Rwanda Forum for Alternative Trade
RWAFAT (Rwanda Forum for Alternative Trade)is an organization that we recently started to support.
This Rwandan non-governmental organization was founded in 2011 to empower local artisan cooperatives. RWAFAT helps the cooperatives with professionalization through, for example, training courses, exhibitions and as an advocate.
They especially want to reach women, who are often in difficult positions. Many are widows, live in extreme poverty and have few opportunities to earn sufficient income. The small savings and loan groups have a powerful effect on this group. Not only in terms of income, but also for strengthening their social position and empowerment.
In the last few years micro-credit programs have been created to bring local communities together. These serve as a vital part of the development and reconstruction of a society broken by the 1994 genocide.
One of the selection criteria for new cooperatives to join RWAFAT is the degree of poverty in which the members find themselves. That is why there is also a high percentage of women’s groups affiliated with RWAFAT, because they live in extreme poverty, compared to others in the country.
The activities undertaken by the different cooperatives include: making baskets, crafting cow horns, agriculture, pottery and making clothes.
The expected outcome of this project is to improve the access of the poorest people, especially women, to community-based microfinance.
This will lead to an increased ability of project participants to meet basic needs, such as food security, education and access to healthcare.
RWAFAT undertakes, among others, the following activities to achieve this outcome:
- Organizing project participants into savings and loan groups;
- Awareness campaigns for participating women to participate in savings programs;
- Train participants in micro-credit programs and other relevant topics;
- Bringing participating cooperatives into contact with microfinance institutions;
- Support in income-generating activities;
- Facilitating business mentors and entrepreneurship training.
As the Cornerstone Foundation, we have recently become involved in this project. We find it special how the women, living in extreme poverty, are supported to provide for their own livelihood. This gives enormous strength and self-esteem, something that we wish for everyone.
In particular, we help RWAFAT to find sufficient funds to continue to carry out their special work.
Support this Work
In 2020 they want to support at least five cooperatives throughout Rwanda. These mainly consist of HIV-positive women with little perspective.
Will you help them become self-supporting?