Families, food, fodder & Fred!

27 October 2022 | Sam Houillebecq
Sam Houiellebecq is currently in Rwanda with our partner, Ripple Effect, as part of his 12-month JOA Programme Associate placement.

Fodder growing and home gardens:

From 12th-14th October, I joined Valens (Farm Systems Officer) and Shema (Farm Systems intern), on a trip to Musenyi sector, Bugesera for three days of fodder establishment and home gardens training with the Peer-Farmer Trainers (PFTs) and Community Animal Health Workers (CAHW).

‘Participant-led stories’:

On Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th October, I joined Apophia (Project Manager), along with Claude (driver) and a photographer to hear and collect participant-led stories (personal testimonies) from some of our project participants in Musenyi, Bugesera and Cyahina, Nyaraguru for an end of year donor report.

  • Gender and family relations training- participants talked about couples working collaboratively now and making decisions jointly. Women talked about men being more willing to participate in household tasks and sharing of the workload. As a result, relationships and family harmony is improved and families are working together towards a goal/target.
  • Nutrition and diet- the importance of healthy diet consisting of fruit and vegetables. As a result, families are growing fruit and vegetables and are beginning to include these more frequently in their diets.
  • Hygiene- personal hygiene and household hygiene. This includes using simple measures and techniques like washing lines, kitchen drying racks, tip-taps, and the importance of personal and family hygiene.
  • Community group development- How to work as a community group for training savings and working together. Participants talked about previously being ‘lonely’, but now they feel together.
  • Savings culture- families talked positively about starting a saving culture, not matter how small an amount, so that they can save up to improve their house (render the house, put a new front door, etc) or invest in income generating activities.
  • Dry weather/drought/lack of rains/water
  • Food/harvest- as a result of the lack of rains, families worry about having enough food
  • Lack of manure- to naturally fertilise their gardens
  • Lack of electricity (for some families)
  • Health of family members
  • Paying school fees- the families are reliant on a good harvest during the rainy season to be able to sell enough to pay for their children’s education.

As part of the trip, the project distributed water tanks to some community members to support in rainwater harvesting efforts. We were joined by Innocent, the Musenyi Sector, Executive Secretary (the governmental head of the local area), who thanked for project for the work that is taking place, but also encouraged the participants for the efforts in changing their livelihoods. He shared with them how the water tanks can be a mechanism for change in their lives and the lives of other community members. The project participants were very grateful and it was a joy to watch them roll their water tanks back home, where they had already built the stone and concrete base in preparation.

Visit of Fred, Ripple Effect Africa Director:

On the week beginning 24th October, the Rwanda office had a visit from Dr Fred Ochieng (Ripple Effect, Africa Director) and Brandy (Zambia Rainbow Development Foundation, Country Director).