P&G Alumni Foundation’s Generous Grant for our Rwanda Businesses
“I have been been part of the lives of these people for many years. I know what it took for them to move from despair to hope, fear to confidence, from ignorance about business to understanding what it means to change the economic life of a community. They still have a long way to go, but we are very optimistic they will reach their goals because the road ahead of them is well-paved, thanks to the P&G Alumni Foundation. We thank you so much for taking this work, to spend your money, to share your love and time, to support what is being done by WD4H. I hope you will see what your help is bringing into these lives. Please receive our sincere gratitude for your great contribution in paving this way for these people.”
– Justin Bisengimana, WD4H Rwanda Program Director
One of our goals in Rwanda is to help each of our 25 cooperatives create a successful community-run business. As of March 2018, there are 12 businesses up and running and 3 being launched this spring. Of the 15 businesses, 6 were funded by the P&G Alumni Foundation.
Our connection to this funder is through our Board Vice President Betsy Stivers, who served with the Procter & Gamble company for 21 years, retiring as VP of Product Supply for Global Health in 2001. Thanks to her involvement as an alum, we were able to seek funding from the P&G Alumni Foundation and were awarded a generous grant in December of 2016 that enabled us to:
Hire a Business Coordinator ($3,600)
Offer a 3-Day Business Training to 60 of our co-op leaders ($5,000)
Launch 1 new business and expand 2 existing businesses ($6,000)
JUDY RWIBUTSO, BUSINESS COORDINATOR: Judy was hired on April 1st, 2017. It took several months for her to get to know the communities and their businesses and get accustomed to the business reporting requirements. She is now a respected member of the WD4H Rwanda Team, working closely with P&G Alum Betsy Stivers to improve the reporting process and help the co-op leaders monitor, track, and adjust their budgets and plans. Judy Rwibutso – “Since I graduated Business School in Kigali, I have been looking for challenging work that I would feel passionate about. I have found this as Business Coordinator for WD4H-Rwanda. I truly feel I was meant to be doing this. I am grateful for the entire team I work with, and the support I feel from them. Nothing can compare to the experience with the people we are serving. I have learned so much from them, and our work together is where my strength comes from. I feel so rewarded when I see the changes happening in our communities. My thanks go to Procter & Gamble Alumni Foundation who made this all possible!”
THE BUSINESS TRAINING: Justin Bisengimana – “The goal of the Training was to give participants the tools they need to make their businesses strong and sustainable. Increasingly, our co-op members know what they need to learn, and what skills are applicable to what the business they are running or the one they are planning. They were so keen to learn everything that was presented – they followed each lesson with maximum attention. They showed a very exciting spirit to learn. They are now confident in asking questions and bringing up wise ideas. We used the break time to have fun together and do skits, which were all about what it means to be a great leader and manager.”
RUGANEHEZA VENTILATION BRICK BUSINESS: Since they formed a co-op in 2008, Ruganeheza’s goal was to start a ventilation brick business. All rural Rwandans use these for their homes, but no one produced them locally. In 2014, Ruganeheza raised enough money from farming to launch the enterprise. The project was bearing fruit, but they had to devote 30% of the revenue to renting brick molds from a distant supplier, which was clearly unsustainable. They were overjoyed to receive $2,000 from the P&G Alumni Foundation to buy the molds and create a viable community-run business. Now they serve about 25 customers/month and net $164/month. In 7 months, they were able distribute a total of $862 among the co-op members.
ABAHARANIRAMAHORO EVENT RENTAL BUSINESS: Abaha started out as a “singing cooperative,” occasionally earning money for the community by performing at local events. They came up with the idea of adding value to their singing business by offering event rentals for weddings, baptisms, funerals, meetings, and concerts. They started with a few decorations and equipment they were able to purchase. The co-op made a request to WD4H to purchase addition assets, and the P&G Alumni Foundation grant fulfilled this, enabling them to expand their business and create a successful, sustainable enterprise.
GENDA UGIRE UTYO EVENT RENTAL BUSINESS: Genda is a large farming community with a deep understanding of what a cooperative can mean in the lives of its members. They came up with the idea of an Event Rental Business to service all the weddings, funerals, and meetings being held in their district of Gahini. They appealed to WD4H for funds to buy chairs, decorations, a keyboard, microphones, and amplifier. They were overjoyed when their project was funded by the P&G Alumni Foundation.
“Do you know how long we have been wanting these resources? It has been our dream for many years. On behalf of my cooperative, I am so much thankful for P&G who turned our dreams into a reality.” – Riziki (white scarf)