schemes.