What Do We Want to Do?
Just over 20 years ago Rwanda was witness to a horrifying genocide. Many women lost their husbands and families, and found themselves with no source of income to support themselves and their children.
Refusing to be defeated, the women came together to form groups. At first to find support, but in time they began to work together to produce beautiful handcraft products, including bowls, jewellery and cards. By selling these products they were able to start again and earn a basic living.
The support groups developed into co-operatives, but without proper training or the skills to run a business, they have struggled to increase their sales and provide a better wage for their members. We want to provide training and mentoring to ten of these groups so that they can run their co-operatives more effectively, sell more products and increase the incomes of 664 individual producers.
We have run training programmes in Rwanda before and have seen first-hand the difference they can make. Women have been able to provide their families with two meals a day rather than one, and others have been able to buy mattresses so they no longer have to sleep on the floor.
The future holds so many opportunities for women in Rwanda; help us make their dreams a reality.
Rwanda is a small country in East Africa, with a population of just over 11 million. The genocide in 1994 devastated not only the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, but also the economy. Rwandans have worked hard to rebuild their country and its economy since then and there has been a steady improvement. Despite this, 45% of the population live below the poverty line, and 24% are considered to live in extreme poverty (National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, 2011).
Co-operative groups provide a vital source of income in Rwanda, especially to women in single parent households. The co-operatives that we are working with are too small to be able to access Government support, but we have seen first hand how big an impact the right training and support can have on the women themselves, and their families. We believe that through projects to support the women of Rwanda we can have a positive and lasting impact on the economy, and by supporting this project, you can be a part of that.
How Will the Money be Spent?
The money we raise through this campaign will be spent to provide training and mentoring to representatives from ten co-operatives in Rwanda, who together respresent 664 individual producers, the majority of whom are women.
The project will be delivered together with our local partner, the Rwandan Forum for Alternative Trade (RWAFAT). RWAFAT will deliver the training themselves, so that we can ensure that the money is being spent locally.
The training will cover:
- Leadership and co-operative management
- Understanding the market
- Branding and marketing
- Costing and pricing
- Mentoring from a successful local co-operative - Cards from Africa
Who Are Shared Interest Foundation?
Shared Interest Foundation are a small International Development charity based in Newcastle upon Tyne.We started in 2004 with the aim of providing support to fair trade producers to help them grow their businesses and earn vital income that could help them work their way out of poverty and improve the communities where they live.
Since then we have delivered projects across 11 countries in two continents, and have helped increase the incomes of over 40,000 individual producers. We have worked with businesses of all shapes and sizes, from roadside sellers to coffee co-operatives who represent thousands of producers. No matter what size the business, we believe that through the principles of fair trade, each of them has the opportunity to make a positive impact in their community.