Project #242

Project #242 Supporting Female Entrepreneurs in Rwanda

Our partnership with Kula 

In Kayonza, Rwanda, women face challenges finding income-generating activities after the coffee harvest season ends. Inspired by the ideas of local women in the community who wanted to improve their financial sustainability, the Liddy Women’s Center was born. Today, the Liddy Women’s Center allows young women and daughters of coffee farmers to gain profitable and valuable skills through the Kula Fellowship that will provide income year-round. Through reflection on their previous Fellowship Programs, Kula Project discovered a need to establish businesses that generate income outside of the coffee harvest season and outside of the coffee industry in general. Many young women enrolled at the Women’s Center Fellows faced financial hardships that prevented them from graduating from traditional schooling. Without additional training and support, the opportunities for women who do not graduate school are limited. Through the provision of the Kula Fellowship at the Liddy Women’s Center, Kula aims to increase the opportunities available to the women in this community and the confidence it takes to pursue them.

In partnership with One Day’s Wages, Kula built the capacity of 46 Rwandan women by providing personal development education and business training for sustainable income. After years of working in Rwanda coffee communities, the Kula Project designed the Kula Fellowship Program. The Kula Fellowship Program is a 15-month comprehensive and holistic effort to support the next generation of entrepreneurs in Rwanda. Kula provides access to industry-specific training and personal development services through five key steps: relationship building, industry training, life and leadership skills, business investment, impact measurement, and post-graduation follow-up. As Artisan Fellows, these 46 women learned all the necessary skills to graduate from the program at a professional level of tailoring and had the opportunity to receive business investment in the form of their own sewing machine. The business plan training and cooperative education equipped Fellows to start their professional businesses upon graduation. Simultaneously, these 46 women participated in agribusiness training. This training provides them with the knowledge and skills to profitably cultivate fruits and vegetables. They will use their agribusiness to provide nutritious food for themselves and their families and further fund and grow their artisan businesses.

Our Collective Impact

Artisans Received Life and Leadership Training

Artisans Received Kitchen Gardening Training

Graduates Received Sewing Machines

Meet Jeanette

After being unable to finish secondary school for financial reasons, Jeanette started working at a low paying job. The money she earned went completely towards basic life necessities. She was disappointed and discouraged by not knowing what to do to improve her life.

In the summer of 2019, Jeanette joined the Women’s Center Fellowship Program and quickly realized the opportunity in front of her. On December 4th, after 15 months of dedication, Jeanette graduated from the Kula Fellowship.

Through concepts learned in financial literacy training, Jeanette increased her savings through the income she earned selling vegetables, empowering her to achieve her 2020 goal of buying her very own tailoring machine. Her vision for the next two years is to start her own community business called “Jeanette’s Shop” which will function as both a tailoring shop and a grocery store. Not only has her life visibly improved, but she has also been able to share that impact with the people around her by using a portion of her income to support her younger sister through school and even helping her neighbors purchase school uniforms for their children.  

Jeanette’s favorite quote of encouragement is “I live to win”, which she says quite a lot. Being able to support and empower such a courageous woman who so strongly believes in herself and her potential is the biggest win we could ever hope for.

Thank you for making this possible!

Our movement is grassroots, to us that not only means the work on the ground is led by local leaders with the support of the community, but it also means that we raise the funds for our projects through everyday donors just like you. In addition to all the donors that gave $25, $100, or $250 and the campaigners that ran a race or donated their birthday to raise funds, we also want to thank our generous business, school, and faith sponsors who believed in our work and joined the movement.

If you want to support future projects like this you can make a donation to our emergency relief fund.

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