The Mumosho Women’s Community Cantine is a grassroots business run by local women with financial support from Luminosity and technical support from Ensemble Pour la Difference in partnership with Action for the Welfare of Women and Children in the Kivus (ABFEK). It is an everyday business activity that provides community members with many of the basic products such as corn and wheat flour, sugar, cooking oil and rice.
The Cantine allows community members to easily access products at a fair rate and they no longer have to spend time, money and energy walking 25 kilometres to buy the products in Bukavu. The project started in early May 2014 and the combination of financial support and capacity-building has made the project a successful model of a community based business run by women.
The results so far have been very promising to the point that the project will be sustainable after the loan is refunded. A local community member, a man, told us that ’’we are happy and proud of this program. It is an innovation. We men in the community never expected the women to come up with such a useful and helpful project. What I am mostly happy with is that we regularly have products we never had before unless we went to Bukavu. We are so happy and the prices in the women’s Cantine are very fair - almost the same comparatively to what items cost in Bukavu.’’
The women running the program say that they hope the cantine will expand to become a real Community trading centre. They would like to transform it into a distribution and sale centre for all commodity products needed at a community level. They would also like to make the Cantine a successful grassroots Microfinance Institution through which community members can save and get loans so that they are able to provide for themselves, their families and the community as a whole.
The Mumosho Women’s Community Cantine is responding to real needs expressed within the community. The result is strong community ownership and a program that helps to build the local economy using its own resources with support from Luminosity and Ensemble pour la Difference.