By Cindi Mick
In March 2019, I visited Africa Development Promise’s projects in Rwanda and Uganda and witnessed the wonderful progress made in the field. I was deeply impacted by the difference the women are making in their communities and families. I left inspired, with a renewed hope and an optimistic view of the world.
It was wonderful to be back in Rwanda. A visit to the genocide memorial gave us a sobering historical perspective of the country and a visit to Akagera Safari Park was fun. However, the “wow” of our tour was experiencing the women’s cooperatives we visited. I will always remember the heartwarming welcome, and the greetings of song and dance. Their enthusiasm was contagious and soon, we were all up dancing and rejoicing together, celebrating their successes.
The women proudly shared how their cooperative was improving their lives and expressed their overwhelming appreciation of Africa Development Promise. At that moment, we all realized what a huge impact the availability of training and infrastructure support can make.
Our next stop was Uganda. This was my first time traveling there. The capital, Kampala is a lively, bustling city while the surrounding areas are lush and green with a stunning country landscape. Much like Rwanda, the highlight of the trip was visiting the women’s cooperatives supported by Africa Development Promise. I am still in awe of the Epaphroditus Women’s Cooperative where the women grow mushroom and are creatively developing a unique and sustainable business. Visiting was uplifting and I was encouraged by the business savviness of the women so much so that I bought their mushrooms for souvenir. ADP and the Epaphroditus have been working together successfully since 2015. Responding to a clear need, ADP developed a 50/50 co-financing plan to help the cooperative purchase half an acre of land – both the cooperative and ADP contributed 50% of the mortgage. Once the land was Africa purchased, ADP helped the cooperative construct a large, modern growing facility, with a mist irrigation system.
While in Uganda, we also visited the solar kiosks, an innovative solution to meet the electrification needs of the community. And the last agricultural cooperative we visited was on the brink of success because of the help of ADP, and their name “Yes We Can” is a perfect reflection of their attitude. In reflection, I am reminded of the quote, when you give you receive in abundance. In both Rwanda and Uganda there is an abundance of reward and positive impact because of the support and presence of Africa Development Promise. Congratulations on a mission that continues to excel and succeed. I am already looking forward to visiting again.