How one Mastercard Foundation Scholar is transforming lives and creating sustainable development through a dairy goat project

By Brenda Odhiambo
In #Rwanda's Nyamasheke District, located in Bushekeri Sector, a project led by Esther Mukabyiringiro, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar in her second year in the Bachelor of Pharmacy Program at USIU-Africa, has made a significant impact empowering 20 single mothers facing social and economic barriers.

The project, which ran from December 19, 2023 to January 3, 2024 was designed to address nutritional challenges and limited crop yield faced by these single mothers through the provision of 10 dairy goats to provide a sustainable source of essential nutrients. This was complemented by comprehensive agricultural training to combat crop yield issues by providing knowledge on enhanced farming practices, contributing to food security and economic stability.

Beyond its immediate benefits, the project also aimed to empower these mothers with the skills and resources necessary for their long-term economic independence, aligned with key Sustainable Development Goals, namely No Poverty (Goal 1), Zero Hunger (Goal 2), and Good Health and Well-being (Goal 3).

The project yielded significant milestones, directly benefiting a cooperative of 20 single mothers, who received 10 vaccinated dairy goats, addressing both their nutritional needs and income generation. Training sessions on preparation of a balanced diet and crop cultivation extended the project's impact to families, including children and dependents, creating a positive ripple effect in the broader community.

Partnerships were pivotal in ensuring the project’s success. In collaboration with the local cooperative and Bushekeri Sector leaders, Esther facilitated a needs assessment, guaranteeing community involvement and ownership. Local agricultural experts and trainers were also consulted to impart valuable knowledge during the agricultural training sessions.

“The project partner, Bushekeri Sector, played a crucial role in providing a training venue, emphasizing their commitment to community development. They noted the positive impact of the project on the skills and knowledge acquisition of the beneficiaries. The collaboration between the project and the Sector set a successful model for future partnerships in addressing community challenges,” Esther notes.

Despite the project’s success, Esther encountered challenges during implementation. Some beneficiaries faced literacy issues, which posed communication barriers during training. Other beneficiaries had no access to phones, which meant that Esther had to withdraw money to provide transport funds for them to attend the training in person, as the lack of phones meant no access to mobile money services. Budgetary adjustments were also made to ensure the availability of adequate funds for transportation.

To ensure sustained impact, the project will continue to provide continuous skill enhancement programs, ongoing community engagement, and a robust monitoring and evaluation system. Esther envisions that the project could be replicated in similar areas to address literacy challenges through dedicated programs that can further enhance its long-term impact.

“Through the implementation of the project, I have learned the importance of communication, flexibility, collaboration, negotiation, and patience. These skills emerged as crucial factors for the success of any activity, underscoring the dynamic nature of community projects,” she says.

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