GASABO - Six local associations and community based groups are the latest beneficiaries of the US Ambassadors’ special self-help fund.
US Ambassadors to Rwanda have at their disposal a fund providing financial assistance to small community-based projects that require a strong element of community involvement, such as contributions to labour, materials or money.
In an award-giving ceremony at the US embassy’s public affairs conference room yesterday, Ambassador Stuart Symington signed six agreements worth USD 40,000 (Approximately Rwf 22million).
“The essential thing I have learned is what a wonderful country you have here and what a wonderful opportunity the world has here,” he remarked, emphasising that the idea was to bring people together.
“It is an idea for America. It is an idea for Rwanda, an idea for Cyangugu and an idea for the world.”
This was after Eloise Mukantwari, a member of Girisuku, a Cyangugu-based soap making group that started back in 2003 spoke about her group’s inspiring experience.
“We started very small and weak (financially) but in October last year when we got assistance and bought equipment, we produced more soap and our group has grown,” she said.
She said that they used to produce 2,000 pieces of soap per month and members were leaving the group but they are now 48 and production has increased to 12,000 pieces.
“After the earthquake in 2007 destroyed homes and property, we helped our members construct new houses. They now have goats and cows and we help pay medical insurance,” she said.
“People are well off in their own small way…they are self sustaining,” she added.
The six recipients of the fund’s assistance this year, include Rebero Nice Bread, an orphan centre in Kigali, DUTI Cooperative in Kayonza and Urugero Association from Gisenyi.
The embassy is presently looking at proposals for next year’s funding. Projects are accepted throughout the year, every last Friday morning of each month.
Chosen out of hundreds, their selection is based on, among others, impact to the community. Projects should also be initiated by the community and should reflect a community need – not the needs of one family or person although special consideration is given to those with potential to generate income or encourage community development.