Mukansanga Dancilla is a 50 years old woman, resident of Gatsata Sector ,Nyamugari Cell, Rwakalihejuru Village ./Phone:+250 788366237,with a family composed by four (4) children, her husband and herself ,in total are 6 people. Dancilla is leader of ‘’Umurage w’Agaseke’’cooperative which she has joined in 2007.Cooperative members are made up by women living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIVA), Single mothers, Women with Disabilities and mainly ex-street vendors. Before joining the cooperative Dancilla was a street vendor, selling few staff under bad conditions where she have been facing violence, harassment, losses due to doing unauthorized businesses and on the top of that the conflicts with her husband under the straggle of feed the
family and paying other family expenses (Schools fees, House rent, food, etc).Dancilla is experiencing new and positive life after being active member of the cooperative, she is able to make Baskets and other hand crafts products including jewels ,Chair and their accessories being modern and traditional ones ,plate, vase ,Tapis ,etc. depending on the choice of the clients.
Dancilla is managing to pay school fees for their children, one of her daughter who studied general mechanic at secondary level joined her in making basket craft business seeing that is good and also profitable. She use to earn thirty thousand Rwanda Francs (30,000 Rwf) on monthly basis. And being member of a Savings and Loans association led to the savings and solving the financial problems at family level. Even though she looks old but is committed to earn more than what is earn today and need to go beyond the satisfaction of her and family basic needs and invest in other income generating activities (IGA) like having a house for rent from her location.
Back ground and geneses of cooperatives:
In 2007 the city of Kigali launched ‘’Agaseke Arts ‘’ promotion program and started identifying low income women from the City of Kigali, Dancilla was trained during first round of training under the support of the First Lady of Rwanda ,Madam Jeanette Kagame. Training was about making Small basket known as ‘’Agaseke’’, and others hand crafts including Jewels. At the beginning they have no place to develop their hand crafts businesses, started using to seat under trees and do their work. It’s under that poor conditions of the work that ASOFERWA met them and accommodated them in Gatsata Community Development Center (GCDC), the Center managed by ASOFERWA in collaboration with Gasabo District.
ASOFERWA also gave them various trainings in the area of hand crafts in collaboration with Gahaya Links with expertise in Hand crafts making; training in the area of Modern farming and agriculture in collaboration with Gako Farming Training Center, and in the area of Economic strengthening Program using the approach known as Groups of Savings and Loans Associations (GSLA) to promote income generating activities under the support of USAID via FHI360 ROADS Project.
Cooperative’s challenges: Covid-19 outbreak have interfered and disturbed the business, because hand crafts businesses depend on market of the products made. On the list of clients all cooperatives are sharing clients named: Indigo Africa and AA Partners who have also reduced the quantity of the products taken comparing the market before the covid-19 outbreak due its prevention measures.
Getting and access to the market of their products is their prime concern and wish to prosper.
Future projections: Looking for more clients of their products because they depend on orders received; innovate what they are doing with new style of hand crafts. Having their own premises or buildings reserved to their work is one of the common concern of the cooperatives.