Malawian Deputy Minister Halima expresses satisfaction over Spark Microgrants’ contribution to empowering communities in Rwanda
The Deputy Minister of Local Government of the Republic of Malawi Hon. Halima Daud, MP accompanied by the Director of Community Development, Ms. Chrissy Chiumia, the Principal Economist Mr. Chrispin Kalungulu, and Spark Consultant from Malawi, Mr. Express Moyo held a weeklong study tour in Rwanda from 22nd May 2022 for a weeklong visit.
The purpose of the visit is to learn about Rwanda’s experience in social protection and local economic development and have a better understanding of Spark’s work in Rwanda and the role of the FCAP (the Facilitated Collective Action Process) in empowering communities to advance their shared prosperity.
Minister Halima Daud and her delegation visited Karwa village located in Bubangu Cell, Murambi Sector, Rulindo District to understand how the Facilitated Collective Action Process (FCAP) impacted villagers’ livelihoods and improved a sense of social cohesion within the whole community. The delegation interacted with village members that chose a cow-rearing project.
Minister Halima Daud revealed that the Malawi delegation came to Rwanda to witness what Spark is doing with the communities in collaboration with the Government especially the Ministry of Local Government.
“Spark wants to work with Malawi as well. That’s why we are here to learn from you, what Spark is doing to communities so that we see when going back home we also do the same”, she said.
She commended what Spark has brought to communities and asked village members to stay together to sustain the changes they’ve achieved.
“I’ve heard that you have goats, and cows, you meet and you share the goats, you share the cows, this is a very good thing. But what I want to ask from you is to unite, to be together and love each other. because if you don’t love each other you’re going to break. You should unite, work together as one family so that when I come again next time I should hear that you’ve got 300 goats and cows”, Minister Halima requested Karwa Village members.
Minister Halima further encouraged Village members to take advantage of the knowledge they acquired from Spark Microgrants as it is the foundation for their social-economic development, especially after graduation.
“Spark is here today but tomorrow they won’t be with you again. The knowledge you’ve got from Spark is very important to us and our families, the children and grandchildren. What I can say is keep it up and keep on doing good work because for the community to develop we need what we are doing now”, she stressed.
The Mayor of Rulindo District mentioned that to recover from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the Government of Rwanda made the three choices that are Unity, Accountability, and Thinking big. She thanked Spark Microgrants for its support to communities especially in remote areas to enable them to shape their own future through community development projects.
During the visit to Karwa village, Community Based Facilitators demonstrated to the delegation how FCAP meetings empowered communities to advance their shared prosperity and helped village members to acquire technical knowledge in project development and implementation. The local population also explained how FCAP meetings improved the social cohesion both between family and village members. They explained that FCAP improved the facilitation skills of local leaders and CBFs.
The delegation was excited to visit cow rearing projects implemented by village members so that they can have access to manure to improve soil quality and increase their harvest. The village purchased 29 cows and distributed them to 29 households. So far 5 cows have reproduced. The village went through the FCAP process and they are about to graduate in September 2022.
The village initiated a number of other projects to address their various livelihood challenges using their savings. The first of these projects is goat rearing with 2 households sharing a goat. They bought 45 goats which equaled 1,350,000 Rwf and 38 goats have already reproduced. The other project that the community has undertaken involves purchasing household materials for community members. So far 75 households have received mattresses that cost 1,500,000 Rfw.($1500) Every member in the savings group contributes 100 Rwf per week. The total savings is around 3,002,570 Rwf ($3002).
Prior to this visit, Minister Halima Daud was received on a courtesy call by the Minister of State in charge of Social affairs at Rwanda’s Ministry of Local Government. Their discussions focused on the role of community engagement in the socio-economic transformation journey, governance, and decentralization, as well as the impact of Spark Microgrants in socio-economic development and poverty eradication in Rwanda.
The delegation held a bilateral meeting with Rwanda’s counterpart and Spark’s management to learn about Rwanda’s decentralization journey that embarked on in 2000 and learned from each other’s experiences.
Minister Halima expressed her satisfaction with how Spark Microgrants is contributing to enabling communities to design and launch their own social impact projects and therefore build their positive future.