The Jimbere project (which translates as 'moving forwards') in Burundi aimed to enable 800 smallholder farming families (4,800 people) to: improve crop and livestock production; increase food security, increase income, create employment opportunities and increase women's empowerment and gender equality. In neighbouring areas, 400 additional families were given agricultural training from Government extension works. Bonaventure and Séraphine recently graduatied from the project.

Bonaventure Mbayahaga and Séraphine Nyabenda at their home in Bujumbura District with the younger of their six children. At the start of the project, the family lived on Bonaventure’s fathers land in a small, poorly constructed house.

“Thanks to the project, we’ve been able to build a beautiful house paved with cement… the house is lit by solar panels. The next thing we want to do is build a house as good as the ones in town.” - Bonaventure.

“We are proud of our lives now.” - Séraphine.

Bonaventure surveys his land. The couple owned none at the start of the project. They joined a group supported by Send a Cow and learned agricultural skills. With money from their harvests, they were able to buy their own land. They now own four hectares, some of which they rent out. They employ one person permanently, and more on a seasonal basis.

“The training helped me change my mindset, and taught me new techniques. We kept our spirits up and waited for the time when we could realise our dreams.” – Bonaventure

Bonaventure tends to the tomatoes. A basket sells for 30,000 Burundi Francs (£12.) These were the first vegetables he and Séraphine grew after their training. They now also grow maize, cassava, beans, green leafy vegetables, sugar cane, mango and avocado, as well as napier grass to feed their livestock.

Bonaventure is now a peer farmer trainer, passing on the training he received, such as composting.

“I have trained some members of my group. I have also given seedlings to one neighbour and tomatoes to another. I feel very happy to help others.” – Bonaventure

Bonaventure and Séraphine were given a sow in 2016 that was passed on from another group member from Send a Cow. She has produced a litter of five piglets: two have been passed on to other group members and three sold.

Bonaventure also buys bulls which he fattens and sells on at a profit of around 300,000 BIF (£121). Séraphine has bought goats and sold kids to buy palm oil seedlings. The manure from all the livestock is vital for enriching the soil.

“We want a dairy cow to provide more manure and milk for the children.” – Séraphine

Séraphine prepares lunch. The family eat whatever they grow and can also buy meat or fish two or three times a week. They enjoy eating and chatting together. After their evening meal, the children can do their homework thanks to light from the solar panel.

“Before, the children did not have good food – just one meal a day. Their clothes were shabby and their education was poor. Now they consume a healthy balanced diet, which means they can learn better. We can pay for their school equipment and uniform.” – Séraphine

Bonaventure teaches Séraphine sewing. With money from their farm, the couple bought a sewing machine for 350,000 BIF (£141) and built a shop next door which serves as a tailor’s and tea shop. Sewing now brings in 40,000 Burundi Francs (£16) per month.

The coupe plan to get loans from their group and bank for their next step.

“We want a grocery shop, and a motorcycle to use as a taxi… We hope our children will go on to university.” – Séraphine

“My wife and I have a good relationship. We discuss projects together, do the work together, and manage our income transparently. It’s the secret to our success.” – Bonaventure


Find out more about the impact of our Jimbere project