Rwanda: Meeting cooperatives

IN A VALLEY NEAR NDERA, Rwanda – The cooperatives we visited today exemplify the situations we envisioned when creating the Barefoot MBA.

More than three years ago, in the comfort of the Stanford campus, we had visions of meeting with groups so far off the beaten path we had no option but to use nature as furniture and shade.

Today, we twice hiked into the valley to meet cooperatives whose most substantive structure is a rabbit hutch. At the first, we walked through an extensive cabbage farm while Modeste, GHI’s first local employee, talked to cooperative leaders about a succession plan for their recently deceased president. At the second, we sat beneath banana trees as Modeste interviewed members of a cooperative applying to formalize its relationship with GHI. At one point, Modeste asked cooperative members what they wanted to learn. Their first response? Business.

On Thursday we’ll return to the first cooperative, where the field officers we’ve been training at GHI headquarters will practice what they’ve been learning.

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