We believe in our mission. We listen. We learn from our mistakes. We remain committed to what we know can work.
While we aren’t ready to build a bakery in the U.S., we are paving the runway for a kick ass variety of dry bread mixes for healthful snack. Choosing our product will help to support our work in the U.S. and Rwanda.
Now, as the The Women’s Bakery Program Manager, I am looking forward to managing all existing and upcoming bakery projects in Rwanda, including overseeing trainings, problem solving with the wicked smart TWB team, and empowering women through business training, education and health promotion. I feel so lucky to have this role. This week I hit the ground running with bakery visits, team meetings, strategizing solutions and, of course, eating bread!
We, as a team have to boldly move forward in spaces that we don’t always have the answers for. We have to try new ways to deliver business education and in turn, new ways to run our ownership model for these businesses.
Through working at a bakery, our hope is that women can build and invest in social networks to prevent future violence. We have installed my position of Bakery Operations Manager (BOM) to serve as much more to the women – a leader, a counselor, and a mentor – with the hope that women have a safe place to discuss challenges they face in society.
Now, as Nutrition Coordinator for The Women’s Bakery, I am working on nutrition and health programming at bakeries in Kigali and beyond. I am so enthusiastic to see the impact The Women’s Bakery is having in the communities of which we work.
At The Women’s Bakery, education is the foundation for all that we do. We believe that a foundational education, one that can be applied in real, practical ways, can lend opportunities for gainful, sustainable employment, and opportunities for health.
At TWB, we are hoping to implement bakery gardens at all sites where fresh vegetables can be the harvested and used directly for their baked goods.
Finally, I support TWB because they support empathy, that is, the ability to see, feel, hear, know, and care for one another, through a shared human experience.
During my visit, I realized many other women like them come from all over the world and are determined to stay and work in Rwanda, rather than enjoy the more comfortable life in their own countries. Together they are creating values; they are making this country a better place. I admired their courage, faith and power.
As I sit here thousands of miles away from a heightened need in the US, I remind myself that even though I am not there fighting the current battle on the ground, it does not diminish the overall battle I, and so many others, are fighting for social justice across the entire world.
Last week, two TWB staff and Global Health Corps (GHC) alums, Aime and Meg, attended an East Africa GHC leadership summit in Nyamata, Rwanda to reconnect and share experiences with other co-fellows and staff from different parts of the world.
Jeanne D’Arc is now facilitating TWB in baking sessions and in marketing breads in the neighborhood community with the current Ndera trainee group. Though the bakery in Ndera has yet to open, many people are already coming to buy and taste the breads. Jeanne D’Arc is helping trainees to improve their sales pitches and boost-up their confidence in selling.
I am continuously awed by my team. Here’s to building TWB and changing the world, one piece of bread at a time.
Why do sustainable bakeries matter? Sustainable bakeries provide a group of women with consistent and growing incomes. That’s job security. And it’s also opportunity. Women can rely on their work at the bakeries and choose where, when, and how to invest their earnings. Sustainable bakeries provide suppliers (farmers) and buyers (shop-keepers) consistent business. That’s micro-economic activity that can self-improve and correct. Sustainable bakeries also provide community members consistent access to nutritious bread. That’s Good business.
TWB is built on the spirit of working together as a team. Our team works together really well, and women beneficiaries work together in our respective bakeries because we believe in the power of two.
As part of our team wraps up an Acumen Course called Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid, we hope to increase our understanding of our target customers, and learn how to best market our products to them in a way that resonates and turns potential buyers into regular buyers of our quality, nutritious breads.
Committed to combating malnutrition, team TWB is expanding training outside of Kigali and venturing into new, rural communities in the Western Province of Rwanda.
Bringing a nutritious, delicious product to Kigali's bread market. Carrots included!
Yvonne is a new intern with TWB - and she has big dreams for where she is going.