University of Dar es Salaam, MSc in Natural Resources Assessment and Management.
Kenyatta University, MSc in Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM.
ISAE (Current known as University of Rwanda/ College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Undergraduate Degree in Agriculture engineering.
Save the Dates
Tools for Hope, Inc. (TFH) Rwandan employee Frank Mutesa will be in Knoxville to discuss progress and challenges facing the Rwandan subsistence farmers who we mentor. We want to invite you to three events with Frank; RSVP for the dinners to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A fundraising dinner on November 7th in the Apostles Anglican Church (AAC) parish hall, beginning at 6 PM.
- A ‘meet and greet’ social on November 10th beginning at 1 PM in the AAC parish hall.
- A fundraising dinner on November 12th at Father Doug Floyd’s home (4426 Pinehurst Road, Louisville, TN 37777) 6:00pm – 8:00pm.
These events will be an excellent time for you to learn firsthand about our work in Rwanda, ask questions, offer suggestions, and engage in our discussions about the future of TFH in East Central Africa.
During September Tools for Hope, Inc. (TFH) focused on helping the Twisungane group adopt the skills they will need to successfully run their new motorbike transportation business. Frank held several discussions with individuals, group leaders, and the group to help them understand the basic principles of long-term value creation through effective use of their capital investment (i.e., their motorbike).
In addition to his mentoring for the motorbike business, Frank also began using an extensive questionnaire to help quantify the most important issues needing to be addressed in the lives of the subsistence farmers. The questionnaire will be used to collect information from farmers both with whom we have worked and with whom we may work in the future. It is part of our continuing efforts to learn from our experiences to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our work.
FARMERS BECOMING ENTREPRENEURS
An initial task facing Frank was to help the farmers understand the nature and importance of contracts in routine business dealings. Previously the farmers had engaged in operating small-scale shops and or selling various non-agricultural related goods. The motorbike transportation business, with its loan agreement, licensing requirements, insurance policy, cash flow management issues, etc. is a completely new type of business reality for the cooperative.
The motorbike transportation (taxi service) business is one of the best businesses in Rwanda. Its strong point is that it brings in money daily. Because of the Rwandan topography, which is primarily mountainous terrain, motorbike taxis are the chief motorized transportation means used by rural area populations in their everyday life.
Among the challenges that Frank faced was the belief by some cooperative members that the motorbike was a free gift from TFH and that no repayment was necessary. Frank explained again that Tools for Hope does not give free tools or equipment. Tools for Hope requires repayment for tools such as the motorbike to enable the subsistence farmers to show themselves as a trustworthy business organization with a strong credit history. This will help ensure their long-term success without constant monetary inputs from TFH.
Another fundamental challenge facing Frank and the farmers was identifying and recording cash flows. Accounts needed to be set up and kept covering all short-term and long-term costs associated with the business. With costs fully identified, pricing aimed at ensuring a reasonable long-term profit can be developed. Other issues such as labor (e.g., drivers), and setting up a bank account were also addressed.
The final issue was for TFH and the Twisungane group to have a signed loan agreement. This cooperative is very well known to the local leaders in the government therefore, Frank discussed the loan agreement with the local leader of the Kanzenze Sector. Frank asked that the sector leader (e.g. county administrator) be a witness on our loan agreement which says that when Twisungane group have paid the amount used to buy the motorbike then the motorbike will become their property.
Signing of the loan agreement with farmer representatives and local leaders of Kanzenze Sector
farmer’s weekly payments
We agreed that the Twisungane group should be depositing 21,000frw ($23.00) each week, starting September 25th on the account, 000626709174827 that is in the Bank of Kigali (BK) in the name of Frank MUTESA.
At first, they didn’t honor their payment and Frank had to go and talk to them. He told them that if they want to go far and be taken seriously, they must honor what they have signed. As mentioned above, our farmers are not familiar with this kind of business and this is their first time to sign such an agreement and it is their first time as a group to operate a business like this that is generating money in a daily basis.
Above is the bank slip showing the amount of 42,000 frw deposited in our account for two weeks amount. That’s from 25th September- 2nd October (21,000) and 3rd October -10th October (21,000). And the total is 42,000 frw for two weeks.
Collecting Data about Rwandan Subsistence farmers
We believe that it is necessary to confirm important issues about the socio-economic status of our farmers. We need to know what we should be doing in the coming months to be able to address the needs of the group. We need to know how best to help them technically and to see how we may reach other groups to help them.
We have interviewed 6 people in September and the interviews are continuing into October. At the end of October, we will have the data analysis and graphs presenting the results. Currently, we are still gathering information from group members.
Save the dates in November – 11/7/19, 11/10/19, and or 11/12/19 to meet Frank and to get firsthand knowledge about helping Rwandan subsistence farmers. Plan to attend any or all. RSVP to email@example.com.
The farmers now have a practical opportunity to learn how to manage capital resources to create wealth for themselves. Frank and TFH will mentor them to help ensure their long-term success.
Tools For Hope, Inc.
1540 Robinson Road
Knoxville, TN 37923
Thank you for your continued support for Rwandan subsistence farmers.
Please send this newsletter along to anyone you feel may benefit from it.