Friday, January 13, 2012

Coming Together in Gisagara

The Tuzamurane community, based in the Gisagara District in the Southern Province, is composed of 87 men and women ready and willing to work as community to help their families. Their village, Ndatemwa, initially did not have an activity to do Umuganda (the country-wide community service holiday), but since working with Spark Microgrants, they have decided to grow cassava as their development project. They decided on this project because they will be able to sell the crop for a good price, and their village has a favorable climate for growing cassava. This is why they called the association ‘Tuzamurane’ which means “together let’s get up”.

“It is not only helpful for the members of this community to work together as a group, but also it helps us as leaders to mobilize people to form associations,” says John, the leader of the village. “This is going to be a good example in our village to wake up people and join their efforts and we know that together everything can be done”.

Members of the community are proud of having the cassava project because there are other advantages in working together in this project. As member 56-year-old Nakabonye, says “Since I was born, it is my first time to be involved in a group of people with one aim of helping each other,” she says. “I used to work alone and I think that is why I get older with poverty“ .

The unity of people in this community is due to the way they got to know each other. Says Ndayizeye, “I thank Spark Microgrants very much for giving us this grant because, for me personally, as we gathered in meetings, I got to know people in our village with good ideas whom I can ask advice. We are not even ashamed of approaching our fellow members to ask them for something we lack in our families because we became one family”.

In this community, people consider discussion leading to solutions as a key to success of their cassava project. They know that they can’t succeed without having the same understanding about what they are doing. The leader of the community Murwanashyaka AndrĂ© said “At the beginning it was difficult even to make one decision in general meeting because everyone wanted his ideas to be considered, but slowly we became a group of people working together and it is a good thing”.

Tuzamurane association wants to be a role model of cassava farming in the whole Gisagara district - not only in growing cassava but also as an example of how much can be achieved when communities work together.

( Written by Jean Claude MUHIRE)