Staff spotlight: Laurent Laurent Munyankusi, Programme Development and Quality Manager for Rwanda and Burundi. February 2018 marks Laurent's 11th anniversary at Send a Cow. He says, “I still feel the passion to remain part of Send a Cow’s family for many more years and to share with others my little contribution in making a sustainable change for many poor people across communities.” When did you join Send a Cow? I started working for Send a Cow on 16th February 2007, when I joined as Social Development Manager heading the then new Social Development Department in Rwanda. What did you do before? I used to work in research and development, especially on food security issues working for the Food Security Research Project of Michigan State University where I supported the Ministry of Agriculture in Rwanda. I also worked for the then Kigali Institute of Science and Technology. What does your job involve? I give technical assistance to the Country Programme teams in Rwanda and Burundi to help with designing projects. I also monitor and evaluate programmes to ensure we learn from them and continue to deliver high quality programmes. What is your favourite part of your job? I like taking time to think and design projects that will transform people’s lives; coming up with creative and innovative ways in which we can train farmers. Send a Cow helps people to open their minds and become more engaged and committed to doing things differently; bettering their living and futures. I also like tracking the changes and impact we have on people's lives. It encourages me to see how lives can change tremendously, usually in just a little period of time, because Send a Cow has invested time to train them and advise them on how to do things differently. What is the most challenging part of your job? Ensuring sustainability of our training in a limited time (most projects last two - three years) is very challenging. Also targeting more vulnerable people becomes challenging when our finances remain limited! Our approach works well but we are always looking at how we can work with as many people as possible with limited resources. What is happening in Rwanda and Burundi at the moment? We are currently busy implementing all our projects and looking back at previous projects to see how we can learn from them. We are also working hard to get new projects developed and funded to expand our reach in Rwanda and Burundi. What do you like doing in your spare time? I like exercising, reading books and devoting some time to church services. I also like advising local community leaders in planning community activities. What stories stand out from your time at Send a Cow? In October 2017 I oversaw the collection of baseline data for a new project (Ikawa n’inka, funded by Starbucks.) I was so shocked to see how extremely poor the people were. I wondered how we were going to help such poor people who owned very small plots of land. However, three months later, I was so impressed at how their lives had started changing. People were already growing vegetables to eat and sell and were eager to learn more. In a similar case in 2013-14 we established a programme in Burundi where the farmers were also extremely poor. With just some basic training they started to generate incomes and bought small livestock – before we could buy livestock for them! Find out more about our work in Rwanda and Burundi.