Domina Kanyange, 38, is a member of 17 Ingitsi women artisan cooperative in Kinyinya sector and earns about Rwf50, 000 per month from making traditional baskets commonly known as ‘Agaseke’.
She earns this money after making 60 beaded necklaces but lack of business leadership skills has impeded her dreams of earning over Rwf150, 000 per month to improve her current lifestyle.
In her dreams, she would like to earn this amount so as to take her five children to better schools, buy a moto-taxi and also build a house for rent, but in vain.
“I have not had any financial management training and I have been afraid to take a big loan to start my own side business to enable me to increase my income,” Kanyange told KT Press.
In order to help women like Kanyange to gain financial confidence, Bank of Kigali (BK) Group, in association with Resonate Workshops a regional gender equality social enterprise, has started a business leadership skills training for women cooperatives in the capital Kigali to make them self-confident in doing business.
Resonate Workshops is a regional gender equality social enterprise that unlocks the leadership potential of women and youth in East Africa through confidence-building workshops.
The on-training, which kicked off on Wednesday, is part of the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and will cover 150 women weavers, tailors and craftswomen from artisan cooperatives in three sectors of Gisozi, Gatsata and Kimisagara in the capital Kigali.
The three-week-long training for women weavers under the Agaseke Project – a women’s business project, is expected to equip beneficiaries with leadership skills that will enable them to make good business plans and be brave to solicit loans, according to Resonate Rwanda.
“Through leadership training we will bridge the women’s confidence gap which is a key barrier to gender equality and equal access to resources which make them miss a lot of opportunities,” said Norette Turimuci, the Resonate Workshops Executive Director.
Turimuci said that some of the components will include using story telling as a tool to identify their values, resilience and trigger a mentality shift to build their confidence.
“This will help them to say “I Can” as a woman and don’t need to depend on men, so as to move the business to another level, through being confident to acquire a loan,” Turimuci said.
The 2018 statistics show large gaps in gender and business distribution. For instance, out of a total 142,029 businesses, 101,665 are male owned (71.58%), 38,017 females (26, 77%), and 2,347 with no apparent sex identity (NS) (1.65%).
Resonate believes that if all women aged 15-35 in Rwanda are gainfully employed, it equates to an $82,049,352 million increase in Rwanda’s Growth Domestic Product, which also comes with taking up other community roles and opening own businesses.
For instance, since 2013, Resonate has trained over the over 8,000 women and 70% of the 2,115 participants in 2019 have taken on leadership skills, 46% started own businesses, while 31% got an academic or professional advancement.
As a result, Bank of Kigali injected Rwf11 million into the training so as to empower and improve women’s businesses and in the long run add on its clientele that will in turn contribute to the economy.
The retail banking arm of Bank of Kigali Group is currently eyeing to triple the number of customers in three years to a customer base of one million by 2021 from the current 350,000 clients on its book.
“Women financial empowerment is a vital component of our bank because we believe that it contributes to the economic growth, if a woman is empowered financially,” said Dahlia Umulinga, the BK Group Corporate Communication Manager.