In September last year, the church meeting agreed to fund a proposal from Tearfund to implement a project in Huye district, Tumba Sector, Rwanda, with L’Eglise Vivante, our partner church, taking a central position. The aim of the project is to help communities break free from cycles of poverty, with nine churches and 33 villages in Huye participating. Working through its local partner, Association Mwana Ukundwa (AMU), Tearfund will introduce a process known as Church and Community Transformation (CCT, formerly known as Church and Community Mobilisation).
CCT is a well-established approach that helps communities to come together to identify the needs and challenges they are faced with and, using their own local skills, knowledge, and resources, equipping them with the capabilities to overcome these issues. There is an excellent 10-minute video which introduces the program and what can be achieved by its participants – please take time to watch this if you can.
The program in Huye will focus on three main objectives:
- Food Security:
Double the average number of meals for members of the community each day, from one meal to two.
- Vocational Skills training:
Reduce unemployment, especially amongst young people by providing vocational skills for careers in tailoring, catering and the keeping of livestock.
- Increasing Income:
Through Self Help Groups (SHGs), which offer the opportunity for small teams of people to discuss needs, share what they have learned, and increase incomes. SHG members save together into a central pool from which individuals can take small loans to start, or grow businesses. The aim is for these nine communities to increase the average monthly income for each adult from RWF 12,000 (£10), to more than double this, at RWF 30,000 (£25).
The project formally started in February this year and will run for the next three years. We will receive regular updates and progress reports, the first of which has just been received:
- In the first two months, nine church pastors (from the nine supporting churches) and 19 church elders took part in two ‘envisioning’ meetings where they were introduced to the aims of the program.
- AMU, with the delegation from the nine local churches, shared the vision of the program with leaders from the 33 village leaders, and local government officials of Tumba Sector and Huye District.
- AMU has been visiting the churches congregations on a Sunday, to further share the process and gain commitment for the project. So far, three local churches have been visited including L’Eglise Vivante, ADEPR Sumo and EMLR Tumba.
- 18 local people have been chosen as CCT ‘facilitators’, to roll out the program, 9 who were put forward by the leadership of the churches involved in the process, and nine put forward by local government leaders. The criteria for selection of individuals are:
- a committed Christian
- a member of Tumba community
- available and able to offer their commitment to the role
- able to read and write and share information well
- happy to work in volunteerism
- a good communicator and will act as a good team facilitator
The facilitators will be trained in implementation of the program in their churches and communities, and also how to bring additional support through (SHGs).
- So far, 9 SHGs have been formed across the nine local churches with a total of 172 members.
- Vocational training was planned to start in April, with 66 young people learning tailoring skills. To enable this, L’Eglise Vivante has renovated a room and offered it as a classroom for the training, and an order has been made for the supply of 20 sewing machines.
Emmanuel Murangira, the Tearfund country manager in Rwanda, will be taking part in the morning service at BSBC on Sunday 17June during which there will be an opportunity to hear more.