Bread Power with The Women’s Bakery: For Women, For Families, For Communities.

In places where nutrition, education & jobs are scarce, TWB trains women to start businesses that nourish communities & support families.

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

The Women's Bakery

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $250k - $500k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 50 - 100

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • Rwanda

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

Bakeries: Rwanda: 1. Kigali (Urban), 2. Ndera (Peri-Urban), 3. Bumba (Rural), 4. Kagina (Peri-Urban) Tanzania: 5. Bukoba (Urban), 6. Kemondo (Rural)


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Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

80% of Rwanda is agrarian & much of this population (73%) lives in poverty. 1 in 4 women is unemployed. 40% of rural Rwandan children suffer from chronic malnutrition. When women are educated & earn an income, economies grow faster. TWB seeks to ready women, most undereducated, underemployed, for non­farming jobs by equipping them w skills to profitably manage nutrition­centric bakeries. The average TWB woman is 31 & has 6 years of formal education. 81% are rural & the avg. reported pre­training income was $13/mo.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

TWB’s Bakery in a Box (BIB) model is a comprehensive training & business creation program. Our training provides 150+ hours of theoretical & practical education where women learn to source local, nutritious ingredients to produce & sell nutritious, affordable breads in their communities ­ meeting local demand w local supply. Trainings are delivered in the local language & bakery infrastructure is built during training to provide immediate employment opportunities post­training. In 2 years, we have launched 6 bakeries & created jobs for 32 Rwandans, 90% women. Each bakery employee has (at least) doubled her pre­bakery income. Our bakeries sell 5K pieces of bread/week. Bakeries sell in single servings at extremely affordable prices. 1 piece of bread has 5g of protein – 21% of a 40lb child’s daily need. Hundreds of communities now have access these affordable, nutritious breads. Bakeries themselves are not innovative, but our process is: BIB is self­contained, transferable & scalable.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

TWB has graduated 80 women, launched 6 bakeries in 2 countries and directly benefitted 375 family members. 1 bakery creates 6-12 jobs and women at least double their pre-training incomes. Pre-training, 78.6% of women reported living on less than $100 annually. Women employed at TWB bakeries can earn at least $400 annually. With increased income, women can (and are twice as likely than men to) invest in her family’s education, health insurance & improved nutrition. At our flagship bakery in Kigali, 9 women work 6 days per week, producing 600+ pieces of bread per day, reaching an immediate market of 1,000+ people. These 8 women have now quadrupled their pre-training incomes, hold family health insurance plans, & are contracted as visiting trainers at our new bakery training.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

In addition to our Rwanda-based training fee revenue (~$5,000 per bakery), TWB is subsidized by the nonprofit arm of the social enterprise. The US-based 501(c)(3) provides quarterly investments. In 2016, ~$42,000 was injected into the for profit Rwanda-based company. 90% of these funds come from donors & funders committed to our social enterprise hybrid model. We do have aspirations to incorporate impact investments at a later stage when we can more accurately predict the profitability horizons & ROI timeframes for each individual bakery. When ready, we will select a small number of impact investors, provide investor education to ensure understanding/buy­in of our mission/vision, & create realistic milestones for business growth & ROI.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

TWB’s BIB model is a comprehensive training & business creation program. It is a women-centric, three-phased vocational program that begins with basic pedagogy, hones business acumen, & culminates w bakery operations. It equips undereducated women with skills to manage bakeries in their communities. TWB’s model is globally relevant: access to vocational training & sustainable, gainful employment for women. Bakeries alone may not be innovative, but our process is.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

A simple loaf of bread has the power to create jobs, improve nutrition, and support local economies. In Peace Corps Rwanda 2010-2012 we (Culver & Greene) saw that communities lacked economic opportunities for women, access to nutritious foods, & bread. All were in demand. When women asked to learn to make bread, we said “Yes!” When women began selling the bread we saw that it could feed families & combat malnutrition, and also generate income & jobs. In 2013 Culver launched the Rwanda Women’s Bakery. Following the pilot, the opportunity to train more women & build more bakeries was clear. We began co-building a business model that generates positive change through local enterprise, focused on nutrition, education, & women’s empowerment.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others


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