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 Featured in National Geographic  I  Now Hiring French Speakers I  Putting Farmers First in Microfinance
Farmers First
 
July 2014
 
Viola's Story
Viola Nsengiyumva has her eyes on the future.

Viola looks out over the two acres of land she and her husband, Deo, inherited from her father in Burundi. The fields are thick with bushy, yellow-green vines. The beans are ready to be harvested.
Viola harvests her climbing beans.
Viola harvests her climbing beans.
Two and a half years ago, Viola's fields were nearly bare. Even though she and Deo had land, they could not afford the seed and fertilizer needed to plant on all of it. Harvests were low, with just enough to feed the family. There was no surplus to sell for income.
"Before One Acre Fund, we would just manage to have enough to eat. We couldn't sell anything we grew," Viola says. "I would go to purchase fertilizer, but I would not be able to buy enough."
After their first year of farming with One Acre Fund, Viola and Deo nearly doubled their harvest and sold some of their surplus to purchase three goats. The following year, they invested even more, purchasing 60 chicks. If Viola could raise the chicks to mature chickens, she would be able sell them for more than double the initial buying price.
Viola also used her additional income to start a banana business where she buys unripe bananas from her neighbors and then, once ripe, sells the bananas at the market when they can command a higher price.
Viola Nsengiyumva joined One Acre Fund in 2012.
Viola Nsengiyumva joined One Acre Fund in 2012.
 
While some of her chicks fell ill before they could be sold, Viola and Deo still managed to turn a profit from the grown chickens and have invested 250,000 Burundian Francs ($160 USD) into their banana business this year – double the investment they made the year before.
With the money they've made from their new businesses, they've been able to enroll one of their daughters in nursery school and open their first savings account at a bank, where it is safe from thieves and can be allocated to educating their three daughters.
"One Acre Fund has played a very important role in my life," Viola says. "We hope our children can study through university and get good jobs. Any job will do: a minister, a lawyer, a teacher – that is up to God – but getting them there, that is up to us."
Viola and Deo sit with their daughters in front of their home.
Viola and Deo sit with their daughters in front of their home.
The Next Breadbasket
In their July food feature, National Geographic featured One Acre Fund farmers Marie Mukarukaka and Esther Nyirahabimana of Rwanda. Pick up a print issue or view images online.

Read more here.
 
Parlez-vous Français?
We are looking for French speakers to join our growing Rwanda and Burundi teams! From government relations to field operations and finance, we have a variety of exciting new positions.
Learn more about open positions here.
 
Putting Farmers First in Microfinance
If the global microfinance industry seeks to have a long-term impact on global poverty, it must address the needs of smallholder farmers. Our latest post, courtesy of the Financial Access Initiative:
Read more here.
 
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