It would be hard to capture all that I learned about gender issues and the important roles women are playing in coffee in Rwanda. Rather than try and bore everyone with a not-fully-thought-out conclusion, I will just share the laundry list of women and programs I encountered and let you begin to draw your own conclusions and ask new questions.
Women Leading Companies in Rwanda:
- Immy KAMARADE - Managing Director, Kirisimbi Coffee
- Epiphane MUKASHYAKA (and her son) - Owner, BUF Coffee
- Maggie UMIMBABISA (and her daughter) - Managing Director, Sacof
- Angelique KAREKEZI - Managing Director, Rwashoscco
- Therese Karitanyi - General Manager, Agropharm - now AgroPy
- Ramya Waran, Director of Operations, KZ Noir
- Anne Marie KANTENGWA, CEO, Hotel Chez Lando
6 of my 10 interviews were with women farmers. I also got to meet the wife of the farmer I interviewed at GIFT washing station and the two women at BUF who were interviewed by my partner, Grace. Altogether got to talk with 8 or 9 female farmers. Each of these women are business owners and managers, too -- they are in the farm business.
- Shy female farmer interviewed near BUF
- Female picker near Rutasira (built a house by saving her wages for a season)
- Huye Mtn "mom" with 5 kids
- Farm mom with bad foot
- Wife & mom in the "collector couple"
- Farmers/pickers (2) near Kigufi
Sustainable Harvest - Bloomberg -- building washing stations for women's cooperatives and providing a year-long training and leadership program.
Abakundekawa -- has a women's program where the women grow and sell, and keep the profits from, their coffee trees.
Government and Academia:
- University of Rwanda also has launched a new masters program on gender-sensitive Agri-business. Both men and women can apply. The first 40 students are starting Fall 2015.
- Gerardine Mukeshimana is Rwanda's new Minister of Agriculture