Story of change

Turwanyubunebwe Women Group

Training from Kahawatu Foundation has helped Turwanyubunebwe Women Group to improve their coffee production, diversify their income through goat rearing, and receive financial support from a VSLA.

Turwanyubunebwe is a women’s group with 15 members at Kazo Coffee Washing Station in Rwanda. The group owns a coffee plantation of 1.5 hectares with around 2,000 productive coffee trees in the eastern district of Ngoma, in Kazo sector. It was founded to support coffee farming and in 2020, Kahawatu Foundation started training the group on good agricultural practices (GAP).
To diversify their income, the group started rearing goats. Kahawatu provided 15 goats (1 per member) in December 2021 and by 2022, 9 of the goats had given birth to 19 kids – of which 9 were sold at US$18 each. The owners kept only US$3, as a sign of motivation, and the remaining US$15 per goat was saved in the group’s bank account – a total of US$135. In 2023, 3 goats gave birth to 4 kids and 2 more became pregnant. This has left the group with 29 goats.
The group meets weekly at their coffee farm. They practice GAP and each member brings 6kg of organic mature to apply to their coffee trees. On average, they harvest 1-2MT of coffee cherry per year, which they deliver to Kazo CWS.
In July 2021, the cooperative founded a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) – named Tuzamurane – with 30 members: the 15 members from Turwanyubunebwe Women Group and 15 other community members. The VSLA started saving in August 2021 and by the end of the first savings cycle in July 2022, the group had saved US$1,035.18. After receiving their shares, 5 members bought goats, 10 members bought pigs for rearing, 5 members rehabilitated their houses, and 5 started small businesses, including tailoring, selling second-hand clothes, and selling vegetables.
The second savings cycle started in August 2022 and so far, they have US$1,527.04 and US$714.48 of outstanding loans within members. Each member is entitled to own 1 to 5 shares. Each member contributes US$0.50 to a social fund every week – this helps support members who might encounter difficult times. The group also provides members with other social support, including sharing advice, visiting sick members, and attending weddings and burials of members’ relatives.