ConnectAID launches its Ambassador Program :
Diary from HINDDOU MAIGA (Rwanda)
As part of its Ambassador Program, ConnectAID sent its first Field Reporter to Rwanda to visit nonprofit FXB's Community Development To Break The Circle Of Poverty project. Hinddou Maiga reports back on her experience and what she has seen on the ground.
"As ConnectAID’s first Field Reporter, I had the opportunity to meet with the Community Development project's beneficiaries in Rwanda. The experience has been both very rewarding and insightful. It allowed me to directly interact with the local communities involved in the project and gain a genuine understanding of their needs as well as the true impacts of the development project on their lives.
During my time in Rwanda, in liaison with the wonderful locally-based team, I carried out field visits to sites of sites where the project is being implemented by the NGO and was able to observe first-hand how individuals and communities are being impacted.
I visited families that are being supported to learn new skills to help them to become more financially self-sufficient and to secure a stable future; I watched a group of teenage students showcase the beautiful ‘Made in Rwanda’ designs that they produced upon completing a six-month tailoring program; and I got to hear about the transformations that having access to menstrual and sanitary products have brought to the daily lives of a group of adolescent girls being taught about their reproductive health and rights.
What particularly stood out and united all of these projects was seeing the ripple effect on communities at large, of empowering individuals and families. It was incredible to see how a six-month apprenticeship for young adolescent girls to learn hairdressing as a future income-generating activity was being led by a woman who was herself one of the first beneficiaries of a similar program twenty years prior; or how a savings group of young mothers constituting of a mix of women from different paths of life has helped many of them to avoid risky jobs such as prostitution while contributing to cultivating a culture of tolerance within their communities.
An interaction that particularly stuck with me is one with a teenage mother of two who had her children out of wedlock and fallen into depression from the huge strain this had placed on her relationship with her mother as well as the discrimination she subsequently received from her community. She explained how the support that she received through the project had helped her to get back on her feet not only financially but also psychologically, with the help of therapy provided to both her and her mother which helped them to amend their relationship and to regain hope for the future.
As a ConnectAID Field Reporter, this unique opportunity to be on the ground and to observe how such projects are being implemented has increased my awareness of the real impacts of these types of interventions on local communities. I saw with my own eyes how donated resources are utilized in a way that maximizes the impacts on the most vulnerable communities and that aligns with their long-term needs, therefore breaking the circle of poverty.
It was really great to witness the work that truly committed and compassionate individuals, such as those working on the FXB Rwanda team, are carrying out to assure the maximization of project resources for improving the lives of beneficiaries.
As ConnectAID continues to expand its reach and to connect people to more projects across different parts of the world, such field visits under the Ambassador Program will undoubtedly play an important role in ensuring that the actual individuals and families being supported continue to remain the core and focus of all support efforts towards ongoing humanitarian and development projects."