Summer Newsletter

Update from Darryl and Lynne on their trustee visit in June this year.
Our visit was a busy one! On arrival in Kigali we met up with Theogene our representative and GiFo Co-ordinator and also Rose, our volunteer in Rwanda. Rose and Theo’s working partnership provided an excellent foundation for our visit and we spent our fortnight in Rwanda working closely with them both, staying in Gasundwe and Kigarama, close to project developments in Gihombo.

Our particular focus this trip was Gihembo Forward’s 2019 Action Plan and ensuring that this non-government organisation is working well and independently. In line with our expectations, a sound plan for 2019 was completed and this is a big step forward. It’s worth noting that this plan was generated by GiFo board members, working with Theo to translate their plans into English for us. Rose, Darryl and I were able to listen to their ideas, seek clarification where needed and working this way enabled us very quickly communicate and secure financial agreement from VRUK trustees in England for selected aspects of the plan. Here it is for your information and work is already underway on implementation.

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Murakose! Thank you to all donors! It is your financial support that has enabled these projects to happen and we will keep you informed of their progress and impact in due course. Meanwhile, here are a few details…..

Goat and Pig Projects - These are new developments for 2019. Goats are a valuable source of milk and the manure can be used to fertilise the land. A breeding scheme can enable more goats and the meat can be eaten or the animal sold and so the owners and the community benefit. The recipients will be vulnerable families and they must agree to pass on some of the pig or goats’ offspring to a neighbour to benefit them and/or GiFo. This project seeks to ensure the scheme ends up with more goats and pigs than it started with and so it should be self-sustaining! If you would like to help finance a pig or a goat, you can donate and purchase one! See the end of the newsletter for more information.

Local Government Engagement - Rose, Darryl, Theo and I met the Sector Executive Secretary, Jean-Paul Harindintwari (pictured left) and he was very supportive of VRUK involvement and interested in the plans of GiFo. It is important to ensure that VRUK investment, particularly in income generation projects is known to local government representatives like Jean-Paul. They expect Theo and Jeanette, the GiFo President to submit the GiFo plan and to meet with other agencies to share information about their progress. Working in this way ensures our funding is part of wider plans for the local community.

Stove project - We all visited the Twa village in Nyamasheke with Innocence from African Community for Sustainable Development (ACSD), another NGO funded from Canada, to learn more about the benefits of their stove making project. The Twa are a very poor sector of society in Rwanda and traditionally, they are potters, gathering clay to produce and market their wares. More recently, the Twa near Tyazo have been successfully making and selling clay stoves with the support of ACSD. Darryl takes up the account here. “Stove making in Gasundwe had started in 2017 with a team of local villagers being funded by VRUK to receive training by ACSD. In the photo you can see the moulds for shaping the mud, water and sawdust mixture which has been beaten together to make the clay material for the stove. The Gasundwe project had, by 2018 saturated the local market and production was suspended. The GiFo annual plan for 2019 proposed relocating to other areas in the Gihombo Sector and our visit to the Twa was to compare production methods and discuss distribution. It was very useful and as a consequence, VRUK agreed to provide 400,000 RWF to facilitate a second phase of this project, providing poor families with subsidised stoves, also enabling the makers to make an income on each stove installed.”

Sewing Group -Rose had supported developing a business plan to expand the use of their skills and to relocate closer to the market. VRUK have agreed to provide a loan for an overlock machine to improve the quality of their work and increase their competitiveness at the market. 

Education and Social Welfare Projects – The plan refers to an Adult Literacy programme and VRUK agreed to fund a government sponsored scheme in Gihombo and of course, the continuation of the Early Years provision.

Other developments 

  • Boat project – The GiFo boat is now being used by Abumzumwe, a rice cooperative in Kibati! They are delighted to be able to get their rice to market more competitively. Significantly, the cooperative will be paying GiFo for the use of the boat and this money will be ring-fenced for maintenance.

  • Utilities Update – There are still issues with lack of grid electricity in Gasundwe, and more importantly the lack of clean, consistent water flow. With VRUK support, Theogene has been in contact with Engineers without Borders (EWB) and they made an investigative visit in February to consider the best option. They are due to report back with a plan of action later this year. Regarding electricity, it seems the best potential development will be “off grid” methods and we are currently investigating this.

Gift Cards for sale!- VRUK supporters can now purchase a pig or a goat for their friends and family for Christmas by buying a VRUK card! The funds raised will help supplement our support for GiFo endeavours with these two animal husbandry projects and the cards will provide a picture and useful information for the recipient. A goat costs £45 and a pig costs £20 and we are selling picture cards for each animal. These are obtainable on our website ( or direct from Lynne (

FINALLY You are warmly invited to our OPEN MEETING on :-

Saturday 12th October 2019
at Bollington Community Centre
Ovenhouse Lane
Bollington SK10 5EY

The meeting will start at 2pm when you can browse the gift stall and look at photos. This will be followed at 2.15pm by a very short AGM. The open Meeting proper will include a talk from Rose reporting back on her experiences in Rwanda. Tea and scones will be served at the end of the meeting.