Tag Archives: Farming

Burundi: The role of Savings Groups in the Midst of Crisis

Despite all the upheaval in Burundi, Plant With Purpose’s programs there continue to function much as before, with the exception of those closest to the capital, where the violence has been the worst. One thing that we are quite interested in understanding better is how the work we are doing in communities is helping people weather the current upheaval, helping them to continue to farm their land and to maintain trust in their communities. One statistic that we track very closely is the average weekly savings rate across the program. We currently have 6,500 families in 268 groups. The savings rate over the last six quarters is shown here:

Burundi Crisis Savings

What does the increase in savings rate mean? While it might reflect a measure of fearfulness and lack of opportuntity to invest money on things like crop inputs, hopefully it also reflects the deep level of trust amongst that VSLA groups help to foster. One would also hope that the trust fostered by these groups could also help prevent a deepening cycle of violence in Burundi.

A Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) meetings in southern Burundi

A Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) meetings in southern Burundi

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A Presidential Goal for Tanzania

Guest Post! A reflection on the work of Plant With Purpose in light of President Obama’s remarks during a press conference while in Tanzania last week, by development department intern Maddy Swoy.

During President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Tanzania, he was greeted with warmth and gratitude. President Jakaya Kilkwete of Tanzania thanked President Obama and the United States for their effort to assuage Tanzania’s “food security” problem, which has led to “nutrition security” and is “building Tanzania’s capacity for self-sufficiency and food supply.” President Obama said, “Tanzania has the potential to unlock new economic growth not only in this country, but all across East Africa.” He continued, “President Kilkwete and I agree to keep tackling the hurdles of greater economic growth, starting with the sector where the vast majority of Tanzanians work, and that’s the agricultural sector.” The United States is taking action through the Feed for Future campaign, which works with 14,000 farmers, and has helped to increase yields by 50 percent.

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This type of work is aligns closely to that of Plant With Purpose as farmers are trained to engage with sustainable and practical farming techniques that serve as long-term solutions to food scarcity, water shortage, malnutrition, and community development.

As President Obama said, “Ultimately the goal here is for Africa to build Africa for Africans and our job is to be a partner in that process.” Plant With Purpose is doing just that in empowering farming families and helping them help themselves by inspiring farmers to take pride in their work and affording them the ability to provide for their families with dignity. Plant With Purpose is empowering communities to go together, creating self-sustainable, dignified results.

Through Plant With Purpose’s trainings on family gardens, small-scale farming, and tree seedling production, change is certainly underway due to diversity of diet and having excess produce and seedlings to be sold for income. Each of these projects supports President Obama’s effort for “higher incomes and a ladder for families and communities to greater prosperity.” Plant With Purpose is adding rungs to this ladder by approaching the issue holistically—by helping to restore the environment, providing outlets for economic opportunity, and inspiring hope.

President Obama said, “We (the United States and Tanzania) are looking at a new model that’s based not just on aid and assistance, but on trade and partnership… I am inspired because I’m absolutely convinced that with the right approach, Africa and its people can unleash a new era of prosperity.” Plant With Purpose is working to do just that. With an increase in income and improved nutrition, children are able to attend school, overall family and community health improves, families generate a buffer of savings for crisis, and transformation spreads across generations, among communities, and within regions.

 

 

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