Dufatanye is a farming co-operative in the Rwandan district of Nyanza. It consists of 77 adult members and 250 children who are dependent beneficiaries of Dufatanye. The co-operative was brought to life as a safe haven for genocide victims and people marginalised by society to come together in forgiveness to support each other and create a future for themselves and their children.
Revenue is generated through the growth and sale of agricultural products and equally dispersed among the members. However, despite their best efforts the co-operative has encountered losses resulting in substantial social needs.
- 40 members suffer from HIV
- Underdeveloped irrigation and problems with drainage inhibit crop production.
- Insufficient housing and inadequate sanitation require attention and improvement.
- Insufficient funding has denied some of the co-operative’s children access to education and
Our vision at SIFE Newcastle is to make Dufatanye a self-sustainable, profit generating co-operative that can resolve its social needs and create a future for all of its members.
Our first objective was to gain an understanding of the situation at Dufatanye. Through the analysis of existing information in co-operation with Dufatanye we managed to create a portfolio of the co-operative. As certain areas were left unclear we built a strong relationship with Coco, a Newcastle based, international children’s charity, which agreed to carry out a professional needs assessment for us. Based on our portfolio we identified various areas for Coco to focus their assessment on.
The results of the needs assessment showed that there was a distinct lack of business expertise at the co-operative. Based on the finding of the needs assessment we were able to develop our mission which is
“to provide guidance and advice in matters of business to enhance Dufatanye’s income generation”
As the co-operative has only a very limited record keeping system, leaving them in the dark in terms of their cash flow, we decided to focus on putting Dufatanye in control of its own finances by supplying knowledge on basic record keeping to the members. Knowledge on for example profit margins will help the co-operative to determine what crops generate the highest profits and which agricultural measures to invest in.
Due to the geographical distance between ourselves and Dufatanye we have decided to transfer such financial skills through e-tutorials that can be uploaded to the internet. These e-tutorials will be held in English, but with Kinyarwanda subtitles, which shall be provided through support from the Rwandan association in Newcastle.
We realise the importance of creating a local support network for the co-operative as we believe this could lead to the formation of a profitable and functioning supplier network with local businesses and markets. Therefore, we have leveraged the support of Coco further which allowed us to get into contact with the Rwandan Co-operative Agency and a Rwandan Consultancy Firm.
Our performance will be measured in terms of direct impact on the financial situation of the co-operative, which will be reflected in Dufatanye’s records. Our success however will be visible when we can step away from this project safe in the knowledge that Dufatanye has become a self-sustaining, profit generating co-operative that is able to independently resolve its social needs.