Saturday, July 12, 2008

Knitting Cooperative Training Scheduled!

Thanks to the Rwanda Knits team of Laura, Geofrey and Judi on-the-ground in Rwanda, the planned cooperative training for four of the registered cooperatives will be taking place by mid-August. In Rwanda, registrations filed with the local, district and national offices are required as well as a week's worth of training in cooperative management for each group. The photo shows Geofrey Katushabe, Rwanda Knits' Project Manager, and Judi Farer, board member of Rwanda Knits US.

For anyone interested, here is the schedule of the Primary Cooperative Training workshops:
July 14-17: Nyagatare Women (whose photos are posted below, from the last blog entry)
July 22-25: Urumuri (whose photos are posted here and below)
July 28-30: Diana Fossey (whose photos are also posted on, Meet the Knitters) July 31-August 2: Hosiana
August 5-8: "Union" workshop with Iwacu (Rwandan cooperative training organization) - to train members of the above Primary Cooperatives in joining to become a Secondary (aka "umbrella") Cooperative.

You can see descriptions and photos of the original 17 women's associations who created each of the 29 Primary Cooperatives Rwanda Knits supports at A listing of the individual cooperatives and their locations in Rwanda will be posted very soon.
A big thanks to Judi and Jim Farer for their financial and hands-on support for the above cooperative training workshops. As we speak, they are on their way back to their home in NYC after spending nearly two weeks in Rwanda. Judi has been to Rwanda a number of times and is the organizations biggest cheerleader here in the States. A photo of myself and Judi with some of the Urumuri cooperative members is shown here.

Jim, who is a retired dentist, accompanied Judi this trip to work with the Kigali Institute of Health, bringing his knowledge of dentistry (Jim presently also teaches at NYU) to dental students in Rwanda. I look forward to a very lengthy - and incredibly positive - debriefing from Judi when she returns.
Return tomorrow to learn all about the newest Rwanda Knits cooperative, Milennium Villages and to learn about an exciting scarf-knitting project for export to the US!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rwanda Knits' member cooperatives are made up of women from the same support association, but women with a keen interest in starting their own businesses. Most of these women have known each other for many years, so they are already starting out on a firm footing.

The first 4 primary cooperatives will be ready to begin training as members as a secondary, or umbrella, cooperative in August, as Laura and Geofrey have worked hard and met just the right people to make the training a reality in August. While the women may know each other, training is critical as they will be the ones managing this business - and joining together with women who have a mutual interest in business and knitting, but who may just be acquaintences.

Congratulations, you guys!!

And congratulations too to Judi Farer who, together with her husband, Jim, are now in Rwanda to support their respective interests: Judi with Rwanda Knits (and who hopes to build a well for the Nyagatare women who must walk miles each day to get water before going to work); Jim with his passion for working with dental students at the Kigali Institute of Health. Jim is a retired dentist who specializes in educational workshops for dentists and dental students.

They are in Akagera National Park this weekend. Here are some of the animals they will see.