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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Indego Africa

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Nonprofit Overview

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

Mission: Since 2007, Indego Africa has been propelling the creation, growth, and sustainability of women-owned businesses in Africa by celebrating traditional craft and investing in artisan education. Today Indego partners with more than 1,200 artisan women in Rwanda and Ghana to create a range of products that are handcrafted using local materials and time-honored techniques and sold to customers around the world. By offering Rwandan, Ghanaian, and refugee women opportunities to learn essential skills, earn dependable income, and save money for the future, Indego is building a new artisan economy that preserves important cultural traditions, advances women’s independence, and promotes international market access.

Target demographics: artisan women

Geographic areas served: Rwanda & Ghana

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is thrilled to have Indego Africa as a key partner of MADE51. Not only does Indego have a clear social mission to create safe and dignified work opportunities for women, including refugees, but they also make products that are desirable and look beautiful in any home. Seeing first-hand how refugee women at the Mahama Refugee Camp in Rwanda have developed into strong leaders and role models underscores the importance of having a valuable partner like Indego. Designing a product that can be crafted in a remote refugee camp and delivered to a happy customer in another part of the world is no easy task, but Indego does it with poise and professionalism.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a Board Member over the past five years, I can attest to the powerful impact Indego Africa has had on the lives of women artisans and their families in Rwanda and Ghana. From Indego’s creative training programs and on-going organizational support, these women entrepreneurs are able to make unique home decor and fashion items which are sold at fair trade prices in the US, Europe, and Japan. As a consequence, the artisans earn higher incomes in support of their families and their communities in which they live.

Donor

Rating: 5

My daughter Ann, compassionate and always interested in helping women help themselves, met one of the founders of Indego Africa. After learning what they do, she offered to start the regional board in San Francisco. It is through her that we found out about this wonderful organization and started the Ann B. Zeis Scholarship Fund for the Leadership Academy in her honor. We were lucky enough to travel to Rwanda this past summer to see school in session and observe the wonderful educators share their knowledge with passionate students actively participating and learning the skills they need to be successful entrepreneurs. We traveled to a few of the cooperatives started by students after training and saw the women in action. A social impact survey was being conducted at the time and I was allowed to sit in on a couple of the interviews. Listening to the women talk about how their lives improved as a result of their experiences with Indego Africa gave me insight into how effective the program is. The entire team at Indego Africa works very hard to empower and teach these women with so many talents. What could be better.

Matt M.6

Board Member

Rating: 5

Indego Africa is an organization that I have actively and passionately supported for more than 10 years. It has gone from strength to strength in every way that matters to me as a substantial donor and volunteer - from smart strategy and depth of impact to operational excellence and financial efficiency. I read the annual social impact report in amazement at how much the lives of artisans supported by Indego Africa have improved. Their recent work with refugee women is truly exceptional given the difficult environment and yet quick and substantial results. I'll continue to be an advocate for Indego Africa - in addition to a buyer of its beautiful products!

Advisor

Rating: 5

Indego Africa is a pioneering social enterprise that has disrupted the conversation about community and international development and ethical fashion. It's 360 approach -- providing thousands of female artisan entrepreneurs in Rwanda and Ghana with access to not only global markets, but also business education -- means that these women are engaging the world on their own terms. It has been an honor and privilege to help Indego in any way I can over the years. And Indego's CEO, Karen Yelick, is incredible.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came across Indego Africa as a consumer. As a buyer for a major retailer I’m always looking for beautifully crafted goods with authentic origins. I was quickly captivated that they are a non-profit with a completely transparent organization. I read their yearly impact report and knew I had to get involved. Helping women become financially independent through their incredible craft is a mission I wanted to support. I’m now on their regional board in SF and love getting a front row see to their operation.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I learned about Indego Africa from a wonderful woman and immediately was interested in its mission and programs to empower women. I spent two years as the Chair of a volunteer board for Indego Africa in San Francisco, and I’m proud to have led this small chapter. We held fundraising events, pop up shops, and social happy hours to spread awareness and raise support for Indego Africa. It was a great experience. The beautiful products bring to life the story of the women behind them.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Indego Africa achieves more impact with less than any other organization, for- or non-profit, than any organization I've experienced. Over a decade, Indego Africa has helped entrepreneurs from the most vulnerable communities in Ghana and Rwanda lift themselves and their families out of poverty. More recently, these communities have expanded to include refugees and local youth. I could not be more impressed with the commitment, efficiency, and transparency with which Indego Africa carries out its remarkable mission.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Incredibly transparent, lean, intelligent organization. Truly doing impactful work in thoughtful and informed ways.

Pam F.4

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the NYC Indego Africa board to empower artisan women across Rwanda and Ghana. I have traveled all over the world and seen such heartache and poverty. It is great to be a part of a community where women support women! These talented women create hand made masterpieces and it’s good to know when you purchase any Indego Africa product the money is going to a wonderful cause. We plan fundraisers throughout the year to educate others to help contribute to the cause.

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.

12

Donor

Rating: 5

Indego Africa has an especially devoted leadership team that has inspired countless people to provide their time, effort, and financial support. It would be difficult to find a better organized, more transparent, and driven charity.

10

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Indego Africa since the Fall of 2009. I went to their big fundraising event and was impressed with their mission and their passion for helping women in Rwanda. When I inquired as to how to become involved, I was met with great enthusiasm from the DC Board and was encouraged to join them. Since then, I have been actively involved with Indego Africa. I am constantly inspired by Indego Africa's commitment to advancing the lives of women in Rwanda and I can see the hard work they put in to raising money for the cause and for spreading the word of Indego. Their approach to non-profit work through their Social Enterprising campaign is not only forward thinking, but extremely effective. Indego Africa's mission is to empower women in Rwanda, but it has also helped people like me to feel empowered in my own life by making a difference in the lives of others.

13 raymond3

Donor

Rating: 5

Indego Africa uses a transparent business model to help Rwandan genocide victims learn computer, business skills and literacy to help them become successful and pull themselves out of poverty. It works to empower these women to be self sufficient and to be able to use transferaable skills. IA helps market their products and return 100% of the profits back to the woman.

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.

10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to meet the founders of this organization, as well as some of the Rwandan women involved in the collaborative. The products being created are very well made and the organization makes certain that they maximize the money returned to these brave women.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

The men and women who run Indego Africa are doing something very important, and the individuals behind the organization care deeply about their cause. The word, "charity," doesn't really apply here, as they are simply helping empower women to help themselves.

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.