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Rwanda Fellow

Florence Mwashimba

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Florence Mwashimba: Championing small businesses at CHOGM

Rwanda is the venue for this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), a biennual summit that brings together leaders from all commonwealth countries. CHOGM will run from June 20- 25 2022 and will be hosted by His Excellency Paul Kagame, the President of the Republic of Rwanda. The summit provides an opportunity for high level discussions on common values and commitments among commonwealth states, while also creating a platform for external organisations to showcase their businesses and contribute to CHOGM’s shared ambitions.

One such business handpicked to participate is Kigali Farmers and Artisans Market (Kigali Faam), which supports Small and Medium Enterprises in Rwanda by connecting them to markets and providing opportunities for partnerships. Kigali Faam was founded by our Access to Nutritious Food Fellow Florence Mwashimba. In this blog, Florence takes us through what her business will be doing at CHOGM and how she hopes to use the platform to support inclusive growth for SMEs in Rwanda and beyond.

Florence Mwashimba is an Access to Nutritious Food Fellow, entrepreneur and sales and marketing specialist.

What role is Kigali FAAM playing at CHOGM?

We have partnered with two companies, Ikaze PCO and Intore Entertainment, to create a six-day street festival during CHOGM. The festival, which has been listed as an official CHOGM social event, will be held at the newly revamped IMBUGA car-free zone In the Center of Kigali Town.

It will take place from the 20th – 25th June 2022, from 12 pm to 10 pm. There will be a High Commission Square where High Commissions and Embassies will promote their countries, cultures and food, an active kids corner, live entertainment and an opportunity to shop from and support over 80 made in Rwanda and made in Africa businesses.

What do you hope to achieve from your engagement at CHOGM?

We envision new ways for guests to interact with Rwanda, connect with our community and spend money on our products, thus boosting our local economy.

At CHOGM, the mission is clear: transform societies, in accordance with Commonwealth Charter values of democracy, multilateralism, sustainable development, and empowerment of women and youth. We hope to contribute to this mission by driving sustainable and inclusive growth that fuels communities, drives economies and changes lives.

Rwandan made accessories on display at an event in Kigali.

How did you come to be involved in the event?

We proactively reached out to the Rwanda Development Board, and the City of Kigali and submitted our proposal. They went for it.

How do businesses like yours contribute to food systems transformation?

We offer an affordable platform for SMEs and small-scale farmers to directly engage with consumers thus raising awareness of their brands through our monthly farmers and artisans markets and festivals such as the CHGOM street festival. We also help sell their products online; and through our flagship Zero Waste store, PIMA

How is the African Food Fellowship supporting you in your food systems leadership journey?

Other than amplifying our work within the fellowship and business circles, the coaching and training I have received (and still receiving) through the Wageningen University and Research (WUR) and Wasafiri, have been exceptional. The fellowship has helped me review my understanding of what it means to be a good food systems leader. In addition, the lessons I have learnt are easily transferable and help me in shaping thought processes from ideation and policy making to actualisation

What are your big plans for the next 5 years?

Continue creating a positive impact within communities and having a strong presence within the East African Market.