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Planting seeds with CARE Burundi

June 29, 2010

Aegon is working with CARE Burundi to provide east African farmers with seeds for food crops like beans and sweet potatoes. More than 5,000 farmers are now preparing to gather the crops planted last January.

Solidarity group Karumba in Burundi

The INABIGEGA project

INABIGEGA means ‘back to the granary’ in Kirundi, the main local language. Supported by a donation from Aegon, the INABIGEGA food facility project in Burundi is helping improve food security and rebuild communities torn apart by conflict and violence.

“The war has destroyed the social fabric of Burundi,” says Yawo Douvon, Director of CARE Burundi. “Before the war, villages stored their surplus grain in the village granaries in case of drought or other natural disasters. This is a small step in that direction, toward long-term self-sufficiency.”

For Douvon, this is just the beginning in Burundi. CARE has identified 5,000 solidarity groups, with 80,000 participants in Burundi, and their plan is to extend the INABIGEGA project to as many of these groups as possible.

Economic independence

The INABIGEGA project is also helping to rebuild the social infrastructure of the country. The solidarity groups, similar to farming cooperatives, act as finance clubs.

“Each member puts in a small amount of money each month to cover the group’s immediate needs and emergencies. This could be paying for school attendance or emergency visits to a clinic,” says Arthur Molenaar, director of the Dutch arm of CARE International.

“By the end of this 22-month project – which covers six growing seasons – people will have achieved a certain level of economic independence,” says Molenaar.

CARE and Aegon

CARE is an international aid organization dedicating to helping end poverty. CARE has projects and programs in 72 countries across the globe. Last December, Aegon donated EUR 57,000 to CARE’s project in Burundi, money saved by sending electronic Christmas cards instead of traditional paper cards.