In an effort to work with under-served groups to alleviate poverty, the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) recently awarded two grants with organizations in Burundi. The grants will benefit Association des Femmes pour la Paix et le Développement de Kinama (ABANIKI) and Association Kerebuka.
After the grant was signed, USADF Chairman Jack Leslie stated "USADF’s work is grounded in supporting the most marginalized populations in Africa. These grants target some of the most marginalized people in Burundi, helping them enhance their projects, increase their incomes, and support a higher quality of life for them and their communities."
ABANIKI is composed of 82 women, mainly widows and rape victims from a war that lasted almost fifteen years (1993-2008), those abused through domestic violence, the elderly and teen mothers. ABANIKI was among the first organizations in Burundi to bring former neighbors back together after the war. Ignoring the conflicts that existed between the ethnic groups, they supported each other in rebuilding the homes of internally displaced women who were returning to Cibitoke and Kinama. Currently, the women grow rice and vegetables on the outskirts of Bujumbura and also operate a community center housing a tailoring unit that produces school uniforms. With income generated, they provide educational support to teen mothers and further assist their members and those of the community by operating a child care center and providing psychological counseling to help women deal with the trauma they have undergone. The association faces several constraints including the lack of knowledge in good agricultural practices, weak business and financial management skills, and insufficient working capital that prevent it from taking advantage of opportunities to enhance their self-development. The two year grant will be used to rent farmland, support training, purchase equipment, hire a gender-based violence counselor, and send members to an organic training in Rwanda.
Kerebuka Association is a 65-member community organization operating in the Rugari Zone of Muyinga Province, Northern Burundi, a region with severe unemployment and limited assistance from the government. The Association uses pineapple production to assist members and their families create financially autonomous households. Since growing pineapples is a common activity in Muyinga, many farmers sell fruits at a low price especially during months of peak harvest rather than letting them go to waste. Kerebuka sees as an opportunity to create jobs and to increase income for pineapple producers by processing and adding value to the fruits. Farmers have no access to electricity and the pineapple plantations are affected by diseases. The two year grant will fund new plants supplied from Rwanda on a new farm and simple processing equipment that does not require electricity. This will enable the Association to increase pineapple production, and undertake juice production trials as well as work towards meeting food safety standards. This diversification sets the stage for providing jobs and increasing incomes to farmers.
Source: United States African Development Foundation (USADF)