Meet a Member: President Marie Rose

Marie Rose Ntakirutimana, the president of the Ingabo Ikingira Ubukene cooperative in her garden.
The sun has come up. Marie Rose Ntakirutimana has made posho (a porridge made from corn), had her tea, and is now in the fields. Farming is what she knows. It is what she has done all her life, and it is now what she hopes will bring her and fellow owners of the cooperative some additional income. Marie Rose is the President of the Ingabo Ikingira Ubukene cooperative in the Bugesera district of Rwanda. The co-op’s name means “Shield of the Property.” When asked why she thinks the others voted for her to become President, Maris says instantly, “We live together. They trust me.” She knows trust is an important part of the cooperative mindset, and says that her goals are not just singular, but “to meet and work together with others, [and] share ideas so that we can achieve.” She wants “all members to get school fees for their children, health insurance, and be able to afford a good house.” She was born and raised in the Nyarugati village, and despite achieving high levels in school, she has opted to remain in Nyarugati. She likes the village. For her, it’s easy, “We get food from our farms and we don’t rent houses.”  Even when do many others are leaving for the cities to look for work? “Without agriculture, no one can live. Everybody depends on it,” she says. Marie recognizes that for the cooperative to be successful, all members must be well-trained. “Our members are determined to make this work but the growth has been slow because we need education to strengthen the cooperative so we can support our members wisely.” She is thankful that Africa Development Promise is assisting her dreams of a well-managed, profitable cooperative. “What motivated me [was] the coming of Africa Development Promise. People had started to leave our cooperative, but now I have hope.” With 6 people in her immediate family to support (including two elementary-aged children), one might assume Marie has little time for fun. Yet she says she loves being a part of her church choir. Being an active member of the community is important to Marie, and is part of why she’s so well-known and respected.  The Ingabo Ikingira Ubukene cooperative is filled with members like Marie Rose, female subsistence farmers who are motivated to start cooperative agriculture and reap sustainable, long-term economic benefits!