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Social and Economic Impact of SASHA Project to the Population Livelihoods in Muhanga District: Case study of SHyogwe sector (2011-2014)

Sweet potato has been grown and constituted one of the staple foodstuffs in Rwanda for decades. It is used as foodstuff and fodder for animal. Its tuberous root and leaves are most important for food while vine cuttings are used for cultivation. In Rwanda several varieties are grown, the traditionally common ones being the white/ yellow fleshed Sweetpotatos. In recent years, new varieties of Orange fleshed Sweetpotatos (OFSP) have been introduced in Rwanda and since then their popularity continues to grow due to its high levels of nutrients, high yield and ability to generate high income. The Orange flesh Sweet Potato , rich in vitamin A. is increasingly gaining popularity and more and more cultivated because it has proven to be an excellent source of energy and important nutritive substances that has shown to considerably contribute to improve the socio economic and nutritional status of people. This study sought to assess the what impact was brought about by the Sweet Potato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA) Project to growers of OFSP.

The purpose of this study is to find out the “Social and economic impact of SASHA Project to the population livelihoods in Muhanga District”. The study area is shyogwe sector where the project is most active in Muhanga district and was conducted on farming groups growing OFSP.

Efforts to ensure that these varieties are readily adopted have however been hampered by lack of readily available information about it in Rwanda. There are very few studies that have been conducted in this regard. Some of key findings are that women are more involved in the cultivation of OFSP as they are more involved in farming activities than men. Indeed the OFSP significantly contributes to food security and farmers’ income thus empowering households to raise their social and economic status where SASHA actions are implemented.

This project had helped farmers to increase their social social status by allowing them to pay medical care, scholastic materials and also reinforced social relationships amongst members and neighbors and even the capacity to prepare a balanced diet has also been raised,Also due to SAHA activities the beneficiairies have improved theirs housing, buying transportation means, buying animals, and tobuying farming plots,improve their household goods, repaired the housing, bought telephones, new furniture and clothing.