INDEGO AFRICA

Rating: 5 stars   14 reviews

Issues: International, Economic Development, Microfinance

Location: 51 West 52nd Street, 23rd Floor New York NY 10019 USA

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.
2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

setting a new standard for transparency and replicability.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the enthusiasm of its volunteers is surpassed only by the enthusiasm of the Rwandan women participating in its programs.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

gathered from many different backgrounds and areas of interest, which gives Indego Africa a unique breadth of expertise and knowledge upon which to draw.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

empower thousands of women throughout the world to develop the basic skills needed to provide economic stability to themselves and their families.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

every Indego Africa event I have attended over the past 3+ years.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have experienced the results of this organization as an intern. The experience that Indego Africa provided me has been invaluable during my graduate studies and I believe strongly that their work has empowered the women artisans in Rwanda.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The stories, photos and videos from those who have been there in person.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Always passionate, hard-working, friendly and persistent.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Spread it's work to other countries and communities that could greatly benefit from such an amazing social enterprise structure, to lift up more people and give them hope for the future.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing photos and reading stories and interviews of the women.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

In hearing interview with the women who are served both in the schools and those who are on salary constructing the handicrafts.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the incredible success stories of the Rwandan women from the cooperatives! It is amazing seeing how the women's business skills, and capabilities keep improving as time goes by.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The improvement in the livelihoods of the local women is evident in the revenues they bring home to their families to pay for food, schooling, etc.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The story of Emelienne Nyiramana and her eligibility for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Entrepreneurship Certificate Program, thanks to business training through IAP.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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