“Are these brick molds really ours? We are so much thankful to P&G for having made it possible for us! We are becoming true entrepreneurs. Now we have skills and knowledge and tools. What else? Working hard and get a good profit for our sustainable development!” ~ Marcianna
Ruganeheza Launches their Brick Business!
Co-op Population: 354
Business Launch: June 2017
Start-up Investment: $2,000
Since they formed a cooperative in 2008, the dream of Ruganeheza (“Taking the Nation to a Better Future”) was to establish a ventilation brick business. All rural Rwandans use these for their homes, but no one was producing them locally. In 2014, Ruganeheza was able to raise enough money from their farming activities to start the enterprise. The project was bearing fruit, but some critical issues stopped them from moving forward with the project. The most pressing of these was that they had to devote 30% of their revenue to renting the brick molds from a distant supplier, which was clearly unsustainable.
Knowing they could go no further with this project on their own, they asked WD4H for funding to help purchase the molds. They were overjoyed to receive $2,000 from the P&G Alumni Foundation which enabled them to buy the molds and create a viable community-run business.
Prior to owning the molds, the business was averaging 10 customers/month. Now they serve about 25 customers/month and net $164/month on average. In 7 months, they were able distribute a total of $862 among the co-op members. The families used their dividends for food, medical care, school tuition, housing repairs, and other basic needs. The community also deposited $120 into the co-op bank account. Now they are saving to build a warehouse where they can store the bricks to have a supply on hand for customers.
Ruganeheza also has a water distribution business that was funded by WD4H. This gives them an advantage in the brick business: they are able to supply water for their own brick-making, and service customers who have the sand, but no water or molds. This has become a significant part of their business.