Samoumat Economic Independence Project

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Rockflower is launching a campaign with the Amal Association to provide the women's group in Samoumat, Morocco with tools that they can use to maintain their physical and emotional health in a productive, communal environment.

The goal of $3,500 will supply the women’s group with sewing machines to develop greater self-sufficiency, and basic exercise equipment, such as yoga mats and weights, to maintain their physical health.

The Samoumat Economic Independence Project campaign is being led by Amanda Swenson, a Global Ambassador in our Catalyzer Collective.

About the Amal Association of Samoumat

The Amal Association is a branch of a national Moroccan organization committed to supporting a wide variety of social and economic development projects. In Samoumat, the Amal Association has undertaken projects ranging from maintenance of the local water and irrigation systems to advocacy on behalf of their community seeking to defend the public health. The goals of the Amal Association of Samoumat include protecting those who are most marginalized within the community and promoting both socioeconomic and public health through coordination with local, regional, national and international organizations and authorities. The Amal Association is a registered Moroccan non-profit, non-governmental organization.

Rockflower Welcomes Somto Ugwu to be a Global Ambassador

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Rockflower is pleased to announce the addition of Somto Ugwu to our Global Ambassadors.

Somto is a lawyer from Enugu State, Nigeria. He currently serves as the Head of Gender and Partnerships Officer for the Society for the Improvement of Rural People (SIRP). Somto is also a member of MenEngage Nigeria and currently serves as a Team Leader for Unskilled to Skilled (U2S).

Somto’s passion to promote youth and women’s empowerment issues in his native Nigeria makes him a great addition to Rockflower.

We are excited to welcome him to our Catalyzer Collective!

Rockflower Partners with the Amal Association to Provide Economic Independence in Samoumat

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Rockflower is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Amal Association. The goals of the Amal Association of Samoumat include protecting those who are most marginalized within the community and promoting both socioeconomic and public health through coordination with local, regional, national and international organizations and authorities.

Rockflower will provide funding to purchase a projector, a whiteboard, 15 sewing machines, a table, and sports equipment for teaching classes that will lead to opportunities for economic independence.

Find out more about the Samoumat Economic Independence Project.

Rockflower Partners with the AVAZ Association to Establish a Women's Technology Education Center in Turkey

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Rockflower is pleased to announce a new partnership with the AVAZ Association. They aim to support the refugees in the region and the local people in need to access to permanent income sources and social rights, and to open alternative ways for those to integrate better into the society.

Rockflower will provide the funding to establish a women’s technology education centre where refugee and local women and girls will be trained in multiple computer-related programmes.

Find out more about the Establish Women's Technology Education Center Project.

Rockflower Partners with Jimbere Fund to Train Women Entrepreneurs in the DRC

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Rockflower is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Jimbere Fund. They provide women from some of the poorest households in Congo’s rural communities with training and grants to launch businesses.

Rockflower will Provide funding for a year-long training and seed grants to 30 women to become entrepreneurs and start small businesses.

Find out more about the Minembwe Women Entrepreneurs Project.

Rockflower Welcomes Dancan Onyango to be a Global Ambassador

Rockflower is pleased to announce the addition of Dancan Onyango to our Global Ambassadors.

Dancan is currently an MBA student at Babson College committed to economic and social change. In his native Kenya, Dancan co-founded Jiwo Paro, a social venture that serves a portfolio of predominantly rural and underserved women through microfinance and financial literacy programs and current partner of Rockflower. He brings 6 years of emerging-markets experience in private sector financial services with technical specialties in agent banking strategy, microfinance, and business models focused on low- and lower-middle income markets in developing economies. In-between studies, Dancan is currently engaged on a study of impact investing and is interning with Women World Banking in New York City.

We are excited to welcome him to our Catalyzer Collective!

Rockflower Welcomes Amanda Swenson to be a Global Ambassador

Rockflower is pleased to announce the addition of Amanda Swenson to our Global Ambassadors.

Amanda is currently pursuing a joint Juris Doctor and Master’s in Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Amanda is passionate about international social justice issues, and her primary professional interests lie in the nexus between international law and socioeconomic development. She is proficient in Standard Arabic, Moroccan Darija, and Levantine Arabic, and she speaks intermediate conversational French.

We are excited to welcome her to our Catalyzer Collective!

Rockflower Welcomes Rachel Bernardo to the Youth Advisory Board

Rockflower is pleased to announce the addition of Rachel Bernardo to Youth Advisory Board.

Rachel Bernardo is a student at American University where she studies Public Health and Biology. Her focus in health has led to multiple volunteer opportunities and internships, including her current opportunity to study abroad in Nairobi and work with Lea Toto. Rachel’s passion for medicine and economic empowerment has inspired her to join our Catalyzer Collective.

We are excited to welcome her to the team!

Scaling Production of Reusable Sanitary Pads Project

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Rockflower is launching a campaign to scale up the production of reusable sanitary pads and other feminine hygiene products made by Womenchoice Industries to improve economic opportunities for low income families in Muheza, Tanzania and to keep girls in school.

The goal of $7,900 will cover Womenchoice Industries entire budget for increasing production and helping tens of thousands of girls gain access to menstrual products and improve their capacity for full retention in school.

The Scaling Production of Reusable Sanitary Pads Project campaign is being led by Mollie Meredith, a member of our Youth Advisory Board.

About Womenchoice Industries

Womenchoice Industries is a social enterprise established to provide solutions to menstrual and other feminine hygiene problems. Through the production and distribution of low cost, affordable (MHM) reusable sanitary towels, “Salama Pads”, post-partum maternity pads, reusable tampons, diapers and breast pads, they are creating a market opportunity for women and girls from low income families, to learn skills and business acumen that will in turn improve girls’ school attendance and academic performance in Tanzania. Additionally, Womenchoice Industries owned by Lucy Odiwa won the SDGs and Her competition in 2018 hosted by the World Bank and UN Women. 

Sustainable Agriculture Programming with RAIN

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Last year, Rockflower supported RAIN in their goal of achieving two of our five keys, Access to Food and Water and Economic Empowerment. The Sustainable Agriculture programming in Nassilé and Tagantassou was strengthened due to our support, particularly as the need for such a program has increased due to a difficult agricultural year in western Africa.

Nassilé began the next growing season in September by meeting to assess their past revenue and decide on a timeline of implementation. In addition to meeting, they received practical training to enhance their gardening and increase their knowledge of market economics. The garden was started by choosing a high ground settlement to avoid flooding during the heavy seasonal rains. Then the land was cleared so that it could be plowed and levelled. Irrigation was installed resulting in 72 garden beds. October saw the first transplanting of tomato, eggplant and yalo crops. In addition to these crops, the nursery beds also have lettuce, green pepper, cabbage, carrot and onion.

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Tagantassou had their first meeting to discuss preparations and the successes they had last year. The women were satisfied with last year’s production, but were constrained due to a lack of well water and caterpillars invading the tomato crop. They plan to utilize a biological treatment to limit or, hopefully, stop the damage. Their second meeting included practical training and a site location for the garden. In October, 18 beds were established with onions, green pepper, lettuce, tomato, cabbage and eggplant.

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Last year, 35 women gardeners from Tagantassou cultivated 1945 m2 of land to harvest 1034Kg of crops which supported over 1,000 Nigerians in the surrounding communities. In both Tagantassou and Nassilé, the knowledge they have gained through practical training has resulted in food security and built livelihoods. For example, in Nassilé total earned income was 198,352 FCFA (~US$345), which is significant as Nigeria’s GDP per capita is approximately US$378.

Due to the women gardeners satisfaction with last year’s production and their enthusiasm for this year’s crop yield, they are looking forward to the next phase of expansion. Two new wells will be dug in spring, one in each community, to increase access to water and enable a significant garden expansion. The expansion of this program will allow more community members to participate and for more of their, and their neighbors’, food security needs to be met.

Rockflower Completes Fundraising for Phase 2 in Ending FGM

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The funding for Phase 2 to reduce the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in partnership with the Society for the Improvement of Rural People (SIRP) has been completed.

The second phase will build on the success of SIRP’s efforts to engage men and boys in the push to end FGM and prevent child marriage. Our goals are to keep girls in school and reduce the FGM prevalence rate from 85% to 45% over a twelve month period.
Rex Ward, a member of our Youth Advisory Board, led the End Female Genital Mutilation and Keep Girls in School campaign to its successful conclusion.

SOFEDI Women's Participation and Peace Building Training Session

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Solidarité des Femmes pour le Développement Intégral (SOFEDI) works to bring peace and security to the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their goals are to assist women in playing a pivotal role in the peace-building process and be able to seek accountability for gender-related crimes in their transitional justice systems.

Training sessions are one way for SOFEDI to achieve these goals. A session was held from the 28th to the 30th of November for 55 women in Kazimia, Fizi district, South Kivu Province. Essential points that were focused on include: resolutions to conflicts and construction of peace; opportunities for women’s leadership and involvement in the peace-making process. These points also address the aims of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, which states:

UNSCR 1325 affirms that peace and security efforts are more sustainable when women are equal partners in the prevention of violent conflict, the delivery of relief and recovery efforts and in the forging of lasting peace.
— United States Institute for Peace

Day 1: November 28

The first day covered multiple themes, such as the effects that conflict has on women, peace negotiation skills, conflict management and the roles of local women in demobilization and reconciliation efforts. While the program is information based, practical activities, group discussions and videos were planned for those who cannot read and write (female literacy rates are less than 40% in the rural areas of the DRC).

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Day 2: November 29

The second day focused on conflict attitudes and management. For example, attitudes toward conflict are: turtle (tendency to avoid), shark (tendency to compete), teddy bear (tendency to give way), fox (looking for compromise), and owl (tendency to collaborate). Each have their advantages and disadvantages and for the women to understand their dominant styles helps in handling conflict situations and adapting accordingly.

Day 3: November 30

The last day was led by Atuu Sincere, sociologist and director of Sauver la Femme et la Fille du Katanga (SAFEKA), and focused on the notion of leadership. The main activity of the day was the Training of Trainers Workshop. It builds the knowledge, skills and attitudes of the participating local women leaders to enable them to participate in peace-building in the areas ravaged by ongoing conflicts.




Success Stories from RUGLI

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Muhundo Bridget

One evening, Muhundo Bridget was watching television when she happened upon a documentary on briquettes. An entrepreneur began describing the production process and demonstrating how the machines worked. Muhundo became interested and found out more through RUGLI. She began to envision herself as an entrepreneur but did not know where to start. Due to her enterprise, Practical Action approached Muhundo and introduced her to the WEEK Project.

Muhundo was given the skills, knowledge and confidence to begin her business. She met with other entrepreneurs, like herself, and started manufacturing the briquettes. Demand is high and she intends to increase her production and deliveries while improving her facilities. Because of the rainy season, it takes longer for the briquettes to dry so Muhundo would like to grow her space and upgrade the drying rack. But, since she is a part of RUGLI, she is able to dry her briquettes in the production house.

Muhundo has high ambitions and is excited for her new entrepreneurial journey.


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Kasine Moreen

During the Rwenzori United Group for Life Improvement (RUGLI) field visit to Saluti Village in Nyamwamba subcounty, RUGLI met Kasine Moreen. She is married to Balinda Roland with 7 children and has lived in the area for the past 3 years. Kasine is a beneficiary of the project.

She said, “I am grateful to be selected to participate in briquette production here. It has not only reunited me with my husband and children, but has enabled me to be a role model in my community. Earlier this year, we did not have enough money to pay for our children to attend school. I had to take care of my children on my own and had lost hope when I saw them hungry and suffering. However due to this project, I have gained skills and knowledge to make briquettes and clay energy efficient cooking stoves that help me to earn money and put food on the table. We can afford to have 3 meals a day now! This and meeting with other women in RUGLI to share, discuss and learn from each other has instilled my confidence.

We are producing 40 kilograms of briquettes daily which equals around $35 a week.

I am happy, self-employed and grateful to be a part of this amazing project. I believe we should reach out to as many women as we can, it will transform societies!”

Read more about RUGLI in Issue 6 of our quarterly newsletter, It Takes Five.

Rockflower Partners with Association Burkinabé des Femmes Battantes on Weaving and Dyeing Project in Burkina Faso

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Rockflower is pleased to announce a new partnership with Association Burkinabé des Femmes Battantes (ABFB) over the next 12 months to install a weaving/dyeing loom in Godin village.

The ABFB was created in 2008 by a group of women who recognized a common desire to fight for the development of women. The organization now has 300 members, based in Ouagadougou with five auxiliary groups. The organization has 812 beneficiaries, with programs to produce and process shea butter, chicken farming, weaving and dyeing, education on hygiene and sanitation, fighting HIV, and the promotion of human rights with special emphasis on the rights of women and children.

Find out more about the Weaving and Dyeing Project.

Rockflower Partners with Footsteps Africa to Reduce Poverty in rural Malawi

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Rockflower is pleased to announce a new partnership with Footsteps Africa. They promote women’s livelihoods and health, rural youth employment readiness, and  marginalized children’s improved access to education by working at the frontier of poverty and gender inequality.

Rockflower will invest in a two year project to create business and marketing capacity for rural bee farming women to engage in honey processing and branding that can access profitable markets.

Find out more about the Reducing Poverty through Honey Production and Distribution in rural Malawi Project

Rockflower Partners with Womenchoice Industries to Create Reusable Sanitary Pads

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Rockflower is pleased to announce a new partnership with Womenschoice Industries, a social enterprise established to provide solutions to menstrual and other feminine hygiene problems.

Rockflower is partnering with Womenchoice Industries to invest in scaling up the production of resusable sanitary pads and other feminine hygiene products to improve economic opportunities for low income families in Muheza, Tanzania and to keep girls in school.  

Find out more about Reusable Sanitary Pads Project.

The founder of Womenchoice Industries, Lucy Odiwa, was also the winner of the SDGs and Her competition that another one of our partners, Mukuru Cookstoves, placed second in. Read more about the competition and her win here.

Rockflower Partners with Kinyamaseke Girls Youth in Development to Conserve Black Bees in Uganda

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Rockflower is pleased to announce a new partnership with Kinyamaseke Girls Youth in Development (KYID). KYID promotes a community of female youth that is responsible, tolerant, accountable, respectful, and working voluntarily to improve their livelihood for meaningful development.

Rockflower will partner with KYID on a project to conserve black bees as pollinators, seeking both a solution to environmental degradation and providing economic opportunities for young girls through the sale of honey and by-products to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.  

Find out more about the Black Bees Pollinator Project.

A Year in Review for Rockflower Partner, Saving Mothers - Guatemala

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The School of POWHER was created to provide culturally appropriate as well as safe maternal health care to women in Mayan communities in the Lake Atitlan region. There are two methods of teaching, theoretical and experiential, used to deepen the knowledge of each student.

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The recruitment process for comadronas (traditional birth attendants) occurs every November for the new class at the School of POWHER. The areas with the highest mortality and morbidity rates are taken into account. Information sessions are given to directors and comadronas of those areas on the curriculum, expectations for participation and Saving Mothers achievements of the previous year.

Saving Mothers has had a year filled with achievements:

  • 472 supervised visits

  • 94 high-risk patients identified in supervised visits

  • 46 post-partum supervised visits

  • 410 patients received prenatal vitamins

  • 4 local health centers received vitamin donations

  • 2 trainings given to older comadronas

  • 2 communities where trainings have been completed

  • 17 communities worked in

Recruitment for the Class of 2019 is currently happening and we cannot wait to see what Saving Mothers - Guatemala will achieve next!

Rockflower Welcomes Mollie Meredith to the Youth Advisory Board

Rockflower is pleased to announce the addition of Mollie Meredith to the Youth Advisory Board.

Mollie Meredith graduated from Loughborough University in 2018 with a degree in Design Ergonomics. She has travelled extensively around the world on voluntary charity projects, sharing skills, knowledge and cultures with many different people and communities. Mollie’s love for empowering women to recognize the powerful communities they can create together, inspired her to join The Rockflower Youth Advisory Board and advance this message.

We are excited to welcome her to the team!

Rockflower Launches Campaign for Phase Two of End Female Genital Mutilation and Keep Girls in School

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Rockflower is launching this campaign to raise funds and awareness for phase two of the Rockflower and Society for the Improvement of Rural People project partnership to reduce the female genital mutilation (FGM) prevalence rate in the Akwuke community of Enugu State from 85% to 45% over a twelve month period. This will have a direct effect on keeping girls in school.

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The goal for this fundraising campaign is to build on the success of SIRP's efforts to engage men and boys in the push to end Female Genital Mutilation and prevention of child marriage, thereby keeping girls in school.

We will raise $2,600 to cover the cost of training and sensitization for: 

  • 10 traditional and religious leaders

  • 15 family heads, elders and opinion leaders

  • 15 teachers

  • 15 Youth activists

The End Female Genital Mutilation and Keep Girls in School is being led by Youth Advisory Board member, Rex Ward.

When I saw the project to End Female Genital Mutilation, I felt really compelled to be part of it. I have to be honest, I didn’t even know about female genital mutilation (FGM) or how widespread it was or how it affects girls ability to go to school. But then I read about Somto, a young lawyer in Nigeria, who was engaging with his friends and holding a soccer tournament to get men and boys to understand that they need to be advocates for these young girls, I realized I needed to join the effort. If these were my sisters, I would want someone to help me.
— Rex Ward