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Africa Development Promise’s (ADP) impact is spreading in the Bugesera District of Rwanda. The positive impact has been noticed by many, but more so by Turwayne Inzara Mu Ngo Zacu, an agricultural cooperative that neighbors an ADP-sponsored cooperative. In one short year the ADP-sponsored cooperative was thriving -- it had constructed two greenhouses and their tomato harvest was booming!
Inspired by the progress they witnessed, the cooperative reached out to ADP, who was excited to work with them. An initial assessment revealed that the cooperative had a basic understanding of cooperative principles and governance and was fairly organized. However, they lacked a clear strategy, management training, access to agricultural inputs, reliable market channels, and most importantly, land ownership -- which is a requirement before ADP will support with any capital infrastructure. In 2016, ADP linked them with a local bank to secure a loan for 1 hectare plot of land. They are currently on track for full ownership of the property by the end of 2017.
The members of the cooperative received financial management training to strengthen their capacity to handle various financial relationships, maintain accurate financial and crop production records and pay back the loan. In addition, the 64 members (42 women and 22 men) received training on how to manage a household income. Members also received trainings on crop rotation, modern agriculture, and dealing with climate change.
A new greenhouse were installed in January 2017. In just a few short months, Turwayne Inzara Mu Ngo Zacu Cooperative’s tomato harvest began to flourish. By April, they harvested 50kgs of tomatoes, the following week they harvested 170kgs, and now they have an average harvest of 250kgs a week.
Thanks to ADP, the members of the cooperative are now able to buy health insurance and pay their children’s school fees. Speciose Nyirabazungu, President of the Turwayne Inzara Mu Ngo Zacu Cooperative explained, “[Our cooperative is] very grateful to ADP because since they have started to work together with us we have become more prosperous. . . . Now [our members] have the assurance that the future of their children is more secure because they have better education and health aspects.”
With your help, ADP may continue its outreach in Rwanda and Uganda. Please consider giving to ADP on Colorado Gives Day. You may schedule your donation now through the link below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Support the work of Africa Development Promise on Colorado Gives Day
Denver, CO (November 9, 2017) – Africa Development Promise invites Coloradans to support our efforts to boost women's economic development and advance sustainable business in rural Rwanda and Uganda by donating to us on Colorado Gives Day, December 5, 2017.
Presented by Community First Foundation and FirstBank, Colorado Gives Day is an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy through online giving. The event is powered by ColoradoGives.org, a year-round, online giving website. Search for our profile on the site and make your safe and secure donation in a few easy steps.
“We have begun building solar kiosks in Uganda, where where will sell solar products, and training, and capacity-building can take place,” says Monica LaBiche Brown, Executive Director of Africa Development Promise. “Our goal is to raise $5,000 this holiday season to furnish the kiosks with chairs, desks, computers, and other necessary items. We would also like to receive a share of the $1 Million Incentive Fund.”
$1 Million Incentive Fund
Community First Foundation and FirstBank each contributed $500,000 to create a $1 Million Incentive Fund, one of the largest gives-day incentive funds in the country. Every nonprofit receiving a donation on Colorado Gives Day receives a portion of the fund, which increases the value of every dollar donated. For example, if Africa Development Promise receives 10 percent of the total donations made on Colorado Gives Day, Africa Development Promise also receives 10 percent of the $1 Million Incentive Fund.
To increase awareness of our organization, we are creating a separate fundraising campaign through Colorado Gives Day to raise money to furnish the solar kiosks. With these kiosks, the women we work with will have a place to meet and conduct meetings or receive trainings on topics such as how to manage money, bookkeeping, how to practice modern agriculture, how to cope with climate change, and how to rotate crops.
Community First Foundation, a leading foundation dedicated to fueling the power of community to drive positive change, and FirstBank, Colorado’s largest locally owned bank, have partnered to present Colorado Gives Day for the past seven years. By making fundraising simple for nonprofits and giving easy for donors, Colorado Gives Day is one the most successful events of its kind in the nation. Last year, over $44 million was raised for Colorado nonprofits in just 24 hours. Since its inception in 2010, the movement has raised over $200 million.
For more information about Africa Development Promise, please visit www.africadevelopmentpromise.org. For more information about Colorado Gives Day, please visit ColoradoGivesDay.org. You can begin scheduling your donation now. Schedule your donation early!
About Africa Development Promise
Africa Development Promise understands that when women earn an income it has a positive long-term impact on their whole family -- their health, nutrition, housing and education, which helps decrease levels of poverty. We work in Rwanda and Uganda to serve as a catalyst for economic development. We support rural women farmers by organizing and training them to build well-managed and profitable agricultural cooperatives.
About Community First Foundation
Since 1975, Community First Foundation has been helping generous donors and innovative nonprofits come together to improve the quality of life and create positive change in Jefferson County, the Denver metropolitan area and beyond. We serve as a connector, partner, collaborator and resource to fuel the power of community for the greater good. We are proud to use our energy, leadership and trusted stewardship of financial resources to energize giving across our state, strengthen nonprofits, support donors and find new ways to address community needs. For more information, visit CommunityFirstFoundation.org.
FirstBank operates more than 115 locations in Colorado, Arizona and California. FirstBank is the largest locally owned banking organization in Colorado, serving more than 700,000 customers. Since 2000, FirstBank has contributed more than $57 million and thousands of volunteer hours to charitable organizations. FirstBank is unique in that a majority of its stock is owned by management and employees. For more information, visit efirstbank.com.
Bob and I have traveled fairly extensively since I retired some years ago. We have enjoyed several different countries in five of the seven continents seeing both vast poverty in developing countries, struggles of many in Europe as economies decline due to major geopolitical twists and turns. Of course we have also been blessed as tourists to experience the more affluent parts of communities around the world. However, I would never have imagined the experience that we had while traveling to East Africa as a part of the Africa Development Promise Cultural Exchange trip in March of this year.
Perhaps I was not as prepared as I thought, as I observed the stark differences in Uganda living conditions between the indigenous people of Uganda and immigrants to the country. Yet there was a national pride in the Uganda people. There is such natural beauty in the land both in Uganda and Rwanda. The rich red soil and the lush, beautiful trees, flowers and plants & vast bodies of water tantalize the eye and other senses; as well as music and singing everywhere. But nothing was more humbling than the beautiful, smiling joyful faces of the people as they greeted and welcomed us.
There was such joy that spilled over the women that we met as they beamed with pleasure while telling us about the work that they are doing. We learned of the many improvements to their processes (though still very laborious) with the help received from Africa Development Promise. As I sat on the fourth floor deck of the hotel where we stayed in Kampala, there was constant, bustling activity below in the community surrounding the hotel; men and women working, children playing, goats, chickens, rabbits and dogs running to and fro, and always laughter.
Although there seemed to be a need for people to walk with a quickened pace and determination; there was no lack of warmth as they greeted each other, with in the present joyfulness. I was also struck by the way the people carried themselves...their clothes did not show material wealth, but their appearance clearly showed a wealth of pride and joy. Most of the women wore dresses, and skirts, very few women wore slacks or pants. I did not see any of the women wearing shorts. Everybody was pressed and fresh!
There was genuine warmth when we were welcomed to a grow house of one of the mushroom farm cooperatives located in a rural community outside of Kampala. I also observed a serious attitude in the women at the cooperative as they introduced themselves, shared the history of the cooperative, and explained the process of their work. They were gleeful while expressing heartfelt sincerity, their appreciation for all that they had learned and gained through training, and assistance provided by Africa Development Promise and "Mrs. Moni'ca". As I listened to the women share their hopes and dreams while enduring hardship, setbacks and financial challenges, I was reminded of Nehemiah when he was rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem. His enemies tried everything to get him to come down from the wall; but his response was determined, clear and decisive. "I'm doing a great work and I can not come down".
Africa Development Promise is doing a great work in Uganda and Rwanda! I will do as much as I can to support the work of Africa Development Promise, and hope I can return to see more of the outcomes of these cooperatives as the work continues to build and rebuild the economic lives of the people and their communities.
-Betty Sparrow Doris
There are few opportunities to see firsthand the impact a simple donation has, to make significant change in a community. Africa Development Promise (ADP) coordinated its first African Exchange Tour for current and prospective donors, with the objective of showcasing its work with agricultural cooperatives in Uganda and Rwanda. Not having ever traveled to Africa, I knew this would be a once in a lifetime trip to experience Uganda and Rwanda in a unique way and seeing in person how my donations to ADP were being used.
One such experience was an agricultural cooperative we visited in Wakiso, Uganda, called Epaphroditus, where mushrooms are harvested and sold locally, and one day, distributed throughout Uganda. Mushrooms are a nutritional and flavorful meal enhancement that can be grown in a space convenient to the women, enabling them to be near their home and family.
We met the chairs of Epaphroditus, who are members. They told their story of how challenging it was to grow the mushrooms without knowing the best practices for a consistent successful harvest. Through donations, ADP granted funds to build a grow house on land purchased by the cooperative and provided proper training and equipment for optimal harvests.
Epaphroditus plans to increase its supply by packaging dried mushrooms, which will extend shelf life and allow for wider distribution. ADP is looking to provide a solar generated dryer, which will significantly reduce drying time and improve consistency. The anticipated increase of profits will be reinvested to raise piglets, which will be fed by the recycled gardens, as well as growing passion fruit, which will be fertilized by the piglets.
We also visited two women, Hadijah and Henrietta, who are growing mushrooms too, but also producing mushroom spawn, a very time consuming and detailed process usually done in a laboratory. Through trial and error, they have been able to reproduce their own spawn, becoming less dependent on other producers. Although Hadijah and Henrietta have been successful, proper equipment and a more conducive working space will allow them to cultivate more mushroom spawn to sell to other growers, including the cooperative in Wakiso. ADP envisions assisting at every level of the process - from reproducing, to cultivating, to harvesting, to drying, to packaging, to marketing and to selling the mushrooms. ADP's support at all levels is necessary in this value chain, as well as training others to do the same, in order to create complete economic sustainability in this community.
All of these amazing, strong and entrepreneurial women have become empowered both economically and socially. They are now able to send their children to school, buy good mattresses, and just pamper themselves, all things not as possible before, and all things we take for granted in out lives. Not only are they improving their own circumstances, but their whole community's as well.
Today I shed tears of both joy and sorrow. The tears of sorrow came from our visit to the Nyamata Church in Kinazi, Rwanda about 30 Kilometers south of Kigali. Nyamata Church is one of the places where Tutsi men, women and children sought refuge from the horrific attacks that occurred during the 1994 genocide. The people were betrayed by the church clergy who alerted the Interahamwe they were hiding. The people were brutally attacked and killed in the church. To this day, the church is in much the same condition as it was in 1994. The markings and broken doors from the grenade blasts, the victims’ clothes, IDs, and other belongings are all on display inside the church. Today, thousands of skulls and bones were also on display because they are excavating the mass grave. I took only a couple of steps, stood just inside the door for a few moments before being overcome with emotion and unable to complete the tour. Some 50,000 people who were brutally killed in the genocide are buried there. The tour guide himself was 11years old at the time of the genocide and lost over 45 family members.
The tears of joy came also from Kinazi, Rwanda. As we arrived to our meeting space built by African Development Promise (ADP) on property owned by the Women’s Cooperative, the women gave an incredibly warm welcome to Monica Brown, Executive Director of ADP and to those of us visiting from the US. As we entered the space we were greeted with clapping and singing and the warmest smiles. The women shared their stories of how being members of the cooperative has changed their lives. They are now able to contribute to their households in more significant ways including purchasing school uniforms for their children, health insurance for their families and even something as seemingly insignificant as getting their hair done to help them feel good about themselves. The women's stories of triumph, strength, ambition, gratitude for how ADP has helped them, the success of their farms, their smiles, and the kick that some of them got out of taking selfies with me touched my heart in a completely different way than the church.
While most of people that I told about my trip to Rwanda only knew about "the sad movie", Hotel Rwanda, there is so much more to know about the country. Rwanda and her people will never forget what happened but they have made incredible strides to rebuild the country, cultivate peace, and bring about healing. Here are some other interesting facts to know about Rwanda: Kigali, Rwanda is one of the cleanest and safest cities in all of Africa; It is considered rude to ask someone which ethnic group they belong to; Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills; Plastic bags are not permitted or used in country; Walking on the grass is frowned upon; Rwanda is the leader in gorilla tourism; Flip flops are discouraged in the city center; Many Rwandans speak up to four languages (French, English, Swahili, and Kinyarwandan). They just completed the largest conference center in all of Africa in 2016 and it is indeed impressive.
Africa Development Promise is changing women’s and therefore their families’ lives, impacting entire communities in Rwanda and Uganda. They put together an amazing experience for those of us visiting having a lifetime impact on us as well.
Meet Kusasira Gladys!
At age 39, Gladys from Kifumbiro, Uganda has accomplished a great amount in her lifetime! An incredibly strong and determined women, she has let nothing get in the way of being a great mother for her four children. She has struggled through many difficult situations, but has always persevered. Gladys has been practicing farming to support her family, and although there is no pay at times, she has continued to work hard. Her husband works with bricks, but it is not enough to sustain her family.
When Gladys heard about the Epaphroditus Cooperative and Africa Development Promise, she was quick to jump at the opportunity. With Epaphroditus, she believes her life will change for the better. It is difficult to get proper meals daily and it breaks Gladys heart to see her children cry from hunger- that's why she wakes up early every day to work on the farm and provide a better future for her family.
Thanks to your help, we have been able to help women like Gladys through the Epaphroditus Cooperative in Uganda. However, our work is not done! Please consider donating this holiday season to help women like Gladys achieve their dreams! With your help, we can do even more for Gladys!
As the mother of 5 children, Stephanie had always believed in the importance of education. However, her husband disagreed, especially when it came to sending their daughters to school. As a result, Stephanie began to sell fruits and vegetables along the roadside to make extra money. However, selling along the roadside is prohibited, so her income was inconsistent and scarce.
Despite the daunting challenge that faced her, Stephanie never lost hope. She committed herself to the mantra that 'tomorrow will be a better day because tomorrow is a mystery, so keep fighting.' Before long, Stephanie heard of Africa Development Promise and their mission of helping women entrepreneurs. After sharing her amazing story with Africa Development Promise, she received a 100,000 rwf loan so that she could finally start selling fruits and vegetables at the market instead of the roadside. It is no surprise that Stephanie's hard work paid off, she was able to pay for school fees and send her children to school. In fact, 3 of them finished university! Congratulations Stephanie!
Your donations help women like Stephanie find opportunities that they never had before. With your donation, you can make an enormous difference! Not only did Stephanie directly benefit, but so did her entire family! Please consider donating to Africa Development Promise for Colorado Gives Day so we can support more heroes like Stephanie!
Donate here for Colorado Gives Day!
At age 59, Joyce has faced many ups and downs but when she reflects on the downs she is saddened because they were daunting. She got married at an early age like most girls, and within a few years gave birth to six wonderful children. Married life was good until 1994 when the Rwandan Genocide ravaged the country and over 1 million people lost their lives including Joyce's husband. In the chaos of the genocide, Joyce not only lost her husband but she was separated from four of her children. All she could do was hope and pray that they were safe. Through her faith and unstoppable courage, she persevered. Once the chaos ceased she was determined to find her children and thanks to the Red Cross, she did.
Reunited with her family, Joyce continued to push forward. She was now the primary breadwinner. Not only did she have to take care of her children, but she also had to care for her father who exhibited signs of mental illness. To support her family more, Joyce began to sell fruits and slowly began to gain some financial capital. Eventually she joined Koperative Ingabo Ikingira Ubukene cooperative (A.K.A.the Shield that Protects from poverty) where she made friends and found a circle of support. Now, as the happy grandmother of 6 grandchildren, she is able to help pay her grandchildren's school fees and build a house thanks to loans from the cooperative.
Please consider donating to our She is Her Own Hero Campaign for Giving Tuesday to support more woman like Joyce!
Who is a Hero?
Here at Africa Development Promise, a hero is not just a warrior who is strong and courageous, but also someone who cares about others, is willing to give of themselves to help others, gives back to their community, and shows qualities of a leader. For us, the heroes of 2016 are the women in our agricultural collectives.
Faced with the tremendous responsibility of caring for their families, rural women in East Africa spend most of their day farming in the open field, gathering firewood, collecting water, cooking food, and other household chores. As the men move to the urban centers in search of work, women are left alone with the sole responsibility of providing for their families. With the day, already so full of responsibilities; when can she find the time to earn money to invest in her families’ education, nutrition, health, and housing?
How does Africa Development Promise Support Heroes?
Africa Development Promise supports women who come together to form agricultural cooperatives and collectively purchase communal property to plant, harvest, and sell their crops commercially. This way, they can continue to farm at home so they can feed their families while also earning an income from the cooperative enterprise by sharing dividends. These women are now financially empowered which offers them more options and a sense of security. Although they face many daily challenges, the women we support have proven their resilience and determination in building better lives for themselves and their families. With the right partnerships-whether it is through material or financial support, or educational workshops and training-these women are taking charge of their own lives to benefit themselves, their families, and their communities.
They are their own heroes!
Studies have shown that putting money into the hands of women has a positive long-term impact on the whole family- their health, nutrition, housing and education improves which helps decrease levels of poverty. That’s because when women are given financial control, they invest an average of 90 percent of earned income on their families compared to men who spend about 35 percent. The women we support are not only brilliant and capable, but their actions positively affect the community. When you support an Africa Development Promise cooperative, the impact is seen on a larger scale. The women pay it fo
rward and create a ripple effect where children, men, and whole communities benefit.
Since we started in 2014, we have served 164 women and ultimately supported 820 family members; purchased two greenhouses, built a women’s resource center plus a mushroom grow-house, provided several training sessions, and linked cooperatives to lending institutions and local government services.
The morning shift takes a break!
Support a Hero this Holiday Season!
Support a hero today by donating to Africa Development Promise where we focus on capacity building through educating farmers on how to manage cooperative enterprises efficiently. Using improved agricultural technologies to increase yields, growing appropriate crops, and harvesting and storing crops until the market is prime, Africa Development Promise supported cooperative members are on the road to self-sufficiency! Your donation is vital for the continuation of our goal of building pathways to economic independence for women farmers in Rwanda and Uganda.
Thank you in advance for your kind consideration.
Monica LaBiche Brown
Africa Development Promise
Establishing, maintaining and empowering cooperatives in rural Africa.