On Wednesday 1st March 2023, a savings-sharing event for 27 SILCs supported by Caritas Rwanda through the #PAC_Project, funded by the American Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM) was held at the Nyabiheke refugee camp located in the Gatsibo district. A total of Rwf 54,019,000 that the 760 SILC members shared was saved from March 2022.
The group with the most savings has 3,722,000 Frw and the least saved has 1,025,000 Frw. These groups are made up of 760 members grouped into 27 groups, including 19 of which are from the Nyabiheke Refugee Camp and 8 from the host community.
In partnership with the local authorities, the Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA) and the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 800 beneficiaries were selected at the beginning of 2022, including 550 refugees and 250 from the host community. Today, 760 remain, as the families of the other 40 have moved abroad.
After being selected, they received various training namely: How to Become more Resilient, Savings and Credit Methodology, Creating and Managing Income Generating Activities, Gender Equality and Equity, Training on Agriculture, and Completing the trade journal.
After participating in these sessions of training, in March 2022, the beneficiaries established the Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILCs). Their weekly savings vary between 500 Rwf and 5000 Rwf per week depending on the capacity of each group member.
In the testimonies shared during the share-out ceremony, participants explained how these groups have changed their lives and those of their families. Through savings and internal loans, they were able to start and expand their income-generating activities. . Jean de Dieu Habarukize, who is part of the host community, said he asked for an internal loan from his SILC which enabled himto grow cabbages. After selling them, he grew cayenne pepper which provided him with the money to build the new house where he lives with his family. Before this, he was poor and was always in conflict with his wife, which is no longer the case.
Rukundo Fabrice, one of the refugees in the Nyabiheke camp, explained how he started by borrowing a small amount of money from his SILC, and opened a place to sell milk and other accompaniments. This allowed him to save more money in the group and even on his personal savings.
The PAC (Poverty Alleviating Coalition) project is being implemented by Caritas Rwanda in collaboration with World Vision Rwanda in the camps of Nyabiheke and Kiziba since August 2021, with funding from the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM). Its objective is to reduce poverty in the families of the beneficiaries so that, at least by the end of 2024, they will be able to contribute to their development and that of the country.