RUYIGI December 17th (ABP) – The Minister of National Solidarity, Social Affairs, Human Rights and Gender, Mrs. Imelde Sabushimike, calls on the beneficiaries of the first traunch of the Merankabandi social safety nets project, to ensure the sustainability of the achievements of that project to avoid falling behind in development.
That appeal was made on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, during the solemn closing ceremonies of that project, after its three years of activity in Ruyigi province.
The ceremonies took place in the Muriza village and zone, Butaganzwa commune. The latter was chosen as a pilot from the start of the project to serve as an example in its implementation at the national level.
In his preliminary speech, the country coordinator of that project, Mr. Michel Nyabenda, said he was satisfied with the step already taken by the people who have just passed those last four years, with the financial and technical support of that project at the level of the commune of Butaganzwa, which, moreover, he underlined, was the torchbearer and a good example of success and worthy of being followed.
Mr. Nyabenda also indicated that at the beginning of the project, some hesitations and doubts were among the challenges, due to the fact that the project was very new in Burundi and that in some other countries, which had initiated such projects, had simply and miserably failed, because the affected people had refused to change their behavior and had produced nothing from the money that was given to them as capital. Such attitudes were especially evident in some West African countries, he said.
So, he pointed out that there was a major risk that the beneficiaries would cross their arms because of that monetary payment and spend their time waiting for the following payments until the project ends without profiting from it as interest for a better future.
He also invited the entire assembly present to follow with interest the testimonies of beneficiaries whose lives have positively changed thanks to that project.
Among the beneficiaries, a woman testified that the Merankabandi project came when she was in a state of extreme poverty, destitution linked to her situation as a widow; she was returned to live with her parents with her children because she was chased away by her parents-in-law who suspected her of a witch who killed her own husband, she said.
She added that she then set about raising two piglets, each of which gave birth to eight piglets. She later sold them to get start-up capital for a business. That business flourished until she bought a plot, in which she built a house of baked bricks, and covered with iron sheets.
She thus continued her pig breeding, her trade but also agriculture and her capital continued to increase. She also noted that she had just purchased an equivalent property of 300,000 Burundi francs, dedicated to agriculture.
That brave lady asked all people in poverty to believe that it is possible to change and become like others, when you have faith and set to work diligently and with specific purpose.
The Minister in charge of Solidarity Mrs. Sabushimike, made a strong appeal to all former beneficiaries of that project, to avoid any distraction or any other situation or individual likely to slow them down or prevent them from continuing in development. She invited them to serve as a positive role model and social reference for the community that aspires to its self-development.