Reconciliation and Healing through Savings

Reconciliation and Healing through Savings

Rwanda
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda left much suffering, poverty and social disruption. These realities created despair and the lowest ranks of society, saw no way to extract themselves from their situation. With something as simple as community backed savings and loan program, people can be convinced to save a few cents a month and receive credit to rebuild their lives

About You
Organization:
High impact projects
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Section 1: About You
First Name

Sylvia

Last Name

Esser-Gleason

Country

, OH, Montgomery County

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

Organization Name

High impact projects

Organization Phone

937 835-3073

Organization Address

PO Box 46 Germantown, Ohio

Organization Country

, OH, Montgomery County

How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, KR

Innovation
What makes your innovation unique?

After the genocide much money was poured into Rwanda, with many good intentions of reconstruction and good works. Still most donors and grantmakers thought only of physical and economic reconstruction, without a thought to rebuilding people and hearts. This is why so many Credit and Savings Cooperatives (Credit Unions) have lamentably failed to meet the peoples needs. The uniqueness of our community based credit union (CODEMARU) lays in our efforts to first address the humanity and psychological and social needs of our population. It takes going out and meeting with with people on their level and in their homes and villages. One needs to learn their individual desires, hopes, and fears and bring them together as a community to talk out their differences and work towards their common needs and goals.
From their state of despair, which stems from fear, ethnic tension, gender biases and past trauma, one must lead them to know reconciliation and rebuild their communities. Thus one can overcome individualism and begin to confront problems together through a community base, in which each individual has a stake. Through a community savings initiative, each individual has a right to earn interest on savings and take small loans to realize economic or development projects to promote self-reliance.

Our savings and loan project is about more than finance. It is about rebuilding lives and communities.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Yes

Impact
Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact

First of all, we have been able to make people realize that many of their problems were linked to their despair, which lead to family, gender and community conflicts. Many women accused their husbands of wasting money on drinking or other frivolities, while their families remained in poverty. Neighbors envied one-another's resources. Children were denied schooling, because of lack of money for tuition and supplies. People saw little hope for economic improvement. By building savings and obtaining credit to start projects through CODEMARU, people have begun to resolve conflicts. Suspicions and differences between the ethinicities and been broken through preliminary dialogs and the return of self confidence.

Next, after three months we started training people in project management and business plans. We are now making individual business loans of 100$ or more dollars each and are paying 8% interest on savings. Most of our loans, thus far, have gone towards livestock and agricultural projects, such as, raising laying hens, pigs and goats. The benefits are already seen in the number of children enrolled in school and the improvement of living conditions. Some people have already been able to buy vehicles, such as, small motorcycles and are providing community transportation

The whole process has engendered self confidence, broken the cycle of despair and permitted reconciliation and the rebuilding of community in which a new level of harmony reigns.

Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing

We are addressing, poverty lack of opportunities, poor self esteem and low levels of education. At the same time we are striving to repair psychological trauma left by the genocide. promote understanding between the ethnicities, stabilize families and improve gender relations.

The ongoing problem for the project is that with such initial success of our program, we have been overwhelmed with demands for credit, which exceeds our capabilities and leave us unable to help as many people as we would like.

Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?

We have created small groups of people (Mutuals) in which people make loans to each other within their group and oversee repayment. We fund these loans at between 8-14% interest. We currently pay 8% interest on savings and intend to increase this to 14% We are providing business and financial training as well as community reconciliation and healing meetings.
Summary of current years of operation:
2008: Total funds collected( Deposits) 5350$ Loans made-4000$ Interest-320$$
2009:Total Funds collected-12,000$ Loans made 9730$ Interest 790$
2010 (through May) Total funds collected 9500$
We predict a total of 15,000$ in funds collected and to make 13,000 in loans with 1400$ paid out in interest.

Every month a report is generated after regular accounting is completed. The results a made available to everyone. These reports serve as evaluation materials of the activities of the credit union for the various level committees that oversee its activities. The Board of Directors meets once a month, and at other intervals as needed We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported.

The ongoing problem for the project is that with such initial success of our program, we have been overwhelmed with demands for credit, which exceeds our capabilities and leave us unable to help as many people as we would like.

We would also also like expand fundraising intitiatives

Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible

We would like a constant flow of monies in order to serve our members and be able to offer this experience to others.

How many people will your project serve annually?

101‐1000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your innovation seek to have an impact on public policy?

No

If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?

We seek more to change community attitudes and ways of thinking

Sustainability
What stage is your Social Enterprise in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with businesses?

No

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with government?

No

Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your Social Enterprise

They could greatly help us expand our endeavor

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

We are entirely self supported though individual deposits.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

In the aftermath of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda many social sequelea and psychological scars linger on. Poverty still dominates many rural areas and widows, orphans and handicapped persons struggle to meet their daily needs.

It would be a travesty to remain silents, eat to one’s fill, remain comfortable in ones home, while all around misery . frustration, and despair reign. When families are torn apart, and ethnic tension remain with in a community the situation is dangerously close to the tragic scenes of war and genocide, that have only so recently wreck havoc on humanity in the last century.

To find workable solutions one only needs to think. In this project we have worked to mend hearts, heal communities and rebuild societies through the creation of locally run microfinace initiatives and small scale economic projects. We have founded an association « Cooperative Pour le Developpement de la Masse Rurale » or CODEMARU (Copperative for the Developpment of the Rural Masses) as a community institution of the Parish of Muhondo in the Archdiocese of Kigali in Rwanda.

Tell us about the person—the social innovator—behind this idea.

Father Pascal Tuyisenge came to Muhondo in 2008. Munhodo is, a parish of 20,000 people located in the rugged mountains north of Kigali. He was struck by the poverty and lack of opportunity in this rural area especially for widows and female headed households. He quickly understood that and economic development program could not take place in the absence of reconciliation, psychological healing and education opportunities. From there he created a plan i to implement both programs to provide psychological support, mediation of conflicts and job training along with the founding of a community based credit union that would serve all members of the community equally.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Friend or family member

If through another source, please provide the information
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