With two groups in Rwanda having graduated from our training program in 2016, and another group coming up on graduation in early February 2017, we are steadily expanding The Women’s Bakery network and community across Rwanda.
While some of our goals at TWB are focused on training more women, employing more women, and launching more sustainable bakeries, our growth in Rwanda also accomplishes other significant goals. One these is engaging graduates and current bakery employees in sharing their knowledge with current trainees, as well as with TWB bakers and bakeries across the country.
We don’t want to just build bakeries in Rwanda, we want to build an ecosystem of community and support across our bakeries, allowing TWB bakers to share ideas with each other, collaborate, trouble shoot challenges, and encourage each other with successes. TWB graduates are able to share their knowledge and experiences with each other, and with current trainees.
Since concluding our training program in Bumba in the Western Province of Rwanda, we have facilitated knowledge sharing with the bakery located in Kigali, the capital city. The two groups have been able to share recipe tricks, adjustments, record keeping tips, and even marketing strategies. Managers from each bakery have traveled 3.5 hours one way to visit each other, share insight and challenges, and gather ideas from each other’s bakeries.
Currently, the training group located east of Kigali is conducting their baking practical. For the last two weeks, one of our skilled bakers from the Kigali bakery has traveled daily to the training site to lead the baking sessions and to impart her expertise. Over the next two weeks, another employee from the Kigali bakery will lead training sessions on sales and marketing, providing the trainee group with her firsthand knowledge and advice on jump-starting sales and finding customers during the crucial first months of business operations.
As TWB expands in Rwanda and throughout the region, we aim to create more opportunities for shared learning amongst our bakery and trainee groups. By empowering women to circulate their knowledge and skills with one another, we hope to not only strengthen the TWB community but to also create new avenues for women to utilize their skills and expand their own networks.