This is a question everyone who applies for funding from any donor has to answer. Well, 100% of the answers given are hypothetical or only apparent and therefore a big test for the project designer who tries to prove them true and valid. For conservation projects, it is even further complicated by the slow realization of results and the costs attached to proper evaluation processes. Nevertheless conservation work can be unbelievably rewarding as one sees the signs of impact being made. For ASSETS, this is one of the many happy moments! Saturday the 9th of August was a memorable day for ASSETS. This time not on my iron horse so don't ask how many times I fell off. Together with 3 members of the ASSETS committee we headed for Shanzu Teachers Training College. Guess for what? It was a graduation ceremony for one of the very first ASSETS beneficiaries. Leah Mwamure was recruited to the ASSETS project in 2002. She went to Bogamachuko primary school, proceeded to Vitengeni Baptist for her high school education. She graduated from high school in the 2005 and joined Shanzu Teachers Training College in 2006 for Primary Teacher 1 Training.
Leah is such a clever girl! Read this; during her time in the ASSETS project she was given 50 casuarina seedlings to plant and care for at her home. Her hard work saw over 90% of her seedlings surviving to maturity. After 4 years of rearing the trees, Leah sold some of them to raise part of her brother's secondary school fees as well as her 1st year college fees. Now, for years, we have dwelt on the objective "to alleviate the pressure on the community to exploit the forest'' this has at last come true.What an encouragement! not only to her parents but also to the ASSETS project.
We are so proud of her thus we could not afford to miss her big day. With the ASSETS committee, her mum, her elder sister and a young brother not mentioning friends and other close relatives, Leah felt part of a big community. Leah was very happy to see us. "You have made me warm and God bless you all", were Leah's comments as we closed the gates behind us.