The Mayange cluster is located in the Bugesera district of Rwanda, about 40km south of the capital Kigali. In a country known as the “pays des mille collines” (land of 1,000 hills), the terrain around Mayange is flatter and drier than the rest of the country and has traditionally been reserved for pastoral uses. The main crops are maize and beans.
The area suffers from sporadic rainfall and declining soil fertility, leading to endemic poverty, illness and a lack of economic opportunity. Unlike most of rural Rwanda, where individual homesteads are scattered across the hilly landscape, Mayange has several umudugudus, or settlements, of closely spaced dwellings, which the government built to house returnees after the 1994 genocide. Nyamata Church, where two mass graves hold the remains of 40,000 genocide victims, is contained within the village cluster.
When the Project started, nearly one in five children died before the age of five, and the only health center serving the four villages had no running water, electricity or medicine. Primary schools were overcrowded, with classes as big as 80 children.
- Business opportunities were created through a new cassava flour plant, honey production, pig and poultry farming, and the establishment of a basket weaving and knitting cooperatives for women.
- Access to improved drinking water has tripled.
- Three computer laboratories were installed with 10 new computers each.
- Two libraries were set up to encourage literacy.
- In 2009, more than 96% of births were attended by a skilled health worker, compared to 66.5% in 2006.
- And immunization coverage is now at more than 90%.
- Mayange is successfully producing and distributing energy efficient cookstoves.