A lot has changed in just one year for TWB Rwanda. Since our official business registration in August of 2015, TWB has been working as a social enterprise, specializing in training programs and bakery business launch for groups of women throughout Rwanda.
Our first training group of 15 women was conducted in Nyabisindu, a neighborhood within the capital city of Kigali, launched October 2015. Over the course of several months, the women learned basic business skills including inventory and stock management, production cost calculation, sales strategies, and record keeping. The group also studied bakery specific business skills, as well as intensive training in baking and nutrition. All of this was made possible by TWB’s first Rwandan staff, Aime Nshizirungu, who co-facilitated the entire training in Kinyarwanda. Not only did Aime ensure the curriculum was comprehensible in the local language and context, he also fostered relationships with each of the trainees, providing support and encouragement in their lives in and out of training.
In July 2016, 8 women from this training group launched a bakery in their Remera community, with the support of TWB. Over the last five months, they have been working hard to introduce their nutritious, high quality bread products to the community. Their success has been driven daily by our second Rwandan team member- Yvonne Mukamutara. Yvonne joined TWB in February 2016 as an intern while in her last year as a finance student at University of Kigali. She quickly adapted to the TWB team and played an integral role in the Remera Bakery launch in July. Yvonne concluded her internship and was hired on full time by TWB in September. Since July, she has been working in the Remera Bakery as the Operations Manager—organizing daily operations, managing 8 women who work daily in the bakery, seeking out sales opportunities, promoting hygiene and quality products, and managing finances. As if that were not enough, Yvonne is also the women’s mentor and a constant support. She knows who needs extra money for their child’s school field trip, who needs extra clothing, who is registered for health care and who has a sick family member. Yvonne ensures that the women’s needs are being meet, not only at work but also at home.
Without both Aime and Yvonne’s dedication, passion, and hard work, the Remera bakery would not be what it is today.
Following the Remera Bakery launch, TWB was scheduled to begin two more trainings in 2016. To do so, we brought on our third Rwandan team member, Denyse Uwineza. Denyse joined TWB just one week before our second official Rwanda training program began in the small, rural community of Bumba in the Western Province of Rwanda. Denyse put in a long week working with Aime to understand the TWB curriculum and to familiarize herself with the mission and vision of TWB. Then, she jumped right into 6 weeks of training in the west, initially supporting Aime as he taught the lessons, and eventually taking the lead on some lessons herself. A quick and eager learner, Denyse is now co-facilitating her second training with Aime at our newest training site in Ndera, just east of Kigali. And, she has already contributed to training improvements and new curriculum content!
As TWB foresees even more growth in 2017, we gratefully reflect on the growth we have seen from summer 2015 through December 2016. Our Rwanda team is now made up of two American staff and three Rwandan staff, all of whom contribute to TWB’s work in Rwanda in immeasurable ways. We would not be where we are now, planning to conduct 3-5 new trainings in the upcoming year and looking to hire 3-5 more Rwandan staff, without the daily commitment of our current team. Their commitment to TWB, and most importantly to improving the lives of the women we work with through education, employment, and nutrition, has brought us to where we are today.
A huge thank you to TWB Team Rwanda! We can’t wait to see what next year brings!