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The Icyitegererezo CLA


The Icyitegererezo CLA comprises 160 women and 20 men from nine self-help groups in the Murambi Sector. The CLA are proud of their achievements, proclaiming that “From the village, to the cell, to the sector we are known everywhere.” They have all come a long way since the CAVAP project went out to their villages and fields to tell them about self-help groups. When asked how they feel about the CAVAP project closing down, one member said “We have built our own institutions and confidence to sustain our achievements. When the project stops, we will not have any problem. We are trained and we will not let our activities stop because the project is no longer there.” Another adds, “[At] the level we have reached today, we cannot be like children who wander around after losing a parent. At this stage, we will keep building ourselves even after the project is gone. Our own projects will go on, we promise that to you.” For these 180 women and men, CAVAP has trained them, showed them a path, and now they are confident in following that path forwards.

The members of the Icyitegererezo CLA keep busy. All group members have a goat now, and the CLA plans to buy cows for all members setup a business entity, with each of the constituent groups owning a share. The CLA buys durable crops to store and resell when the price is higher, and has bought chairs to hire out to community events and weddings. The CLA also plans to buy marquee tents to hire out. The direct interest motivates the CLA’s members to be involved, “after contributing our shares, all groups members became engaged and interested in the functioning of the cluster. A report is given to them after every cluster meeting. A report about the beans and the maize crops [for storage and sale] and the amount of money saved on our bank account.” All CLA members now have a goat, bought by the CLA, with plans for all members to have a cow in the near future. All members have health insurance, and the CLA buys books for members’ use. Once, all of this would have been a dream. In addition to running their business activities, the CLA provides advice and training to the groups on how to run similar businesses at the group level.


Members' Businesses

The members of the Icyitegererezo CLA keep busy. All group members have a goat now, and the CLA plans to buy cows for all members setup a business entity, with each of the constituent groups owning a share. The CLA buys durable crops to store and resell when the price is higher, and has bought chairs to hire out to community events and weddings. The CLA also plans to buy marquee tents to hire out. The direct interest motivates the CLA’s members to be involved, “after contributing our shares, all groups members became engaged and interested in the functioning of the cluster. A report is given to them after every cluster meeting. A report about the beans and the maize crops [for storage and sale] and the amount of money saved on our bank account.” All CLA members now have a goat, bought by the CLA, with plans for all members to have a cow in the near future. All members have health insurance, and the CLA buys books for members’ use. Once, all of this would have been a dream. In addition to running their business activities, the CLA provides advice and training to the groups on how to run similar businesses at the group level.


A different life for their children


The members of the Icyitegererezo CLA recognise that their children are growing up in a world very different from what they knew as children. “This time [...] is about advancing our children’s education to the highest possible level.” The CLA was granted a derelict house and rebuilt it into an early childhood development centre (ECDC), where their children can be safe while the parents work, and start their life of learning. Their parents have peace of mind while they work in their fields, and the children a clean and safe school that is close to home. The CLA has also started savings groups for children, with the parents contributing for their children. These groups were born from the realisation that Rwanda is a changing country, “we started saving for them because this country has not enough land for our children to inherit. Everyone has to save until their child will grow up [...] because we don’t have that land which our parents used to give to their children in the past.” When the children come of age, the money is there for further education or to start their own business; and, in the years before that, the children have the experience of working with their groups and learning about savings.

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