July 15, 2024

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VUP transforming lives in Nyamasheke

By Justine Kayiranga

Originally established in 2008 as a flagship programme within the first Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS), Vision 2020 Umurenge Program (VUP) seems to have played a significant role in the transformation of the lives of the underprivileged in Rwanda.

In Nyamasheke district as well as in other parts of the country, the program was launched in 2008 and started in Mahembe sector where it provided direct support (VUP/DS) to families in the 1st category of Ubudehe.  

During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, VUP was expanded to all 15 sectors in Nyamasheke district, where it helped the people by providing them with subsidies, jobs, micro-credits and more.

According to statistics provided by Nyamasheke District, it shows that so far, more than 19,000 residents from low-income families have been given micro-loans to start small, profitable businesses through VUP financial services (VUP/FS).

Speaking to TOP AFRICA NEWS, Nyirandimubanzi Beatrice, a resident of Macuba sector, revealed that she got a loan through VUP group and it has helped her family to improve their living conditions.

“They gave me about one hundred and fifty thousand Rwandan francs. My husband decided to buy a cow. The cow helped us get fertilizer for our soil.

We used to harvest less than 10 kilograms of beans, but now we are harvesting a bag of more than 100 kilograms of beans.

“Today we get enough produce to sell and the income enables us to pay for health insurance, improve our livelihoods, and the best of it is that we have moved from living in the high-risk zone after completing our own house in our village estate.” Beatrice said.

With all VUP’s components that have been set up to uplift communities’ livelihoods to better conditions, Mukamasabo Appolonie, the mayor of Nyamasheke district, hopes that with the assessment/survey that is being conducted, the number of people living in extreme poverty in the district will decrease.

She said: “In general, the rate of poverty can be determined by the study findings as it is the one that can best illustrate it. But we hope that the outcomes will be positive due to the steps we have already taken to alleviate our people from poverty.”

About RWF 4 billion is the amount that has been provided as micro-credits to people in all 15 sectors of Nyamasheke district.

Gatsinzi Justine, the Social Protection Division Manager at Rwanda Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA) revealed that due to the efforts made by the Government of Rwanda in the fight against poverty among the community, the VUP budget has now increased by more than 25 times compared to the past.

“VUP is expanding because in its first year it started with a budget of about RWF 2 billion, but now we have reached the point where we do not go below RWF 50 to 60 billion every year.”

“We see this as evidence that the Rwandan government is focusing on the development of the people so that they can become’ self-reliant and prosperous.” Gatsinzi Said

VUP micro-credit targets individuals in extremely poor (Ubudehe Category 1) and vulnerable (Ubudehe Category 2) households and it helps them to develop sustainable income generating activities through: the provision of formal training in financial literacy; technical support to the development of applications for micro-credit; and coaching on micro-enterprise management. 

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