Agaseke project is a Rwandan Handcrafts Making Project established in 2007 in Kigali City, with support and partnership of Imbuto Foundation, and Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (“RIEPA”). The vision for the Project is to provide an opportunity for vulnerable, unemployed and landless women of Kigali City, by supporting them to create their own employment and a sustainable livelihood thereby enabling them to redeem themselves and their families, out of extreme poverty.
In Rwanda the majority of people below the poverty line are women. After the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda majority of women lost their male breadwinners and as a result many women were forced to be the heads of households. Majority of these women are uneducated and do not have any skills which makes it difficult to find employment and sustain themselves and their families.
Some of the women targeted under the Project have been begging on Kigali City streets, others have been involved in peddle goods/products such as fruits and vegetables on the street of Kigali. Women sold their products on a give-away price and this kind of business hardly supported their basic needs. In addition, peddling is an illegal business activity and so often women engaged in this business were being chased by local defence as a measure of eliminating such type of business. Agaseke project was therefore initiated as an answer to these problems.
The project encourages women to get organized in cooperatives so that it is easier to provide them with the support they need. Women have so far formed 16 cooperatives in all the three districts of Kigali City namely Gasabo, Kicukiro and Nyarugenge. The current project is proposing putting in place one incubation/training centre for women which will directly benefit 400 women. More members of the society will indirectly benefit from the project. These may include but are not limited to, the women’s children and other members of their household/family.
The Incubation Centre will be designed to equip women with adequate skills in handcraft making, and also skills in business development including areas such as quality controls, marketing, communication, entrepreneurship and gender and development. This will give women an opportunity to create employment for themselves as a result of improved capacities.