This month Tools for Hope, Inc. (TFH) is pleased to report on two, very positive, significant transformations. The Rwandan farmers are starting small businesses. Their first business, financed with a loan from TFH, will be the operation of a motorbike-based transportation service for their area. TFH (USA) management is transforming to a formal and fully functional Board of Directors per our corporate charter and by-laws.
Frank Mutesa, our Tools for Hope (TFH) employee in Rwanda also took time to visit with the children of the cooperative because they are on vacation from school. His purpose was to evaluate their overall condition and to assess how their lives have improved through TFH inspiration and teachings.
The 2019-2020 agriculture season begins in September, and the farmers are getting ready for the season.
Management of the Cooperative Businesses
During July, the Twisungane cooperative developed plans to manage the motorbike-based transportation business. Small business development in Rwanda is significant because it has unemployment rates above 80%. Additionally, the cooperative will generate a continuous, reliable, weekly income stream from operation of the motorbike serving their locality.
Frank and the farmers have had several discussion and training sessions about the motorbike-based transportation business. As the discussion of the motorbike project was going on with the TFH staff in the USA, the Rwandan farmers and Frank found it very important to discuss how they would be able to manage the loan and to be able to learn from other groups who have the same type of business.
Over the past few months Frank has been training the farmers and their leadership on business operation basics such as: basic business plan development, SOTW analyses, lessons learned by other cooperatives in similar businesses, and other due diligence activities.
Frank discussed with them the importance of setting goals and developing the proper strategies to help them achieve these goals. Frank also discussed with them loan repayment strategies and options. He explained to them the conditions for getting the motorbike loan from TFH and explained to them that if they don’t follow the conditions, then TFH has the option to take the motorbike to other groups of farmers who are willing to use the opportunity.
Tools For Hope, Inc. Senior Management Improvements
In the USA, we had our first meeting of the new management team for Tools for Hope, Inc. Our corporation has formed a more formal senior management team consisting of a Board of Directors and appointed a Treasurer and a Secretary for the corporation. Our second Board meeting scheduled for late August will further refine team-member roles, responsibilities, accountabilities, and authorities.
Tools for Hope, Inc. (TFH) continues to grow and achieve its primary goals thanks to your kind and continued support. Growth involves change. Management of TFH is changing to properly manage this growth. The new management team will function per our charter and by-laws, as well as applicable state and federal laws, etc. More importantly the new team and new structure will fundamentally improve our decision-making and administrative capabilities. With your support and their hard work, the current group of small-holder farmers have drastically transformed their lives and the futures of their children in sustainable ways.
Social Visitation (monitoring children / parental discussions)
July is a holiday time for school aged children. During this time, they always help their respective families on small activities. Frank went around the community just looking to talk with them and to have fun with them. The purpose was to observe them, connect with them, to assess their wellbeing, and to talk to their parents. Frank found the children to be very healthy and doing great. Frank encouraged the parents to keep working hard to see that their children have better lives.
Frank and some of the children
Preparation of 2019-2020 Agriculture Season ‘A’
The 2019-2020 agriculture season begins in September, and farmers need to make extensive preparations to get ready for the season. Frank is teaching them various techniques and emphasizing to them that, this preparation is the most important thing in every agricultural activity, that when you start badly then you will have a bad finish.
Some of the farmers are learning how to prepare a plant-nursery bed, and how to manage the nursery and to know when the time of transplanting for different crops is. Frank and the farmers are focusing on how to prepare the nursery bed for crops such as onion, tomato, etc. Frank also discussed with the farmers, individually, how best to choose and to plan for their various crops to cultivate. Frank’s knowledge and ability in preparing the nursery bed has been invaluable to the farmers.
Frank also encouraged the farmers to try again cultivating chili peppers because chili peppers are a high-value crop. They tried growing chili peppers in 2016 but failed due to lack of proper advice and a failure to take care of the problems on time. However now they can seek Frank’s advice whenever they see problems developing on their chili peppers. Frank emphasizes to them that it is very important to regularly visit the field and they must be very observant and have immediate action taken if need to be.
The way forward
The farmers are eager to succeed at the motorbike-based transportation solution for their local communities and to see what it will bring to their lives. In addition, their agricultural activities are still on going and are now in seasonal preparations. As they await this coming season, they believe this will be their best season.
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