Cultivating a New Industry
Smallholder farming plays an integral role in Rwanda’s economic development, and women contribute up to 70% of agricultural labor. Despite women’s major role in farming, they have significantly limited access to financing, technologies, credit, and education. SHE is working to bridge that gender gap with our reliance on local materials, including our local sourcing of banana fiber as the absorbent core of our go! pads.
SHE’s reliance on local sourced of our banana fiber enables farmers to receive additional income from the leftover and renewable banana fiber that remains after a banana tree is fully harvested. Local sourcing of banana fiber also stabilizes farmers’ income fluctuation that happens during the dry season and for the Umunezero co-op, contributes more than 33% of their annual income.
Our recent visit to the Umunezero co-op gives you an behind-the-scenes look at how banana fiber is one of many natural resources used to fuel Rwanda’s economic growth.