Global Communities is implementing the USAID Ejo Heza program (“brighter future”) which aims to improve the livelihoods and food consumption of 75,000 of Rwanda’s very poor, particularly women. USAID Ejo Heza helps by building the capacity of low-income households to access financial services and necessary to grow their enterprises while assisting financial service providers to develop and deliver effective products to the rural market. The program also supports financial literacy, integrates nutrition messaging and promotes kitchen gardening and improved food handling to support more nutritious diets. With an additional $1 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, the program is reaching another 50,000 smallholders, mostly women, to help them acquire practical knowledge about improved agricultural techniques and marketing of commodities. To learn more, please read the USAID Ejo Heza Factsheet
Global Communities is also implementing the Improved Services for Vulnerable Populations (ISVP) Program, which aims to assist 50,000 vulnerable households in 12 districts. Locally known as USAID Twiyubake, the program is designed to build and enhance lasting self-reliance in a way that promotes mutual support. The program objectives include increasing capacity of families and communities to provide better care for vulnerable individuals; improving household and community care and support practices for vulnerable populations, especially children; and increasing access to education and social services for vulnerable populations. ISVP builds upon the recently completed USAID Higa Ubeho program ("be determined and live"), which assisted over 75,000 vulnerable households in 23 districts. Working in partnership with local authorities and civil society, more than 5,000 new community-based service points were established with the goal of increasing self-reliance – services which benefited both vulnerable households and the wider community. To learn more about the program's accomplishments, please read the USAID Higa Ubeho Summary.
Under the umbrella of the Enabling Market Integration for Rural Group Empowerment (EMIRGE) program, Global Communities is helping vulnerable families and communities through the cooperative development model, by bringing Rwandans together to pool resources and work together to generate higher incomes. The EMIRGE program is primarily assisting agricultural cooperatives in the maize and vegetable value chains. Recently EMIRGE worked with Action for Enterprise (AFE), a leader in private sector development, to conduct intensive value chain studies in the maize and vegetable sectors. The EMIRGE Rwanda program will use AFE’s findings to continue working with market actors to create sustainable solutions to challenges in these sectors that benefit our cooperatives.
The EMIRGE Rwanda program is also focused on strengthening the cooperative structure to ensure the sustainability of these producer groups. We accomplish this objective by providing intensive trainings and instruction on cooperative fundamentals, management and good governance as well as provide an array of financial trainings. The EMIRGE program has enlisted the assistance of an agronomist to implement farmer field schools for our cooperative members which has resulted in significant yield increases. In order to track the progress of cooperatives in the EMIRGE portfolio and compare our cooperatives to other producer groups in Rwanda, we created and have annually conducted the Cooperative Performance Index (CPI), which is a survey tool that assesses the health of a cooperative. We examine cooperatives that fall under the USAID Higa Ubeho program, and identify “lead” cooperatives from their portfolio that can graduated into the EMIRGE program to receive advanced technical assistance. Through the CPI and comprehensive trainings, the EMIRGE Rwanda program makes a significant positive change in the lives of our cooperative members. The EMIRGE activities are part of a larger Global Cooperative Learning Program that builds on the experiences of cooperative members, private sector stakeholders and program implementers focusing on how cooperatives can impact members, their communities and markets around the world. Read more about Global Communities' work promoting the development of cooperatives.
With funding from the USAID's Displaced Children and Orphans Fund (DCOF), Global Communities and partner Hope and Homes for Children implemented the Ishema Mu Muryango (Pride for the Family) program, which worked to safely and sustainably reintegrate children and disabled adults living in institutions in two districts of Rwanda into their families or communities and prevent further institutionalization by developing family-based alternative care options. This included building the capacity of families and communities to provide better care to vulnerable children, increasing the capacity of local childcare professionals and creating an effective district-level childcare system able to address the individual needs of children. Read more about the IMM progam here.
With a $1 million expansion provided by the Walmart Foundation and additional matching funds provided by USAID through a Global Development Alliance, Global Communities was able to expand its farmer field school programs and provide nutritional training to 50,000 additional farmers, 60% of them women, under the USAID Ejo Heza program. The farmer field schools provided small farmers with the instruction, seeds, tools, and fertilizer needed to create demonstration plots and trained them on improved agricultural techniques, helping to improve their crop yields and increase their income. With the additional support from USAID, the farmers also receive training in developing nutritionally balanced diets for their families. Read more about the partnership the WalMart Foundation here.