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A new SOFDEV (Solidarity Fund for Development) has just been created in the federation of tea producers in Rwegura in the Kayanza province in northwestern Burundi.

The effective creation of this SOFDEV was made during the General Assembly meeting of the members of the Akezakarigura cooperative which was held in April 2020, on the basis of the results of a study on the creation of this SOFDEV which was conducted with the support of Inades-Formation Burundi. The process of creation of this new SOFDEV had started with the establishment of a steering team, composed of some leaders of the Akezakarigura cooperative. This team’s mission was to draw up the regulatory texts that will govern the activities of this SOFDEV .

During this Constituent General Assembly, the founding members were then called upon to amend the regulatory texts, namely the Statutes, the Internal Regulations and the savings and credit policy. It was also the occasion to elect the members of the management bodies of this Fonsdev, namely the Executive Committee Bureau, the Credit Committee, the Supervisory Committee and the Awareness Committee. While respecting the representativeness by locality, the choice of the leaders members of the management bodies had to take into account their charisma but also their intellectual capacity especially for the members of the supervisory committee who are called upon to manipulate a lot of figures.

A view of the participants at the GA of the Akezakarigura cooperative

 

A new SOFDEV  with a chance of success

The Akezakarigura cooperative of Rwegura gathers the tea producers, well structured, from the hill association to the federation which is at the level of the tea factory “the Rwegura Tea Complex”. This structuring facilitates the circulation of information and the follow-up of repayments in case of granting loans to members.

The cooperative has already started initiatives to grant credit among its members, which proves that the leaders are already accustomed to credit management. In effect, in this cooperative the members benefit from credits in the form of advances on the payment of their tea production, based on the quantity of tea leaves supplied to the factory. This practice limits the risks of non-repayment of credits, especially as the managers of the cooperative are involved in the payment work.

In addition, this new SOFDEV starts with a consistent capital compared to the other SOFDEV accompanied, which gives it an important power to give more credits to support the projects of its members.

In its accompaniment actions, Inades Formation Burundi focuses on capacity building support for the managers of this new SOFDEV on different themes according to the needs expressed so that they are up to their tasks.

SOFDEV to improve the living conditions of their members

Generally speaking, the members of these SOFDEV accompanied testify that the services they have received have enabled them to improve living conditions in their households. They consider the SOFDEV as a real alternative for financing their projects, especially for populations that were excluded by the traditional financial system.

At the end of 2019, the 5 SOFDEV accompanied by Inades-Formation Burundi totalled 7,992 members. They were able to grant 1,296 credits to members for this year 2019.

The new Rwegura SOFDEV becomes the sixth SOFDEV accompanied by Inades-Formation Burundi and the second initiated around the initiatives of tea producers after that of Buhoro created in 2015 in the province of Cibitoke.

Elected executive committee of the new Fonsdev

Communication Inades-Formation Burundi

Solidarity Fund for Development (SOFDEV) is a community owned and managed micro-finance model designed to mobilize community financial resources and redistribute the same as micro-credits. The model was developed by Inades Formation at the general secretariat to address the issue of financial access among rural communities.

With Inades-Formation Kenya discover the success of Inades-Formation in the field of community microfinance. Read more here

Financial access is a pre-requisite for community development which contributes to improved livelihoods. According to Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, KARLO, over 80% of the population living in rural areas, derive their livelihoods mainly from agricultural related activities. The financial risks related to agriculture owing to the climate change menace, have seen many formal financial institutions shy away from providing financial services especially to farmers living in the arid and semi-arid regions. This notwithstanding, the agricultural sector is the mainstay of Kenya’s economy directly contributing 24% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 27% of GDP indirectly through linkages with manufacturing, distribution and other service related sectors. Furthermore, approximately 45% of Government revenue is derived from agriculture and the sector contributes over 75% of industrial raw materials and more than 50% of the export earnings. It is also the largest employer in the economy, accounting for 60/% of the total employment.

In quest of bridging the gap of financial access, Inades Formation, a network working in 10 African countries developed a community owned and managed financial vehicle, Solidarity Fund for Development (SOFDEV). The model seeks to mobilize indigenous financial resources among the rural poor as savings and redistribute them as micro-credits. Inades Formation Kenya (IFK) has established six SOFDEV units in the Eastern part of the country that is Machakos, Kitui and Makueni serving over 3,300 community members.

Through its favorable financial products, terms and conditions of service, SOFDEV has been able to provide the much needed financial services for socio-economic needs including agriculture, education, health and small and medium enterprises. Some of the SOFDEV units have also grown as financial institutions having constructed their own offices and even attracted farmer groups from other organizations to learn from them.

Institutional Development

The SOFDEV units have been able to plough back their surplus amounts and construct their own offices and commercial buildings from which they can generate some income for the group.

Kathama SOFDEV is one of the units that has made good progress despite the challenges they had previously faced on management that saw them making losses. The group has constructed an office which they plan to finish up by the end of the year by ploughing back the incomes they have obtained.

 

Sharing on Kauma SOFDEV operations with FSKE and KENDAT farmers

Impacting Farmers around the country  

Kauma SOFDEV has had a steady growth graph since its inception in 2012. The group currently serves over 750 members in Kauma location, Kitui West sub-county and has a capital base of approximately 5.4million. The group has also constructed its own operating office and commercial rooms from which it hopes to generate income once the construction is completed. In mid this year, the group attracted farmers from different regions in Kenya due to its unique way of operation as it is entirely managed and owned by the community it serves; Inades Formation Kenya only provides capacity building and monitoring in quest of strengthening the management structure.

Farmers from Nakuru County that is Molo, Njoro and Kuresoi under the organization Family Systems Kenya (FSK) and others from Kirinyaga County that is Kirinyaga and Mwea under the organization Kenya Network Dissemination of Agricultural Technology (KENDAT) visited Kauma SOFDEV. The groups interacted with 21committee members of the SOFDEV group and got insight on the onset of the group to its current level of success. The farmers were captivated by the group’s leadership and competence in understanding the SOFDEV operations. This established a network of further communication and learning among the three groups.

Kauma SOFDEV members inspecting their construction project