Source: New Vision
It is about 48km from Rushere to Imiramiranga Nyakabungo village in Kiruhura district. The journey is characteristed by a bumpy murrum road and the area is dominated by mud-and-wattle houses.

The state of the road forces the boda boda cyclists to hike transport fares as the fuel is scarce and only sold in small water bottles.

In the face of these hardships, one hand has come up to help the village fight poverty through farming and saving, a culture that has changed the lives of many in the area.

The hand

Eluvanice Kabarungi was born in 1964 in Bushenyi district. She got married in Kiruhura and settled there. While there, Kabarungi noticed that the people were laid back, despite owning acres of land.

"I wondered how people could own such large chunks of land and not utilise them. Most of them believed the land was infertile since it was rocky.

The women used to buy vegetables, yet they could grow them in their backyard. I could not draw a line between town and village life, which seemed absurd. I decided to do the transformation myself. I started by growing food crops on my husband's land and I got good yields. This made me conclude that people in my area were just lazy," Kabarungi says.

In 2002, she talked to some of her neighbours so they could start farming as a group. However, they refused, saying they would be wasting time since the land was rocky.

Kabarungi decided to change her tactic by mobilising a group of 30 women, who started buying utensils and giving them to different members each week.

This inspired more women to join the group, which was later called Imiramiringa Bataka Tweyamba Group (Imiramiranga means 'members we help each other').

With time, the group took on farming. Kabarungi offered land where they started a piggery. They bought three sows. When they delivered, they started distributing the piglets to some of the members and today, everyone owns a piggery.

They also bought goats for Muslims members and later introduced poultry. The group now runs a mixed farm.

Members benefit

Rita Natwijuka is one of the beneficiaries, who got a piglet at the start. Today, her farm comprises 12 pigs, goats and 300 chicken.

"I had nothing at my home as we only depended on small-scale subsistence farming. When I joined the group, I was taught the various forms of farming that have transformed my home.

I now have a coffee and a banana plantation. Kabarungi enlightened us and changed our attitudes. In the near future, we will become a modern farming village," Natwijuka says.

Savings in the group

As part of the group's resolutions, they started collecting money they would use as start-up capital for their new projects.

"Our new project was catering. When we collected sh100,000, we bought four saucepans and plates to start with. The money we got from providing catering services purchased supplies and assets like a tent and over 200 plastic chairs," Kabarungi says.

With the money from the catering services, they opened a savings scheme and members started to save sh5,000 every week.

Handling soft loans

They set rules which each member had to follow to guard against defaulting. People would borrow money and default on payment.

"We are strict on issues concerning borrowing. We monitor borrowers, ascertain what they are doing and give them advice on which projects are profitable. That way, we have been able to curb defaulting," Kabarungi says.

With the 57 group members, the group has also introduced craft making, to help the youth earn an income. .


Kabarungi says the biggest challenge is lack of water. People have to walk long distances looking for water to irrigate their vegetables. As a result, many people are abandoning farming and leaving their land idle.

They also face a problem of poor road network, which hinders transportation of produce to potential markets in town. This forces members to sell their produce cheaply with in the village.


The group wants to set up a large joint farm, where they will carry out different types of farming activities. They also want to buy a motorcycle to transport their produce to the markets.


Nominee: Eluvanice Kabarungi

Innovation: Founded Imiramiringa Bataka Tweyamba Group in Kiruhura

Quote: "The women used to buy vegetables, yet they could grow them in their backyards. I could not draw a line between town and village life which seemed absurd."

Contact: +256-705-194-600

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