Permagardens & Peanut Butter

Written by Britni Stupin, TWB Intern

For the past three months, I’ve been living and learning in Kenya as part of a study abroad program at St. Lawrence University. The last month of this program is spent completing an Independent Study anywhere of our choosing, and that’s how I ended up in Rwanda. I heard about The Women’s Bakery from a few past interns, and they always lit up when they shared about their experiences. TWB, I decided, was the right placement for my internship. 

Food insecurity and malnutrition are significant issues within Rwanda, and I spent internship working on two main projects that intertwined with these issues.

First, I researched and created an implementation plan for a permagarden that TWB would create at the Kagina and Ndera bakeries.

What is a permagarden?

In short, it is a sustainable approach to increasing food security by giving control over water use and nutrition within an individuals' own home. I spent a good deal of time researching the specifics of what a permagarden is, how to create one, and its benefits for women at TWB. Part of this research was meeting with women at both bakery sites to discuss the best way to complete this project. Each bakery now plans to plant carrots, beets, and cabbage next planting season.

The second, and tastiest, project, was aptly named “The Peanut Butter Project.” I worked with another intern, Martha, to create a nutritional lesson about the health benefits of peanut butter and how to make it in their homes.

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The women at the Ndera and Kagina bakeries were engaged during the lesson and everyone pitched in to help. I’d say it was a success! All the peanut butter was gone almost as soon as we had made it, and the women told me they would be making this nutritious snack to eat for breakfast.

I walked away with a huge smile on my face that day.

If there is anything I have learned about my experience working at TWB it is that women’s empowerment and education can be used to combat food insecurity and malnutrition in the home. By helping women understand the impact food has on their body, TWB is giving women the knowledge they need to feed their families and nurture their health. That's bread power. 

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