Monday, 30 October 2017

The Better Tomorrow

Hi! Call me Reece Marriott, a guy who is addicted to Nutella unfortunately it’s not available in the district I am in, which is Rutsiro in the Western province of Rwanda, but that won’t interfere with my project. Talking about the project, we are working with a coffee co-operative called Kopakama. The co-operative produces Green coffee, which is their main product but they are looking to start producing roasted organic coffee.

Reece and team talking with a women cooperative in Ejo Heza.

Of course, I am not alone! We are a team of 10, volunteering with International Service, who is a non-government organisation that empowers women, children and disabled people to access their rights in developing countries across the world. Our project is in a joint partnership with Challenges Worldwide. Challenges Worldwide is another INGO, which focus on working with small businesses and enterprises in developing economies.  In addition, many of you reading this blog wouldn’t expect International Service to be working with a co-operative, but that’s what makes us unique. We are ready to bring positive changes in terms of raising awareness when it comes to human rights and gender equality within the context of the co-op.

Ray raising awareness in the community
 So far our plans and goals are set. Now, it’s time to get things done! Last Thursday we had a meeting with the women farmers - there are 331 female growers and they form a group called in Ejo Heza, which translates into ‘The Better Tomorrow’. At the meeting, we discussed many issues like gender equality, accessibility to health care, education and safety! One thing we appreciated is that the community is open, honest and they were ready to corporate and take action. One of their wishes was that we could teach them English.

There was an issue that I wasn’t surprised about; the female workers were complaining that they are physically weak after their shift. Are you amazed? They should be given more time to recover due to the long hours they work, so this is an area we are going to look into to see how we can support them.

Personally, when I was arriving in Rutsiro, all I was worried about what will their food be like. Will it be delicious? I didn’t have to stress though because I have always learnt to be proactive and I adapted to this community very well which will benefit me in terms of their culture. I had no idea what to expect but when I arrived I started to feel calm due to this community were very welcoming.  For example, I would walk the streets in this community and they would instantly stop me to shake my hand and say Muraho which means hello. As each day goes by I am falling in love with their language and this gives me an urge to learn more about it. 
We are here to build from what the previous team has done. 

The most rewarding feeling about this placement so far is that when you hear the community speaking English to you. It’s not the fact they can speak it but it’s the fact that they have a go and put in the effort to speak my language. On the other hand when I walk past people in this community and say ‘Mwaramutse’, which means Good Morning, they would be surprised because they didn’t expect that from me. It’s such a great feeling and one of my goals is to learn more Kinyarwanda!

I am honestly delighted to be volunteering with Kopakama, being given the task to help the Coffee Co-operative as a business and to raise awareness for human rights is a great opportunity for myself and the team. As a team, we all have individual goals that we want to achieve and every one of us is excited to accomplish them. Till next week…murabeho!

Still not satisfied? Why not follow our regularly updated social media accounts.

Instagram: ICS_Kopakamacoffee
Facebook page: Kopakama ICS

MURAKOZE! (Thank you)

No comments:

Post a Comment