From alcoholic to responsible father
Ernest, farmer and father of 8, is from Southern Burundi in Bururi province. With his family, he lives in Rutovu commune on the Ruringanizo Colline. The weather is chilly most of the time. Ernest used to spend the entire day drinking. He neglected his family responsibilities such as caring about his wife and children. He would end up spending all the money in bars and come home with empty pockets. Not only did the children eat once a day but 5 of them had challenges at school since their father couldn’t manage to pay for the school fees. The only so called friends Ernest had were those with whom he went drinking with.
But all that started to change when Ernest joined the self help group introduced by Help Channel Burundi as he explains:« After I joined the self help group called SHIGIKIRUBWOROZI which means ‘support animal husbandry’, we received a lot of trainings mostly on good farming practices, associative life, savings and credit, conflict prevention and resolution using non-violent methods as well as the best ways to create income-generating activities.»
Ernest understood the importance of association and he started to put in practice what he had learned. Since Ernest had 3 sheep, he sold them and adding the money he borrowed, he bought a cow. He now uses the manure to fertilize the farming land which has increased the yield. Ernest even built a small house which the family uses as a storage room.
Ernest is now not only able to provide enough food but also nutritious food thanks to the teachings on kitchen gardens: «I cultivated vegetables and my children eat them on a daily basis».
By working with others, Ernest’s behavior changed and his children have noticed it. His son Richard, 14, he is very happy about the fact that his father joined the self help group. They have since overcome many of the problems: « We didn’t have enough food and it was difficult to find school fees or get medical care but these are no longer a challenge at home».
«Our father’s adhesion to the association has positively and strongly impacted our lives. We hope many other people will benefit from it. We are grateful to Help Channel Burundi».
My name is MAJAMBERE Jean Baptiste, and I am from BWINYANA , VUMBI commune. I am married man and a father of 4 children. Before IKIGEGA IWACU project, we did not have a group here. Life was very difficult for us small farmers because the wear was commonplace especially in case of illness, traders used to give us credits on buying at very low prices our property. In agriculture, the harvest was very low, not to say zero. With the IKIGEGA IWACU project, we learned to save money and take loans with a reasonable interest rate which angered usurers.
We have gained knowledge about agricultural techniques to conserve our soils, to harvest more on a small piece of land. In our community, the planting of cassava has increased the harvest significantly, therefore, the foodstuffs (previously, we collected on more than 10 feet of cassava for a single meal but currently on one foot, we can harvest more three times). Now, for lack of market, we have kept the cassava on foot but it is for certain varieties. If HELP CHANNEL could teach us how to conserve cassava it will enchant us. I would not hesitate to say thanks to Help Channel and its field team for its contribution in empowering us.
My name is Yvonne NINDAMUTSA, 42 years old, I am a widow and a member of the DUKUNDANE Association of Mabanda Hill.
Before the project ‘Ikigega iwacu’, we used a large workforce for field activities with a large amount of seeds and other inputs during planting. But the harvest was very weak despite all these means used.
Currently, I use a reduced workforce following the principle of minimum tillage; the fertilizers used are in small quantities following the adoption of mulching and the amount of seed was also reduced after adopting proper spacing for each crop. Previously if remember well, I was using more than 5 kg of seeds, broadcasting seeds but today I use about 1 kg for the same plot.
Before the project, I did not have to ask for a credit. But for the moment, in the Dukundane association, I can easily have a credit of 100 thousands BIF refundable in three months. I use this credit for the purchase of banana for making banana beer (urwarwa in Kirundi). With income from that business, I manage to buy clothes, pay school fees for my children.