Women from Indatwa Kumulimo cooperative enjoying new cows.
Tanasia Nyirabagatse, 50, from Kibuguzo village, used to till her land, using rudimentary tools, wanting in any modern farming methods and putting in a huge amount of energy but getting little reward.
Women such as Tanasia often did not have enough food to feed the family, or enough money for basic essential living requirements and were constantly struggling to survive.
Two of my children had to drop out of school, they didn’t have enough clothes and we simply couldn’t afford medical insurance.
Fortunately all that changed though when ActionAid decided to support a cooperative movement of women in Kibuguzo village, Busasamana sector, Nyanza district in the Southern Province.
ActionAid provided support and agricultural and marketing training to members of the cooperative and the women learnt to grow their own vegetable gardens to help improve their and their families’ nutrition and increase their income through the surplus vegetables they can sell.
Tanasia, cheerful mother of five, is a member of ‘Indatwa Kumulimo’, a women’s farming cooperative supported by ActionAid who grow and sell potatoes and describes how the programme has changed her life, "My monthly income has improved from Rwf47,360 to about 177,600 [£49.45 – 185.46] and I have been able to provide school fees for all my five children and take care of their medical insurance."
The women members started with merely two small gardens to produce crops and now they are cultivating as many as 19.
Today, I’m living in a more comfortable house, my family members no longer lack food or clothing and my children are healthy. Through this cooperative, we have learnt to solve our own problems. We work and no longer have to depend on our husbands.
This initiative has therefore had a significant impact on the lives of women such as Tanasia and is an important step towards empowering women farmers and ending hunger.