Deo travels to Sweden for a graduate degree and our team in Rwanda grows
We are proud to announce that Deo Niyomugabo, our outstanding employee in Rwanda, has been offered a wonderful opportunity based in large part on the work he has done over the past two years for Tools For Hope. Deo has been instrumental in helping the farmers move from individual subsistence farmers to becoming a self-sustaining farming cooperative. Deo, with his degree in agri-business has been able to mentor the farmers in modern farming techniques and in the basic ideas necessary in operating as a small business. In two years of working with the group of farmers, they have been able to save money, to improve the livelihood of their families by affording health insurance, and to keep their children in school longer among other things.
The achievements brought about by Deo and Tools For Hope in Bugesera played a major role in Deo being offered a full two year scholarship to get his Master’s degree in rural development and natural resources. He will study the first year in Sweden and his second year in Denver CO.
The successes we have enjoyed are particularly significant given the conditions in the district of Bugesera. Bugesera is a dry and arid district located about one hour south of Kigali. During the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Bugesera lost more than half its population. Today, the people of Bugesera live in extreme poverty and most children either do not attend school or attend irregularly. Deo has been able to help the farmers rebuild trust and develop into a functioning team, acquire irrigation equipment, dramatically raise their standard of living, and have hope for their futures, all without charity.
Deo is helping us during this transition period find a suitable replacement for his position. We are interviewing a number of candidates and have a transition plan in place to ensure that our farmers continue to have assistance.
Please join us in wishing Deo all the best as he travels to pursue higher education.
We did it! The BUV will be delivered in September 2017
After successfully raising a total of $7000.00, our farming group will be seeing their first ever vehicle in Sept 2017. Thank you to everyone who donated and shared our posts to help make this a reality. This would not have been possible without your continued prayers and moral support.
The BUV is special because not only does it allow farmers to become more efficient and productive, it is also possible to assemble these vehicles in Rwanda. This means that future vehicles can be a source of job creation in Rwanda and the region as a whole. Jobs such as maintenance mechanics, engineers, agricultural consultants and many more. This is in line with our efforts to create a growth model for poor communities that is self sustaining.
After delivery in Rwanda, our next steps will be:
Research and Development: In partnership with the University of Rwanda, we will study the vehicle on Rwandan terrain. The assessment will include basic safety, viability, utility and usage limitations.
Field training with farmers: Once testing is complete, the vehicle will be released to farmers to begin training on basic operation and maintenance.
The BUV can improve the lives of poor farming communities and create access to water by using the power takeoff to dig for wells or water delivery. The engine can be used for milling and other one step food processing options which further increase the value of what they take to market.
Our fundraising efforts continue as we look to make the trip to Rwanda in December 2017 and pay our employee in Rwanda as he works and trains farmers. Please consider making a donation today to help make this a reality.
Our Trip to the Basic Utility Competition
On April 22, we were in Batavia, Ohio visiting with students and faculty that were participating in the annual Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) Competition. Students continue to improve vehicle durability and performance year over year. Our goal is to obtain a model that would be affordable and sustainable as a transportation option for farmers in Rwanda and in Africa as a whole.
We are currently working on raising funds to have a vehicle delivered to Rwanda for testing on the ground to determine if it would be able to perform on Rwandan terrain. To make a donation towards this vehicle delivery, please click the button on the right hand panel and add “BUV” in the memo line when making a donation or write a check to Tools For Hope, “BUV”. Thank you for your continued support as we work to improve transportation for underprivileged farmers in Rwanda and Africa.
We have received an offer to match all donations made towards the Basic utility vehicle for up to $5500.00. Please consider making a donation to help us get this vehicle to Rwanda by Dec 2017! Please see our other immediate needs below:
Employee Salary in Rwanda: $4000.00
Addition of Goats: $950.00
Basic Utility vehicle: $5500.00
Travel for 2 weeks in Rwanda: $8000.00
We are adding goats to stabilize incomes
As our farmers continue to improve their farming techniques, we are helping them add goats to their farming activities. Goats are resistant to diseases and, with a gestation period of only 5 months, present a great opportunity to stabilize and diversify their incomes.
Our employee Deo is currently training farmers on best practices needed to successfully raise goats. We are also researching on all the locally available resources such as veterinary services that the farmers can take advantage of as their operations grow.
Images from our Dec 2016 trip to Bugesera, Rwanda
On our trip to Bugesera, that lasted from Dec 1-8, we met with the farmers twice. Once was to review their fields and to see the irrigation system in action. We walked 5-6 miles in their fields that day, seeing their farming and celebrating the new growth they are seeing.
The next time we met with them indoors at the local primary school to discuss the current year as well as plans for the coming year. The year over year changes were dramatic. In 2016, the farmers went from not being able to feed their families in the dry season to having their first ever farming surplus thanks to the irrigation equipment and training they received.
We are also very excited to announce that we have in place the technical and financial resources to begin fully developing a viable Utility Vehicle business in Rwanda. The local university (along with Baylor University in the US) and the Rwandan Development Bank have agreed to help with the effort.