The Program Director at Spark MicroGrants Rwanda, Albert Uwayo explained that they first carried out research to identify citizens’ plans to mitigate COVID-19 effects and later provided funds to deal with most pressing issues.
First of all, the organization carried out research to identify if citizens have enough information about the pandemic and preventive measures and supported the Government to implement mobilization by sending short messages to all citizens in its database educating them about COVID-19 and preventive measures.
Thereafter, after learning how the pandemic has affected their source of income and employments amidst struggles to feed families, Spark MicroGrants negotiated donors to help them get rid of these challenges.
As Uwayo explained, the funds helped Spark MicroGrants to support 135 villages covered by the organization countrywide.
“We initially provided Rwf 27,000 to each village to distribute COVID-19 preventive kits to beneficiaries including face masks and hand sanitizers,” noted Uwayo.
The organization also provided Rwf 900,000 funding to each beneficiary village to mitigate the pandemic’s effects that was utilized based on most pressing issues.
“They decided how to utilize the money because beneficiaries had cited different issues related to inadequate foods, lack of Mutuelle de Santé, lack of seeds,” said Uwayo.
He appealed on beneficiaries and Rwandans in general to continue adhering to instituted health guidelines and embrace saving culture to be able to deal with any emergencies.
Usually, Spark MicroGrants provides a platform whereby citizens form groups discuss profitable projects and later provides funding for implementation.
This project initiative works in partnership with the Social Economic Development Officer (SEDO), these are the ones that follow up people called ‘Inyenyeri’ meaning ‘stars’ elected by the village members to support them to run village meetings.
When the village has set up and become organized, those Inyenyeri help the village members through various brainstorming sessions project ideas that can help them to reach their goal; they spend six-month meeting and perfecting their project. After that Spark MicroGrants provides grants to the village to implement their projects and keeps working with that village for a period of three years.
Spark MicroGrants has been operating in Rwanda since 2010 with interventions covering Musanze, Burera, Gakenka, Rulindo and Gisagara districts.
As of last year’s figures, it had helped about 69.973 Rwandans.
Spark MicroGrants’ vision is to see a world where everybody lives with dignity and shape their own positive future.