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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, International, International Development, International Economic Development, Microfinance, Promotion of International Understanding

Mission: Indego Africa (www.indegoafrica.org) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit social enterprise that creates jobs and sustainable livelihoods for female artisan entrepreneurs through market access and education. Indego Africa partners with cooperatives of socio-economically marginalized women artisans in Rwanda and sells their jewelry, home décor, and fashion accessories on (a) its e-commerce site (shop.indegoafrica.org), (b) to boutiques and stores worldwide, and (c) through large-scale brand and design collaborations. Indego Africa then pools 100% of its profits with all donations to fund job skills training for its partners in management, entrepreneurship, literacy, computers, and health. Through their partnership with Indego Africa, women artisans generate income through product sales to meet their families’ basic needs now and develop job skills that enhance their long-term earning potential.

Results: Currently, Indego Africa partners with over 500 women from across 13 partner cooperatives in Rwanda. Each woman survived unimaginable horrors during the 1994 genocide and has continued to lead a difficult life of poverty and struggle. Many are widows, suffer from HIV/AIDs and/or lingering psychological trauma, lack formal schooling or the means to enroll their children in formal schooling, and have inadequate food security, housing, and healthcare. In our initial social impact assessment, we discovered that 93% of our artisan partners had previously earned less than $1.00 per day. This amount often must feed and house their entire family, which includes an average of 5.5 dependents as many care for orphans and elderly relatives in addition to their own children. Each year, IA conducts a robust annual social impact assessment, which compiles developmental data on our artisan partners that includes both quantitative metrics such as basic demographics, income, education levels, and food security and qualitative indicators such as in-depth self-perception. IA’s female artisan partners have seen dramatic improvements in earned income, food security, access to water, access to schooling for themselves and their children, and bank accounts. Highlights from our fifth Social Impact Report include: • Earned Income: In 2012, 76% of our female artisan partners earned more than $1.00 per day, compared to 7% in 2008. • Food Security: In 2012, 74% of our female artisan partners reported that their families never ran out of food, compared to 5% in 2008. • Housing: In 2012, 76% of our female artisan partners owned their homes, compared to 41% in 2008. • Health Access: In 2012, 81% of our female artisan partners had regular access to medical care, compared to 26% in 2008.

Target demographics: artisan women

Geographic areas served: Rwanda

Programs: Indego Africa’s economic empowerment model consists of two core components: market access and education. Market Access. Indego Africa exports and sells our artisan partners’ handmade jewelry, home décor, and accessories on (i) our e-commerce site (shop.indegoafrica.org), (ii) to over 100 brick-and-mortar stores worldwide, and (iii) through collaborations with established brands and labels, including Anthropologie, J.Crew, and Nicole Miller. Our market access program integrates our artisan partners into the global economy. Education. Indego Africa pools 100% of our profits from sales with all grants and donations to fund job skills training programs for our artisan partners in Business Management & Entrepreneurship, Literacy, Computers, and Health. Our training programs remove the barriers – both personal and structural – to women participating in global commerce over the long-term and without our assistance.

Community Stories

9 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What makes Indego Africa a model organization for the economic empowerment of communities in need is the fact that it puts the women of its cooperatives at the center of the decision-making process and programmatic focus. This ensures not only that the specific needs and concerns of the women of its cooperatives are met, but also that they are invested in the programs and goals that are set. In this respect, Indego Africa seeks to make the women of its programs not just participants, but drivers of those programs. Unlike many other organizations, Indego Africa's ultimate aim is to make its own involvement obsolete: to equip the women of its cooperatives with skills that will enable them to thrive independently. Indego Africa is already seeing key progress towards these ends, as its partners develop more of the skills and experience necessary to thrive as entrepreneurs in Rwanda.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Indego Africa since its inception in September 2006. The great success of Indego Africa rests upon an innovative social enterprise model that enables Rwandan women -- many of whom are genocide widows -- to lift themselves out of poverty. Indego Africa provides these women with access to the global marketplace to sell their handicrafts, and 100% of profits are reinvested for the benefit of the women through skills training and other valuable programs. Indego Africa's success is due not only to its presence on the ground in Rwanda and the respect it receives there, but also because of the vast support network that has grown organically throughout the United States in the form of various regional boards. And of course, none of this would be possible without the determination, focus, and enthusiasm of the executive management team and its emphasis on transparency.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Indego Africa is an incredible organization that benefits from enthusiastic, talented and sharp leadership with a constant eye towards sustainability and impact. They are leaders in the field of fair trade and women's empowerment. They have seen significant increases in quality of life, skills development and income of the women in their partner artisan cooperatives. The results of their 2009 Impact Assessment (see website) confirm that Indego Africa achieves its mission and demonstrates the organization's commitment to transparency. Indego Africa's leadership made me feel welcome and empowered from the very first day of my internship by providing me unlimited access to information and support for all my initiatives. They harness the potential not only of the women the serve in Rwanda but of everyone that walks through their doors.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an incredible organization working to help lift women and their children up by empowering them to create a better life for themselves through education, access to US markets, and self-determination. The support structure that Indego Africa has put in place on the ground in Rwandan communities is making a real and lasting impact on the women who are involved with this non-profit social enterprise. By making use of the women's skills and talents, encouraging them to do what they already do best, using the income from the sale of their goods produced to educate and train them to run their own business, and by also using their income to purchase computers and train them how to use the computers, Indego Africa is making a huge, positive difference in the lives and families of these survivors of the Rwandan genocide.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Indego Africa is a great organization. As a business student, I was drawn to their unique model of leveraging business skills and entrepreneurial spririt to sustainably create a better livelihood for women in Rwanda. IAP goes beyond helping the women reach an export market for their products - the training programs in business management and literacy help instill the women with the confidence and skills they need to be be truly independent entrepreneurs. Since joining as a volunteer, I have been continually impressed by the passion and commitment shown by everyone involved in the organization towards this common cause.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Indego Africa is part of a growing change in the non-profit world. By helping to educate and employ the women of Rwanda, Indego Africa is offering a hand up to those who need it, not in a temporary way, but in a lasting way.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Indego Africa is a remarkable organization creating opportunities for social entrepreneurship for the women of Rwanda. Indego Africa partners with cooperatives in Rwanda to sell their beautiful handicrafts. One of the reasons I love working with Indego Africa is because of their dedication to the women they work with. They return 100% of profits to the cooperatives through their comprehensive training programs. These programs provide skills for the women in financial management, computers, literacy, and entrepreneurship. Indego Africa works to ensure that these women will have the skills and knowledge to raise themselves out of poverty, and pursue personal successes.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Indego Africa provides local Rwandan women with the opportunity to advance their craftsmanship while also learning essential business skills. My interest and work with Indego Africa was sparked by the organizations unique approach to social entrepreneurship whereby the organization works alongside local women to create revenue streams for their goods in addition to business training. Thus, the women become true small business owners and work together to achieve personal and professional fulfillment. The collaborative and innovative approach Indego Africa takes sets it apart from other non-profits.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became aware of Indego Africa Project about two years ago, and was immediately attracted to the idea behind the organization: the alleviation of poverty through entrepreneurial and sustainable growth. Through partnerships with cooperatives of women in Rwanda and the sale of their handicrafts, as well as local training programs,IAP has made a significant social impact. Increased income for women, better housing conditions, greater food security and an overall enhanced quality of life have all been apparent through their work. I have had the opportunity to witness their work first-hand as a volunteer in fundraising and development, and am proud to be a part of an organization that is presenting tangible and sustainable results.