Rwanda: In July and August, students and faculty from Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Entrepreneurship will travel to Rwanda to work with PICO Rwanda leaders. Faculty, fellows and interns will work with leadership teams to initiate new economic development projects or advance the projects already underway. These include:
* the welding school in Mumeya;
* the roofing tile business in Nyanga;
* the clinic operation in Rusumo;
* the community center in Nyamata; and
* the handicraft business in Kigali
Last year two fellows worked with leaders from Mumeya to initiate a farmers cooperative.
This year, three Miller Center interns will provide workshops in social entrepreneurship and design thinking to community leaders. This will help them launch new enterprises or support existing economic development efforts. Three Miller Center Fellows will create digital videos that profile PICO Rwanda leaders and their collective efforts, and a narration of the Miller Center-PICO collaboration. Work will take place through visits to rural communities and workshops conducted at the Jesuit Christus Center.
Rwandans are naturally entrepreneurial. We are excited to see what the partnership between the Miller Center and PICO Rwanda will produce. We hope it will become a model for community- centered economic development work not only in Rwanda but also across East Africa.
Later in the summer, six Santa Clara University Engineers without Borders students and their advisor, Professor T, will work with the women of Nyange for the third year. This time students will design work on the design of a cart to bring heavy wet clay from the bottom of the valley to the top of the hill where the women have constructed a rolling shed and a kiln to process the clay into roofing tiles. Over the past two years, students helped design a clay mixer and a tile press. Each of these tools makes the backbreaking hand labor more efficient and produce a higher quality product.
In order for the cart to be effective, a new, small road will have to be constructed from the clay pit on the top of the hill. To accomplish this, Nyange community and engineering students will be joined by a dozen Food and Agriculture Institute students in an “Umuganda” community service day. We are hopeful that by the end of the year the Nyange tile-making enterprise will be a fully operational business increasing the income of these poor, but powerful women.
Thank you Santa Clara University!
PICO Rwanda is Faith in Action’s international organizing project where leaders are shedding the history of genocide and building self-help projects in six communities across Rwanda.