Alphonsine NIRERE

I was born in Shyogwe sector of Muhanga district in the southern province of Rwanda. I am the mother of eight children, five boys and three girls. I am married and my husband and I are both farmers. We cultivate many different crops using traditional techniques and our level of production has been low. We were not able to pay school fees for all children and even to get enough food for them to eat was very difficult.

In 2013, I joined a women’s group located in our sector which is called Tuvemubwigunge. The group’s purpose was to increase crop production in order to increase group member income. Fortunately for our group, in 2012 we were selected as SASHA Project beneficiaries and through SASHA began producing orange sweet potatoes. After harvesting the sweet potato we sell most of the harvest to Sina factory and the rest at the local market.

After harvesting for the first time I received enough money from selling sweet potato to buy a pig. The pig provides my fields with organic manure which increases my level of production even more. As I continued to produce sweet potatoes I was able to continue to buy pigs. I now have 15 pigs which produce enough organic manure for my fields which guarantees my harvest will be good. Through farming sweet potatoes my husband and I are able to afford to pay for school for all of our children. I now have four children in primary school and four children in secondary school. At home, we are able to afford all necessary household items and now have enough food for all.