Wednesday, July 05, 2006

UNIFEM, Women-Owned Businesses & Rwanda Knits

I have to admit that I had never heard of UNIFEM (United Nations Developing Fund for Women) until I read an article about Nicole Kidman in Ladies Home Journal while on jury duty--she is one of their Goodwill Ambassadors. For those of you who haven't heard of UNIFEM either, it is the women's fund at the United Nations. Their four goals are:

1. to reduce feminized poverty
2. to end violence against women
3. to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls
4. to achieve gender equality in democratic governance in times of peace as well as war.

While looking for other UNIFEM-related blogs, I found the Business Council for Peace, one of UNIFEM's partners. They help women living in regions of conflict and post-conflict start businesses. Eight BPeace members traveled to Rwanda in May 2006 and used the Bpeace Rwanda blog to document their trip. One of the team's members, Cari Clement of the Fiber and Craft Entrepreneurial Development Center, also kept her own travel blog, Rwanda Knits, during the trip.

The Fiber and Craft Entrepreneurial Development Center (FACED) provides knitting machines and training to women living in Rwanda.

Here is an excerpt from one Clement's entries towards the end of the trip:

Yesterday was probably the biggest day of the trip: the “hand-over” ceremony where USAID officially handed over the 630 knitting machines to the 16 associations and the handing out of the certificates to the graduates of the business training held over the past four days at Gitarama. Before the ceremony, the training continued in [the] morning, with the IWACU instructor teaching the women how to create an income statement and balance sheet. . . .Then it was time for graduation for the students who had attended the business training seminar. Each attendee, including representatives from the Kiziba refugee camp where all this started, was given a certificate which their association can use to help them get micro-credit to purchase yarn for their group.

If you want to help, according to the FACED site, a donation of $165 provides, "an Ultimate Sweater Machine, Row Counter, all freight and clearing costs and skills training."

Photo credit: Ethiopia 3 by babasteve


  1. Anonymous10:35 AM

    Just a quick thanks for all of the valuable information your blog provides. I had never heard of UNIFEM until reading your blog today and appreciate all of the profiles, interviews, podcasts that you share with us.

    From one Canadian female trying to "Have Fun & Do Good".


  2. Thanks, Katherine, for your kind words. I am so glad to hear that the posts are making a difference, 'cause that is my greatest hope.


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