Success in first phase of ‘Creating Off-farm Rwandan Enterprises’ project for women and youth leads to project extension by a further three years
Sweden’s development aid to Rwanda goes through various channels. Support for major reform programmes are complemented by direct cooperation with for example the civil society through NGOs, and cooperation between national universities in Rwanda and Sweden.
In accordance with Sweden’s strategy for development cooperation with Rwanda, the aid is focused on four principle areas: democracy and human rights, economic development for the poorest, natural resources management, and research cooperation. This aid contributes to ensuring that development takes place in an environmentally sustainable way, and that the increased resources get to benefit the poorest.
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is a government agency working on behalf of the Swedish parliament and government, with the mission to reduce poverty in the world, and to create opportunities for people living in poverty to improve their living conditions. Through Sida’s work and in cooperation with other partners, the agency contributes to implementing Sweden’s Policy for Global Development.
In mid-September 2015, World Vision Rwanda began implementing the first phase of the Creating Off-farm Rwandan Enterprises (CORE) project in Nyamasheke and Rusizi Districts, in the south-west part of Rwanda. CORE is a Sida-funded project that seeks to contribute to the increase of household off-farm income for women and youth in these two Districts.
Limited access to skills training, market information, and financial services for women and youth is among the major problems that the project seeks to address; as is that there are limited support structures in place for entrepreneurs in these Districts.
Over the course of its first three-year phase that had a budget of Rwf 5,286,750,000 (just under US$ 6million) CORE touched thousands of lives; resulting in a strengthened environment for the creation and successful management of women and youth-run cooperatives; increased off-farm entrepreneurship and market-oriented businesses among women and youth; increased access to and utilization of financial services for women and youth entrepreneurs and for women and youth-run cooperatives; and improved access to and utilization of information technology for youth and women to support off-farm businesses.
In the first phase of CORE, World Vision Rwanda signed MoU agreements with different partners that included local government, the Anglican Church at Cyangugu, the Faith Victory Association, and the Réseau Interdiocésain de Microfinance (RIM) to implement project activities that, among other achievements, celebrated the creation of close to 1,500 village savings and lending associations with more than 35,000 members (80% of whom were female), who put together Rwf 656,623,329 (approx. US$ 745,214) in savings and Rwf 667,177,554 (approx. US$ 757,192) in loans.
Throughout this first phase of implementation, CORE saw more than 7,000 new off-farm jobs created for women and youth across different domains including carpentry, pottery, masonry, hairdressing, tailoring, and bakery.
These and other achievements having demonstrated the potential of a CORE-type project to transform lives for good, Sida has decided to award another grant to World Vision Rwanda to be used exclusively for the implementation of CORE for another three-year period, starting October 2018 and ending September 2021. An agreement for this was officially signed on 19 September 2018 at World Vision Rwanda's headquarters in Kacyiru.
The total budget for the second phase of CORE, which is set to expand to more Administrative Sectors within Rusizi and Nyamasheke Districts, is Rwf 5,815,425,000 (or US$ 6,600,000), with 91% of that funding coming from Sida and the rest from World Vision Rwanda.
Phase 2 of CORE will for one outcome adopt a Market Systems Approach (MSA), where selected value chains (garment and honey and hive as at now) will be exposed to lead firms for market facilitation and market based solutions. CORE will also introduce a cost-sharing component when it comes to the distribution of toolkits to individuals, groups and vocational training centres. This is set to increase the level of accountability and responsibility for the beneficiaries that will acquire the toolkits.
The population target for the second phase of CORE is 58% of the population in Nyamasheke and Rusizi Districts currently classified in Ubudehe wealth ranking categories 1 and 2. That is over 60,000 people unable to meet their own basic needs –let alone those of their families.