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Africa Women’s Hope Initiative

New Hampshire

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Vision – To help change the lives of women and their families.  

Purpose – To build, strengthen, and support women’s cooperatives throughout Africa.  

Mission – In partnership with Africa Hope Initiatives, Africa Women’s Hope Initiative (“AWHI”) is a spiritually based ministry with a goal to provide women opportunities to (1) earn a savings bonus or (2) secure a microloan. A savings bonus or micro loan allow women to start or grow small businesses under the oversight of a local women’s cooperative.  

What is a  savings bonus?   The women’s cooperative agrees to save a certain amount of money.  Once their goal is reached, they receive a savings bonus.  The amount of the savings bonus is dependent upon the amount received in donations and the number of women’s cooperatives visited in any given year. 

What is a Micro Loan? A $50 loan lifts women and their families out of proverty.  The micro loan program is a zero interest program.  Payments are made weekly and the cooperative group meets regularly, pray together and share the experiences of their business. Each cycle is sixteen weeks (four months), and once the loan payment is completed, an evaluation meeting is held. The loan is returned to the borrowers by adding the capital from the business, which is referred to as graduation of capital.  

Africa Women’s Hope Initiative Core Values

These values will be at the forefront of all decisions related to the ministry:

  • Courage – The opposite of fear. Trusting in God is our true source of strength. Without courage we cannot do His work.
  • Serving Others – Looking outside of ourselves and beyond our own circumstances. Seeking to improve the lives of women in Rwanda and throughout Africa for His glory.
  • Fellowship – Sharing common beliefs and sentiments which allow us to recognize our own faults. This gives us the opportunity to share in the spiritual growth of each other. We should practice this spiritual trait whenever possible as this is pleasing in God’s eyes.
  • Continuous Growth- Being ready to evolve, refine, improve, enhance and shift based on God’s will.

Message From Founder – I have been traveling to Rwanda since 2011. For most of those years, my destination was the village of Gasarabwayi in Eastern Province of Rwanda.  Recently, I began learning about their women’s cooperative and its challenges. This cooperative originally consisted of a few women with fledgling small businesses.  

During my visit in 2019, I proposed the idea of a savings bonus to the group’s president, Rosa.  I offered to match whatever amount the women’s cooperative saved within a year through donations.  With this opportunity, Rosa changed the old cooperative into a savings cooperative. 

In only eight months, the cooperative welcomed 19 new members and was able to save over $1,000 USD.  As most of these entrepreneurial women earn an average of $4.25 USD per week, this was an amazing accomplishment! I asked the women about the benefits of belonging to the cooperative. Below are just some of the comments women shared about membership:

  • “I learned how to run a business.”
  • “I was able to move from working for others to running my own business.”
  • “Fellowship with experienced women helped me so much.”
  • “I am no longer dependent on my husband, I can buy my own things.”
  • “Women’s cooperative is another level of life.”

In May 2022, I returned to Rwanda and met with 7 women’s cooperative groups, 2 in the city of Kigali and the rest in rural villages.   I learned about how their cooperatives operated and what challenges they encountered.  Challenges range from COVID – 19 to no “brick and mortar” buildings to sell goods, to drought affecting fruit farmers. Through generous donations, I had the opportunity to offer 6 of the cooperatives a savings bonus.  After this trip I decided to create Africa Women’s Hope Initiative. The goal is to offer a savings bonus to more women cooperatives in Africa.  These bonuses will assist in starting and expanding small businesses with the cooperatives. 

Love and Blessings,

Heidi Kittredge

Our Programs & Who We Serve

Women’s cooperatives empower women and foster economic development by changing their socio-economic status.   Cooperatives create jobs, create long-term savings opportunities and impact entire families socially, economically and spiritually. Women in Africa play a major role in meeting their household’s needs.  They are frequently the primary suppliers of food, cooking fuel and childcare. Despite this huge responsibility, most women are still deprived of income earning jobs to help them supply the vital needs of the family.

History of Micro Loan Project – The Micro Loan Project began as the country of Rwanda faced the long journey of healing from the 1994 Genocide and the horrific lasting effects of such a tragic event. The Genocide took the lives of thousands and thousands of people in Rwanda, impacting nearly every family in the nation. The tragedy destroyed the country’s economy and ruined many relationships. In 2007, Bishop Theophile, the Founder of Africa Hope Inititative Rwanda, met with three widows of the Rwandan Genocide when they came to the local church to request support.

The church did not have the funds to assist them, but they prayed and brainstormed and Bishop Theophile came up with the idea of the women starting a small business.  Since the women did not have capital to begin a business, Bishop Theophile gave each woman three thousand Francs ( the equivalent of $3 in United States) to launch a small business. The women began a business venture selling cabbages, tomatoes, and several other vegetables which grow well on Rwandan soil. The project expanded in October 2007 when Bishop Theophile met an extraordinary couple who shared his vision, and they became the first supporters in the Microloan Project. This couple, who lived in New Hampshire, had a similar ministry called Microseeds, and this proved to be an amazing connection.  

 

 

Africa Women's Hope Initiative

Our Organization

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Mail your donation

To mail your donation, please make your check payable to Christian Ministry Alliance, with a notation for Fund #3153, and mail to: P.O. Box 7735, Goodyear, AZ 85338.

Donor Advised Funds or Private Charity

If you are giving from a Donor Advised Fund or Private Charity: Follow these steps:

1. Find "Christian Ministry Alliance" in your grant portal. (Goodyear, AZ|EIN: 46-3408177)
2. In your grant portal, designate the gift by including the name of the associate or FSO.

Non-Cash Giving

By donating assets such as stocks, real estate, and business interests before the sale, you can reduce taxes and create longevity in your giving.

To learn more about how to give non-liquid assets like stocks or real estate, email us at [email protected]