Sunday, May 31, 2015

34. Field Notes 11: Women in Coffee in Rwanda -- Leading in the Office and on the Farm

May 27, 2015
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:
  1. Immy KAMARADE - Managing Director, Kirisimbi Coffee
  2. Epiphane MUKASHYAKA (and her son) - Owner, BUF Coffee
  3. Maggie UMIMBABISA (and her daughter) - Managing Director, Sacof
  4. Angelique KAREKEZI - Managing Director, Rwashoscco
  5. Therese Karitanyi - General Manager, Agropharm - now AgroPy
  6. Ramya Waran, Director of Operations, KZ Noir
  7. Anne Marie KANTENGWA, CEO, Hotel Chez Lando 
Women Farmers:
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.
  1. Shy female farmer interviewed near BUF
  2. Female picker near Rutasira (built a house by saving her wages for a season)
  3. Huye Mtn "mom" with 5 kids
  4. Farm mom with bad foot
  5. Wife & mom in the "collector couple"
  6. 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

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