Clemence Mukagaga, is the head of a 65 women cooperative who have for the past three years weaved baskets, designed and made earrings, leathers shoes under a shanky wooden warehouse in Gisozi sector.
Though the women in Tujyembere cooperative have a variety of household products which could earn them a better living, lack of markets to sell out has impeded them to save more than Rwf100, 000 each year, as a group.
“When it rains, the products are damaged and the quality affected,” Mukagaga says.
As Rwanda marks the international women’s day 2020, her limitations will soon come to an end since Mukagaga and other 150 women concluded a training in business leadership skills, information sharing, financial planning and business management.
The three week-long training worth Rwf11 million sponsored by Bank of Kigali (BK), in association with Resonate Workshops- a regional gender equality social enterprise, benefited women artisans from three women cooperatives in Gisozi, Gatsata and Kimisagara sectors supported by Agaseke Project in Kigali city.
The trainees received their certificates of merit on Friday and started a journey that will change their lives for good.
According to Resonate Workshops, the trained women already have physical skills (75%) but lacked the kicker- which is the confidence part (25%)- to plan big and realize their potential through seeking financing for their projects.
One of the things that the trainees walked away with is the confidence to act, take decision, as anticipated by Resonate Workshops which conducted the training.
“We now see ourselves as leaders and able to come up with business plans and agree as a group to seek a bank loan to improve our market sells and save to acquire our own workshop,” said Jeanne d’Arc Mukamurera, the Tujyembere cooperative internal auditor.
This is need for funding and financing is not empty hope for women; according to BK which has invested heavily in promoting women in business as a way of empowering them to participate equally in Rwanda’s economic growth.
“By supporting a woman, we (BK) support the basic family, the nation and its development in the long run. We are committed to this and will continue doing this in a very long time to ensure women are empowered,” said Emmanuel Nkusi Batanage, BK Company Secretary and Head of Corporate Affairs.
The Resonate team that trained the graduating women said that this programme will continue in the future but a follow up on the trainees will be done.
“We will be following up on each of the cooperatives and the women in the next six months to ensure their success and implementation of the skills,” said Norette Turimuci, the Reasonate Workshops Executive Director.
Since 2013, Resonate has trained over 8,000 women. 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.
Meanwhile, the product launch also took place in Kigali, Muhanga,Rwamagana and Musanze district respectively.