The Hills of Rwanda

Posted on June 29, 2010

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I’m writing from the balcony of One Acre Fund’s headquarters in Tyazo, Rwanda, a little village on the edge of Lake Kivu, not too far from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Lots of Rwandans have never been to this part of Rwanda–when I arrived a few weeks ago, I drove down with a Rwandan who lives in Kigali who had never driven the road to Tyazo before. He was shocked at how beautiful it was and we stopped the car several times so that he could get out and admire the view, all the while exclaiming “My Godness! My Godness!”

I’ve been spending a good amount of time here in the field, meeting Rwandan farmers, all of whom tell me they want to buy cows, partly for the manure they generate (good organic fertilizer), and partly for the prestige. It’s unclear whether a cow is actually a good investment, though–they eat a lot, and are fairly labor intensive to maintain. I’ve also been spending some time in Kigali, meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture, various USAID contractors, and the World Bank. Rwanda will be the first country to receive funding from the new U.S. food security initiative, so it’s interesting to see how their agriculture policy is developing.

Here are some photos from the last few weeks here:

http://picasaweb.google.com/snhanson/HarvestInRwanda#

At the beginning of June I went to London for the Financial Times Sustainable Banking Awards–it turns out the One Acre Fund won the award for Achievement in Basic Needs Financing! I was quite shocked, as were all the bankers there who had no idea what One Acre Fund was.

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