Kamonyi: SHGs Graduation-Citizens’ mindset changed thanks to the Global Civic Sharing support

Think of People; Hope for Change is the slogan of Global Civic Sharing Rwanda, an International Non-governmental organization that supports citizens of the Kamonyi District throughout Self-Help Groups (SHGs).

This slogan was realized by SHGs in the Nyarubaka sector of Kamonyi District in Rwanda’s southern province, as part of the community assistance program run by Global Civic Sharing (GCS) Rwanda.

From 2015 to the end of 2022, GCS facilitated SHGs in improving their livestock, farming and starting small businesses for future welfare, as well as organizing saving groups in order to become a self-reliant community organizations.

Five groups of 173 members (98 women and 75 men) have performed about their yearly savings and all GCS-supported programs have indeed been graduated as mentioned on December 16, 2022, during a self-help groups graduation ceremony held at Nyarubaka Sector.

Small groups have grown and are ready to take on more responsibilities

The graduates are among more than 1,300 residents who have gathered in 40 savings and loan groups with the assistance of Global Civic Sharing, which is funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

They began as a small groups collecting funds to pay for health insurance, but with GCS’s assistance since 2015, they have grown significantly, as witnessed by Kubwimana Jackson of Dushyingane Group -Kintama, Kayitare Faustin of Twitezimbere Kibingo, Mukanyanzira Chantal of Abakundamahoro Tare, and their fellow members graduates, among others.

Self-Help Groups graduation ceremony at Nyarubaka

Kubwimana acknowledged that they began poorly but have since improved.

What matters most is that we have changed our mindset and have become vibrant self-help groups,” He stated.

GCS helps them enhance their agricultural knowledge where farm and livestock groups are trained in agricultural improvement and also receive agro-inputs, as well as saving and loan group situation, which began with 10 groups and has now grown to 40.

In addition to assistance from a small potato processing plant, they have received extensive training on loan demand, how to make them productive, save, and exchange money using technology. On the basis of these groups, they also established two cooperatives.

According to the Executive Secretary of Nyarubaka sector, Providence MBONIGABA MPOZENZI, GCS has changed people’s mindsets and perceptions.

We thank you for your assistance in creating a Rwandan who is safe and has a changed mindset, so they are happy because they have the ability,” She said.

“Our people have reached a level of practical awareness that we would like every Rwandan to have,” she added.

GCS Country Representative (left) contestant (centre) and Nyarubaka Executive secretary during the ceremony

In collaboration with SACCO, Global Civic Sharing assists SHGs to obtain loans. To this particular point, GCS has deposited over 20 million Rwandan Francs to SACCO for sustainable use by SHGs. It is hoped that such amount will be continuously benefitful to saving groups yearly basis where each year, some few SHGs will be selected by Nyarubaka Community Development Committee (NCDC) which was established to take over GCS Projects gradually.

The manager of SACCO Dusige ubukene Nyarubaka (Sadunya) SINDAYIGAYA François praised their performance for repaying that loan at real time.

It’s rare that you lend some groups 20 million francs and they pay back 100% in real time,” he said, “These SHGs are the best.”

He promised to lend them much more than the meager sums already lent in exchange for their cooperation.

GCS Country Representative Mr. Aimable TWAGIRAYEZU admires the journey these SHGs have taken; they have demonstrated that attitudes or mindsets can be changed, and they strive to develop themselves in such a way that they remain at the top.

He insists, however, that no one raises a child in such a way that he is unable to grow, but rather takes the time to nurture him in order for him to grow and fill his parents’ shoes.

Mr Twagirayezu and Madam Mbonigaba giving awards to the SHGs members

He added that as an international NGO with the mission of promoting sustainable development and community self-reliance through capacity building of residents in developing countries, they have helped five SHGs and plan to strengthen 35 more SHGs so that they can graduate in the future.

TWAGIRAYEZU stated that they are assisting those residents in changing their minds. So far, five groups have achieved their goal and graduated. He noticed that they did not abandon them completely because they will be assisting them in various ways especially not limited to technical assistance.

Graduates use a poem to describe what they have achieved

Global Civic Sharing (GCS) provides development aid to needy communities in different countries.

It was founded in 1998 and has its headquarters in South Korea. It works in Vietnam, East Timor, Mongolia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Myanmar, and Kenya.