In 2020 Judith Mukacyubahiro, proud mother of son Twizerimana Desire (11) and daughter Isubirizigihe Tuyishime Vincente (8) jumped at the opportunity to participate in Trócaire’s biodiversity programme funded by Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA).
The project aims to empower rural communities living around Nyungwe National Park to manage their land and natural resources in a sustainable, economical and environmentally friendly way.
Through this programme, community members were encouraged and supported to establish savings groups to improve their income and savings.
Judith joined the Lcyizere Saving Group in December 2020 and started putting aside 10 cent per week, hoping it would help her on the road to business success. Through the savings group she was able to acquire small loans, but failed to find a viable business venture. She sold amaranths – a local nutritious, gluten-free grain – to help her get by. But this wasn’t enough.
Thanks to the biodiversity project, implemented by Trócaire in partnership with UNICOOPAGI, BIOCOOR and ICRAF, 11,291 people will benefit directly from the project, of which 6,775 women and girls (60%) and 4,517 men and boys (40%). Indirectly, the project will reach a minimum of 64,709 people from the three targeted sectors in Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru District (of which 33,519 women and 31,190 men).
The project provided participants with livestock, including rabbits and chickens. This helped reduce the poaching of animals and protect the biodiversity of Nyungwe National Park, one of Africa’s oldest rainforests.
Last year, Judith received three rabbits (one male and two females) through the project and given training on how to look after them properly. Rabbits have become a growing source of income for communities living in this area.
In less than four months, one of the rabbits gave birth to five kittens, while the other had six.
Judith is now hoping to add more to her litter and to start her own rabbit farm.
With Rabbits costing an estimated €4.50 she saw a business opportunity and how developing a rabbit business could bring hope and financial relief to the family.
“I was so happy to see how fast the rabbits were multiplying and this made me see it as a good business idea,” said Judith with a radiant smile.
Recently, she bought two more rabbits thanks to a small loan she got from her saving group in order to get her rabbit business underway.
“This will require me to work harder and feed the rabbits, but I am confident that by end of this year I will start to profit from them,”says Judith.
Judith’s business idea is among a number of small business proposals being analysed for extended support from the JOA funded project.