Economic Empowerment

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 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.

Rockflower partner Jiwo Paro Receives Multiple Recognitions

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Jiwo Paro and their co-founder, Dancan Onyango,have received a number of recognitions recently. In August, Dancan Onyango was selected alongside 13 other entrepreneurs across five countries in east Africa, to attend a Startup Collaborator Event by Enpact in Berlin, Germany. Rockflower has continued to provide professional development investment to Dancan and his team by covering the cost of transportation to Germany. The investment proved significant as Jiwo Paro won the Pitch Contest and will be participating in a year-long startup mentoring program.

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Dancan was also awarded the prestigious Diversity Leadership Fellowship for 2018/19 at the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, Massachusetts. Dancan provided some thoughts as to why he believes an MBA will impact his personal and professional development as well as gain him credibility in his respective field. “ I anticipate that on completion of the programme, I will have gained instruction from top notch professionals on how best to contribute to the regional and global discussion. I am also certain that the interaction with fellow counterparts from the programme will enrich my learning experience and further reinvigorate my drive to influence and be part of change in my community.”

Building on the Rockflower partnership, Dancan Onyango will be connecting with another of Rockflower’s partners Women’s World Banking at their event in New York on November 7th, Making Finance Work for Women.

We are excited to see what comes next for Dancan and Jiwo Paro.

In identifying me as a change maker, Rockflower has shown me that I can continue to believe that I am part of an emerging world community, whereby my actions contribute to building good and sustainable community practices. I am perfectly aware of the world beyond me. In distinguishing myself from the rest, I have learned to respect diverse values and practices. I am eager to shift my paradigm in solving world issues. Furthermore, I acknowledge that it is by working collectively to tackle issues that I can live to see many of the ideals I strive for in my community.
— Dancan Onyango

Progress Update from Youth African Alliance

In January 2018 Rockflower invested in a partnership with the Youth African Alliance in West Cameroon. The project was specifically designed to provide basic literacy and social entrepreneurship skills to highly marginalized young women with the outcome being potential for employment and improved quality of life. 70 women and girls are participating in three separate groups. 

The groups meet twice a month and provide safe discussion spaces for the young women to improve their skills through peer mentoring. 

These new skills include soap and body lotion production, arts and crafts, baking and the production of reusable sanitary pads. The girls have also been learning basic accounting and computer literacy which can be used for social entrepreneurship and school.

The overall dialogue has contributed to a sense of empowerment for the young women in being free to express challenges and offer solutions.

Check out our social media platforms to see firsthand accounts from members of the Youth African Alliance.

Instagram: @rockflowerfund

Twitter: @RockflowerFund

Facebook: RockflowerFund

SPRIT Empowering Single Women Through Credit Assistance

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SPRIT has partnered with Rockflower for over a year now and has been steadily progressing towards their goal of self reliance for single women located in the coastal villages they focus on in India. Their economic empowerment projects include: seaweed cultivation, fish vending and making thatched roofs with coconut leaves.

Members meets monthly to monitor and evaluate their progress and distribute the credit assistance they provide. 12 women from three coastal villages received assistance.

Mariammal, a single, 45 year old, was one of two women who received a loan of Rs. 5,000 (rupees) (equivalent to approx. $68 USD) for coconut leaf products to make a segment of thatched roof. Previously, Mariammal would buy one leaf for 3 rupees and sell the completed product for Rs. 10 each. With the assistance of her loan, she can now make 20-25 completed products and earn around Rs. 250 in a day. Mariammal is “planning to put a sales centre at roadside to get more orders and earn more money. [She is] very grateful to SPRIT and Rockflower for the financial support for [her] livelihood.”

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Coconut Leaves

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Thatched Completed Product

Rockflower Invests in Women’s Collective of Astillero

Rockflower Invests in Women’s Collective of Astillero

In partnership with Casa Congo, a social enterprise based in Astillero, Nicaragua, an investment has been made  for the second time into the Women's Collective of Astillero. The founding members of the Collective, The Tejedoras are a group of local women in Astillero who started an up cycling business over 11 years ago.

Rockflower Invests in Business Training Program For Young Women in Kenya

Rockflower Invests in Business Training Program For Young Women in Kenya

As part of the "Kisumu County Women Entrepreneurship Training" partnership, Rockflower and the Jiwo Paro, completed a funding campaign that will launch a business management training program to equip young women entrepreneurs with business management and entrepreneurship skills.

Rockflower Launches Campaign to Expand Women Owned Business in Nicaragua

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In the summer of 2017 Rockflower partnered with Casa Congo, a fast growing international conservation movement with a social enterprise and based in Astillero, Nicaragua, to provide funds and expertise to expand The Women's Collective at El Astillero. Las Tejedoras or "The Weavers", a group of women established in 2007, are the founding members of this Collective and have proven their skill and ingenuity in creating a business that to date has recycled over 400,000 plastic bags discarded on the streets and beaches of Astillero to create beautiful bags, hats, wallets, and other products. Their slogan, “Una Bolsa Más, Una Tortuga Menos” translates to “One More Bag, One Less Turtle.”

Casa Congo has a vision to empower the local community through environmental and cultural conservation, through the four pillars of Ecology, Ocean Advocacy, Built Environments and Place Making.

The Rockflower/Casa Congo partnership will act as a gardener to facilitate the growth of The Women's Collective through the provision of access to credit and micro loans, educational workshops and collaborative endeavors. In order to learn, gain confidence and expertise, and increase their potential for economic empowerment, the women need support' not only through investment, but in developing business and marketing models to maximize their amazing entrepreneurial spirit. 

This campaign is raising funds to build upon an earlier investment in The Tejedoras Juice and Smoothie Bar, an idea which this determined and inspired group of women brought to life in December of 2017.  

Now they are ready to take their vision to the next level. The expansion will consist of:

  • Bicycle powered juice blenders ("Blender Bikes")

  • Solar Panel System

  • Expanded venue size and outdoor seating area

  • Refrigeration, water filtration, and composting systems

  • Cash register

Support the Women’s Collective of El Astillero by visiting our campaign page.

This fundraiser is being led by Rockflower Youth Advisor and Casa Congo team member Francesca Ward and assisted by Casa Congo volunteers Cobo Alvarez de Toledo, Hannah Rikeman and Bianca Acland. 

Eliminating Poverty Through Entrepreneurial Training of Young Women

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80% of Kenyans live in rural areas, where unemployment is high and access to financial services limited. In Kisumu county, formal financial inclusion stands low at 25% in rural areas where women and youth are marginalized the most. Although a growing number of financial institutions are working to promote the growth of small businesses, often they do not lend to women for lack of entrepreneurial skills.   

Rockflower partnered with Jiwo Paro, a community based organization working to eliminate poverty by expanding access to capital, education, and entrepreneurial opportunities for women and youth in resource impoverished areas in Kenya. Entrepreneurship training will allow participants to join a network of fellow entrepreneurs from whom they will continue to curate their business and financial management skills.

Support the Kisumu County Women Entrepreneurship Project by visiting our campaign page.

The campaign is led by Rockflower Youth Advisory Board Members Lulu Ward and Connor West.

Rockflower Empowers Women and Girls in Cameroon Through Mentorship and Training

As part of the "Empowering Women and Girls Through Mentorship and Training" partner project, Rockflower and the African Youth Alliance completed a campaign to fund vocational training and economic opportunities for 60 young women in Bamenda, Cameroon

First Phase of the Pehran Project Begins

On July 6th, Community Services Pakistan began a three month training of 25 young women in the art of Kashmiri Pehran. The objectives of the Pehran Project are to establish a women's handmade Gurase Valley brand to increase the visibility and value of female hand-made products and to increase the skills and opportunities for the young women, many of whom have only a primary level education. 

Progress on The Coastal Villages Deserted Womens Project in Tamil Nadu

The Society for Participatory Research and Integrated Training began implementing the women's empowerment project among the single women headed families in Manamelkudi block in the month of March 2017. Starting with 25 women in Palkudi village, the objectives of the project were to create a platform for economic empowerment, to increase self confidence and self dependency and to provide viable credit assistance to create employment opportunities. 

Pilot Project Begins for the Women's Collective in Astillero, Nicaragua

Rockflower has partnered with Casa Congo and the Tejedoras to develop a pilot project to kickstart a Women's Collective which will allow these women an opportunity to further expand upon their business ideas with access to credit.  The first phase of the pilot project began in late July with an early stage investment into a juice and smoothie bar. The Tejedoras will be trained in all aspects of juice, smoothie and ice-cream production and will be responsible for the day to day running and management of the venture. 

Encouraging Female Entrepreneurship in Rural Pakistan Through Support of Traditional Cultural Crafts

Bringing much needed training and economic opportunities to women living in rural Afghanistan was made possible through a fundraising campaign supported by Rockflower and The Community Service Program, a multi-disciplinary non-governmental organization working to generate and revitalize Kashmir's rural economy.