Economic Empowerment

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.

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.

Nassilé

Nassilé

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.

Tagantassou

Tagantassou

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.

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 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.

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.”

Coconut Leaves

Coconut Leaves

Thatched Completed Product

Thatched Completed Product