AKAZI KANOZE (work readiness) Project.

Health Poverty Action, known as Health Unlimited prior to 2010, is an International NGO founded in 1984 by a group of British doctors working for large aid organisations in Afghanistan. They recognised the strong link between health and conflict. Since then, Health Poverty Action’s work has grown to include programmes in 13 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America (with more currently in development).  We always prioritise the most poor and the most marginalised – those neglected by almost everyone else.  This has led us to work in some very difficult environments, often providing the only external assistance.  We currently directly support 4 million people each year through our community health care initiatives, and a further 23 million through our award-winning ‘edutainment’ radio soaps.  Indirect beneficiaries reach much further.

The Akazikanoze project is working with 300 youth in 3 sectors in Nyaruguru district (Nyagisozi, Ngoma and Ngera). It will provide income generation opportunities to 6 bee-keeping cooperatives which HPA supported since 2010. By providing work readiness training and technical training on honey production and candle production, the project will allow the cooperatives to develop their activities and access markets. This will allow them to increase their income and to provide economic opportunities to their members. In addition, the increased income generation will contribute to the continuation of awareness raising activities about sexual and reproductive health which cooperative members have been conducting with support from HPA since 2008.

In this regards, through different projects implemented in Nyaruguru District, HPA has more than 3,000 direct beneficiaries including youth and adults from poor families where the HPA supported them to start small businesses and income generating activities while others are embarked in agribusiness (tea and coffee growing and processing) and bee-keeping activities.

I was particularly interested with the girls who graduated in the Akazikanoze project. After learning entrepreneurship skills, they were able to start their own income generating activities, including basket weaving, selling fruits and drinks in a canteen, growing potatoes and other crops for sale.

 

 

 

 

The girls were empowered to be self-reliant, through entrepreneurship, thus boosting their confidence and wellbeing. Weaving is a unique heritage in Rwanda drawn from the history of what an African woman was culturally expected to be able to do. Woven from natural fibres and grass, these girls learnt how to weave these beautiful baskets from other women, their mothers or relatives, The sale of the baskets provide real sustainable income to the girls or women who have never earned such money in their lives and they can be able to support their families.

Another young woman who also graduated from Akazikanoze said she was able to start a small canteen where she sells milk and fruits like bananas and avocadoes. At her home they were given a cow as most other Rwandans were given cows. She had an idea of selling the milk that she gets from the cows in the canteen. This is because they did not consume all of it at home and they live near a secondary school where she gets customers. She was able to do this after learning entrepreneurship skills from ‘’AkaziKanoze’’. She gets profit and is able to support her family, thanks to ‘’AkaziKanoze!” She hopes to get a small loan and buy more snacks to sell in the canteen.

 

The ‘’AkaziKanoze’’ project which takes place for three months really empowers  youth to be able to make their own income generating projects, be confident and self-reliant.

By Aliane Umukesha

Aliane is from the Nyamagabe District in Rwanda. She completed her undergraduate studies at the Kigali Institute of Education majoring in Business Studies and Education. She worked at Compassion International as a sponsor-to-child facilitator, where she helped children from impoverished families. While she was a student at the Kigali Institute of Education, she volunteered with the Rotary Club where she visited children in orphanages. There, she offered material support as well as counseling to children with psycho-social needs, especially genocide orphans. She also volunteered at Never Again Rwanda where she taught students in secondary schools about peace and reconciliation. After completing her undergraduate studies she worked with Partners in Health in the department of Community Health as a data collector before joining GHC. Aliane enjoys working with her community and contributing to its well-being.