We left Kigali at 01:20 pm to go to Muyumbu Village about 45 miles from the center of Kigali. It was a beautiful day and it was raining. When we got there they welcomed us charmingly filled with joy. The savings group, Abifatanije, is a group of 20 women and that started in 2005. They are all active Anglican Church members. We were impressed by the work that these women have done, as many of them are widows. They meet once a month and contribute a share of 300 RWF each per meeting. Some of the women work with the help of their husbands and in the group meeting when there is a woman who can’t make it, she will send her husband come and attend the meeting. Abifatanije now collectively own two big coffee plantations from which they get up to 200,000 RWF per harvest from each plantation. There is one harvest per year and they have had successful harvests for four years. The group shared with some stories about how the saving group has been helpful to them. Some were able to build houses, send their children to school, take loans, and start small and medium businesses. One example was a woman who invested in activities in a banana plantation as a family business. The group meeting does not merely consist of taking loans, but they conduct other activities that they do together as group, such as the coffee plantation mentioned above, livestock breeding and so much more. When looking at these women and the improvement they have made, it highlights that savings groups are very important and applicable for the people of Rwanda to develop themselves with financial accountability and sustainability as they build their own capabilities.
The HOPE International representatives at the visit were: Rwanda SCA Operations and Finance Manager – Garrett Fujiwara and his wife Rachael, HOPE International Supporters – Adam and Emily Rapkin, and HOPE International Intern – Daniel Bizumuremyi.