Beata, 45, is a mother of two. She was among the poorest, living in abject poverty in her community. Beata would cultivate other people’s farm fields in exchange for food or little money, which she would use as contributions in a savings group she had joined.
She joined Haguruka Ukore Muhinzi cooperative, made up of 45 members who all grow pineapples. This is when her living conditions began to improve.
“I received several trainings from World Vision that empowered me with knowledge and skills to increase my pineapple produce. This was under the VSLA (Village Savings and Lending Association) and cooperative I joined”, Beata says.
After receiving training, Beata was confident enough to acquire a loan and invest in her business. Through the cooperative, she was able to get an even bigger loan and improve her livelihood.
Beata narrates how she has made great progress in her life since she joined the cooperative: “I now grow various kinds of vegetables along with pineapple. I was able to purchase a plot of land, build a house and even install electricity. I am able to pay school fees for my children and pay off the loan as well.”
She is no longer classified among the poorest in her community, and is able to meet her family’s needs.
Before the formation of their VSLA, every member had a pineapple garden selling to meet their basic needs. It was a struggle for them to be able to save or even acquire loans at individual level. In 2014, World Vision intervened and supported them through setting up the VSLA and Cooperative. Since then, Beata and many other members have made major strides in their lives.
Stanislas, 30, the leader of the cooperative also prides himself in having been able to build a house worth RWF 10 million (approx. US$10,100). He was also able to buy a hectare of land where he scaled up his pineapple growing. Before joining the cooperative, Stanislas had dropped out of school while in high school. He was able to resume school after he started growing financially through pineapple growing. He attributes his accomplishments to all that he has learned through the cooperative supported by World Vision.
Haguruka Ukore Muhinzi is a registered cooperative that grows pineapples in Rutsiro District, in the western province of Rwanda. The 45-member cooperative started as a VSLA in 2012 with 25 members as pineapple growers.
The group was also offered capacity-building in entrepreneurship, pineapple value chain development, financial literacy and conflict resolution, horticulture and vegetable farming techniques, as well as Empowered Worldview training among others.