Partnering with Sophie & the U.S. Peace Corps

This month, after six weeks of intensive training, 17 women and 3 men successfully completed TWB’s business & bakery launch training in the Rutsiro District, Western Rwanda. 

With over 60 hours of baking practical and 60 additional hours of business oversight from TWBs comprehensive curriculum, the graduates of Mama Dunia’s Co-Op gained skills in recipe reading, baking, raw materials use, inventory, accounting, and sales.

Typically, TWB is approached by other non-profits, organizations, and groups for our training and business launch service package.

In this case, however, current Peace Corps Volunteer, Sophie Hart, connected TWB to this training group, and became the first Peace Corps Volunteer to help facilitate a partnership between TWB and the US Peace Corps

Peace Corps Volunteers serve communities around the world in various sectors (education, agriculture, etc.) for a total of 2 years. Having recently completed her service, she is well-versed in local community needs and has helped bring together a local co-op, the community, and TWB to make bakery launch a reality!

Following the launch of this new bakery, TWB spoke with Sophie about her experiences with the training program and how she believes the community bakery can provide both education and economic opportunity for all.  

TWB: Why were you motivated to connect your Peace Corps community with TWB?

Sophie Hart: I was motivated to connect the Bumba community with TWB because of the community center's desire to provide jobs for women and to improve nutrition in the area. I knew that the community was serious about having this bakery, and excited to improve the lives of the people working in it. Jackie, the president of the cooperative, is also one of my closest friends in my community. I know her to be a responsible, empathetic woman who is passionate about this project.

TWB: How do you envision the launch of a bakery with the Mama Dunia Co-Op impacting the community at large?

Sophie Hart: I see the launch of this bakery as having a very positive impact on the community at large. People are interested in having bread, and I believe they will become even more enthusiastic over time as they learn about the nutritious elements of the bread coming from the Dunia bakery. Through providing employment for women, this project
will help improve the lives of their families.

TWB: Which part of the training did you enjoy the most? Did anything surprise you?

Sophie Hart: I enjoyed the hands on baking training the most. It was fun to see everyone getting a chance to participate and learn experientially.

TWB: Share some of the most important learnings you have had in working for economic opportunity with women.

Sophie Hart: I think one of the most important things I've learned in working for economic opportunity with women is that when women are provided with the opportunities to learn and
develop new skills, they are eager and excited to use them. Women are statistically more likely than men to spend money earned on improving the lives of their children, so
investing in women is not only an important tool of empowerment in their lives, but also an investment in the future of our world.

Thanks to Sophie – and the U.S. Peace Corps – for helping both men and women in Western Rwanda access education and employment with TWB. That’s real bread power. You can learn more by reading our October Newsletter here