11th May 2022 – In collaboration with NAEB, Sustainable Growers Rwanda will launch a Farmers Graduation Ceremony in 6 districts namely Gicumbi, Gakenke, Kayonza, Nyaruguru, Rusizi, and Nyamasheke. 5,046 women coffee farmers across the country will be graduating from a year-long training in the best agricultural practices in coffee, home roasting, storytelling for leadership, and market access activities. These farmers have been trained by Sustainable Growers - Rwanda, a local nonprofit dedicated to increasing the economic independence of women farmers and their families through coffee training and market access. Six graduation ceremonies, one in each district will take place from May 11th to June 02nd to celebrate the completion of this program. Local government officials and partners will attend to help celebrate the progress and professional development of each woman farmer. With Bloomberg Philanthropies’ generous support, Sustainable Growers has an opportunity to align their efforts with the government’s larger national goals to improve productivity, quality, and build market access for the coffee sector. The effective training, trade, and public-private partnership model promotes the economic inclusion of women farmers and their families. Since 2014, Sustainable Growers Rwanda has worked in 13 districts and supported 77 cooperatives, 25 coffee washing stations, and 38,056 women coffee farmers, as direct beneficiaries. The farmers received training in teams of 15 led by women extension leaders. During the graduation ceremonies, farmers receive certificates of completion and are rewarded with different types of assets that include livestock (cows and goats), specific farm equipment (sprayers, pruning shears, pruning saws, hoes, fork hoes), basic home materials (mattresses, fabrics/ibitenge, radios, and phones). “Through our program called Premium Sharing Rewards (PSR), a program known as “Wakoze neza Muhinzi” in Kinyarwanda, we reward women coffee farmers for implementing Best Agricultural Practices “BAP” and adopting Government Initiatives such as Health Insurance, Establishing Kitchen Gardens, School Enrolment, Clean Home Latrines, and Ejo Heza. PSR is an important pillar of our program because it is through this program that farmers are monitored and evaluated by our Monitoring and Evaluation team based on individual coffee plantations over a period of 12 months. For each of the training programs, farmers are given scores based on their performance and at the end of the year they receive a certificate of completion and incentives based on their performance as a way of motivating them”; said Mrs. Christine Condo, Sustainable Growers Executive Director. “We have a heavy agenda to enrich women’s potential with skills and means. Their focus and discipline inspire me greatly. These initiatives impact positively on the entire life-cycle of their respective families and communities,”. Mrs. Christine Condo added. “The graduation festivities mark the accomplishment of a significant milestone by both the women coffee farmers and Sustainable Growers,” stated Lambert, the Sustainable Growers Director. Mrs. Florence Niyomahoro, a coffee farmer and president of Mayogi Cooperative; highlighted that working with Sustainable Growers has contributed to the growth of the cooperative. “Today, the cooperative members have learned the coffee value chain from seed to cup. “Not only do we have a well-managed cooperative, but our members also know all the techniques required to grow good coffee and to process different types of coffee among them Fully Washed Coffee, Honey, or Natural Processed Coffee”. Said Florence. “During harvesting time, we can cup our coffee using our cupping lab with the support from our professional Quality Control Manager as well as brewing coffee for either our guests or farmers using the coffee-making equipment that is available at the cooperative level. We have been able to do all this due to the support of Sustainable Growers”. Added Florence. “Thanks to Sustainable Growers, today our coffee can score 90+ SCAA which is categorized as presidential coffee”: Concluded Mrs. Florence.