Rwanda Rambagirakawa

Gakenke District

Northern Rwanda


Between 1.600-1.800 M.A.S.L







 Certifications: Fair-trade 


Rambagira Kawa Cooperative

In the hills of the Gakenke district in Northern Province, Rwanda, there bloomed a special group of women who dared to break barriers and forge their own path in the world of coffee. It all started back in 2012 when the all-female Rambagira group was born, with the unwavering support of the larger Dukunde Kawa cooperative.

Rambagirakawa, they named themselves, which meant "professional women owning and growing coffee trees." These weren't just any women; they were pioneers, trailblazers of their time. Currently, 70 strong, these women were on a mission to redefine what it meant to be coffee producers in Rwanda.

The story of Rambagira Kawa Cooperative began within Dukunde Kawa itself. It was a smaller group within the cooperative, formed by these visionary women who wanted to pool their resources and support one another. Many of them had been widowed by the tragic events of the 1994 Genocide, left to fend for themselves in a world that seemed unforgiving. But they found strength in each other, relying on their shared wisdom for farming and financial advice.

As they tended to their coffee trees, they nurtured more than just plants; they nurtured dreams and aspirations. Each woman brought her own unique story to the table, yet together, they formed a tapestry of resilience and determination.

Dukunde Kawa

‘Dukunde Kawa’ means ‘love coffee’ in Kinyarwanda (Rwanda’s official language) The cooperative has a rich history of investing in women's development as a means to alleviate poverty in the coffee community.

They started in 2000 and built their first washing station, Ruli, three years later with help from the Rwandan government. Supported by the USAID-funded PEARL program, they aimed to improve the quality of Rwandan coffee.

But Dukunde Kawa isn't just about coffee; it's about people. They run training programs for farmers and have special initiatives for women, like the Rambagirakawa group. This group has its own building for support and resources.

They also make sure their coffee is top-notch with a high-tech cupping lab and new processing equipment. Through their commitment to quality and community, Dukunde Kawa brings prosperity to the coffee community and beyond in Rwanda.

The Journey

Discover, Connect, Enjoy
Empowering Women: The Community Room

In 2019, Dukunde Kawa opened a community room for the female members of their cooperative. By 2022, the group had grown to 303 members. This project Dukunde Kawa aimed to provide a space for the women to create handicrafts and support each other, especially since many had been affected by the genocide.
Over 200 women currently use the space and find it invaluable. According to Odette Murekate, the group leader, they share knowledge and support each other, strengthening their solidarity. The venture has been a success, with the group using extra income in 2021 to buy a new property with 1,000 coffee trees, yielding around 3,000 extra kilos of coffee cherries!

Gender Equity Projects
  • Off-season income generation: the women of Rambagira gather at their cooperative to weave baskets. This tradition not only helps fight unemployment but also preserves their cultural heritage. Their Agaseke baskets are renowned for their quality and are often given as traditional gifts during marriage ceremonies. As they weave, the women enjoy each other's company and support, creating beautiful heritage baskets to sell to visitors.
  • Days for Girls project: this initiative aims to provide feminine hygiene supplies to school-age girls and other members of the community who lack access to such essentials. With the help of a generous donor, they've already sewn 800 kits containing eight liners, two panties, soap, a washcloth, and a calendar to track menstrual cycles. Each kit comes in an attractive drawstring bag, ensuring dignity and comfort for those who receive them.

Dukunde Kawa's Innovative Approach

The cooperative, Dukunde Kawa, has taken various initiatives to boost the income of its members and their families. In 2016, they constructed a dairy refrigeration facility to generate off-season income by selling dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk.
This not only benefits the members but also the community, as these products contribute to improved nutrition and health. Additionally, cow manure from the dairy operation serves as valuable fertilizer for coffee trees.

In 2015, the cooperative built a dry mill at the Ruli washing station, a facility typically found only in urban centers like Kigali, Rwanda's capital. This investment is significant because it eliminates the need to transport coffee to Kigali for export preparation. Moreover, it grants the cooperative greater control over milling and coffee preparation, allowing for micro-lot separation and experimentation.

The facility received an upgrade in 2022, with the addition of a hulling and polishing machine that quadrupled its previous output. This improvement streamlines Dukunde Kawa's operations, marking another milestone in their commitment to innovation and efficiency.

Empowering Women: The Community Room
Gender Equity Projects
Dukunde Kawa's Innovative Approach

From Their Hands To Yours

Meet the team behind your cup
Odette Murekatete, Leader of Rambagira Kawa Cooperative
Manager Michel Dusengimana (left) and Director Ernest Nshimyimana (right)
Ruth Ann Church the founder of Artisan Coffee Imports