Sunday, June 04, 2006

 

Wednesday, May 24th

Rwandan style coffee break—Dancing!
Cari and Beth, the translator, arrived in Gitarama midday and caught the end of the financial accounting training for the associations, which focused on keeping manual ledgers. After lunch, it was on to pricing your product, touching on marketing, and an introduction to micro-credit. The women are doing exceptionally well, according to Jane, the instructor, and she's able to advance to other topics.

When it's time for a break, when we mzungus go for coffee, Rwandan women rather have a dance break - including the instructor.

“KIST-MET”
Manny, Marla, Anne, Loretta, Rebecca, Raj, Lady, Man met to discuss the most effective way to partner to support our on the ground efforts and new associates. As KIST has an entrepreneur and business incubator program, it was agreed we could leverage our respective resources and capabilities. First on the list is business planning and computer skill training.

Coffee Clutch
Anne and Manny met with Nadia Musabyeyezu, who owns a restaurant, mini mart and is a distributor for Café de Maraba Coffee. She took us on a short ride to a new mall where she opened a coffee bar. While the bar is wonderful, foot traffic is slow. While we gave her tips on frequent buyer programs and ideas for cross marketing with other retailers in the mall, a more in depth assessment is needed to determine the viability of success at this location.

Future Landscape
Marla and Anne met with Solina Mukamana, owner of Saintpaulia landscapes. They offer landscaping, maintenance, gardening, cleaning and flowers. During the visit, Solina received on the spot help with ideas for incremental sales, branding and advertising. In addition to the site we visited, she has land where she grows plants. We discussed the possibilities for contracting with new home builders and expanding her industrial contracts.

Banking on the Future
Marla and Richard continued their research on banks. They visited two commercial banks, Bank of Kigali and Coge Bank, and BRD, Rwandan Development Bank. Since the majority of businesses in Rwanda are small and medium enterprises, most of the commercial banks are serving this population. BRD focuses on businesses with economic and social impact in the development of the country. BRD encouraged some of our women to participate in a World Bank sponsored business plan competition where 10 winners receive a minimum $10,000 loan from BRD. In addition, BRD committed to putting together a panel of bankers to evaluate associates business plans.

REIPA promotes Tourism
As part of the effort to encourage tourism, Sabra, Selma and Loretta traveled to Lake Kivu with other attendees of the REIPA conference. They got to experience the beauty of the countryside as well as Lake Kivu.

CELEBRATION
Our new associates held a lively party in our honor. We were treated to an evening of Rwandan food, Music and Dancing! We also received lovely gifts and a moving speech delivered by Constance on behalf of all the new associates. She noted, "Now BPeace came in right time because we can talk and you hear us. We promise that we will also work hard in BPeace building." And we promise to work hard on behalf of the Rwandan women and when they talk we will hear them.
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