Rwandan homes may have new choices of household items that will be locally manufactured but with qualities similar or better than those traditionally imported from Asia and Europe.
A Rwandan cooperative COPOMONYA has begun producing ornamental pottery and is aspiring to promote local products thus reducing on importation of the same which are very expensive but also benefit foreign traders.
Based in Nyamasheke District of the Western Province with 12 members, COPOMONYA started in 2010.
They started by making cooking pots made of clay but they later diversified into other products according to Fabien Nduwamungu, a member of the cooperative.
Speaking to Taarifa at the two day NGOs Expo held at Kigali Exhibition and Conference Centre, Nduwamungu, a member of COPOMANYA, said the cooperative decided to change its arts in 2015 and it is now benefiting more.
“We used to make cooking pots and simple vases using the normal clay but in 2015, we changed. We started making plates, cups, jugs, tiles in the clay as the basic raw material mixed with other soil and it started improving our livelihoods,” he says, adding that the lives of the cooperative members changed significantly.
“I for instance, can pay for my five children’s school fees through the money I get from the activities of the cooperative. I pay tuition worth Rwf 80,000 per term for those who study in boarding secondary schools,” he says.
COPOMANYA uses a machine purchased at a cost of Rwf 1,500,000 to process clay products. The machine helps the cooperative use less wood and uses waste grasses to burn the finished products.
Nduwamungu says that their cooperative aims to purchase other machines that are more modern to help them ‘compete with products from Japan and China’.
“We dream to see products made in Rwanda more valued, than those imported and expensive,” he reveals.
The two days Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Expo started on March 1st and will conclude today. The Expo has attracted 75 NGOs, both national and international according to Ignatius Kabagambe, the Director of APEX Media and Promotions, a company that sponsored the expo.
Kabagambe says that “this expo is to get the NGOs meet and know each other, meet beneficiaries, partners, and sponsors, advise each other and get a network that will enable them to get more power to develop the Rwandan community.”
Justus Kangwagye, the Head of Political Parties and Civil Society Department at Rwanda Governance Board said that through the journey to transform the nation after the Genocide against Tutsi in 1994, “the NGOs have played the big role until today.”