Maggy has informed the Fondation Chirac that thanks to the funding, she was able to create in June 2012 Iteka Microfinance (iteka means “dignity” in Kirundi).This microcredit organization aims to provide needed assistance to farmers and shopkeepers in Ruyigi, her hometown. Currently, Burundi’s agriculture depends to a large extent on external aid. It is therefore important for rural communities to become more independent in order to protect them from abusive practices at the hands of certain large cooperatives.
Farmers who receive financial support from other programs do not simultaneously receive training to help them use their funds productively. Once the capital has been consumed, they find themselves once again in debt.
Maggy and Iteka Microfinance want to take on the challenge of providing farmers with the training, the follow-up, and even start-up capital. When they cannot take out bank loans, Microfinance Iteka will offer micro-loans, allowing them to produce and meet their needs, and then repay the sum. The aim is to boost regional development by reviving local growth.
Concurrently, agricultural cooperatives will also be launched with the support and collaboration of a Swiss expert: the Union des coopératives de production Girubuntu (UCP Girubuntu). Members of the Shalom House will be trained to establish and develop such cooperatives. The UCP Girubuntu will offer agricultural inputs and husbandry supplies to these cooperatives.
The initiative will also further reconciliation as it will associate, within each loan project, policymakers, local officials, and populations. The expected result is that these micro-loan and micro-insurance structures can support the population’s social and economic development.