Just months after adopting a savings culture, historically marginalised (formerly known as Batwa) residents of Mutete Sector in Gicumbi District say their lifestyle has improved tremendously.
They were showcasing their achievements since they started saving under the Sustainable Access Financial Services and Investments (SAFI) scheme, introduced by the Anglican Church of Rwanda in the district.
“We have learnt several developmental ideas to enable us to eradicate poverty,” said 35-year-old Pacifique Habiyambere, who started a business with savings from SAFI.
“I could spend days without even getting Rwf 100, but now I own a stall where I deal in small appliances earning at least Rwf 60,000 per month.”
At the occasion, most of the historically marginalised residents in the area came along with their domestic animals among them lambs and goats.
Rose Uwamahoro said: “I was ignorant about savings, but after learning and adopting it, my life has never been the same. I earn about Rwf 50,000 per week through my small business of pig rearing”.
SAFI’s coordinator, Pastor Robert Mugiraneza, said since December 2009, the programme has benefited over 13,000 residents in the district. The scheme has accumulated over Rwf 321 million in savings.
“Each member acquires a 10 percent profit after three months, depending on one’s savings and they manage the money themselves,” said Mugiraneza, adding that the scheme is made up of 430 groups of 30 members each.
It operates in 10 sectors declared by the district authorities as the most poverty-stricken
Local authorities said the programme has not only improved lives, but has also helped in reducing conflicts among residents and fostered good governance within the communities.