Dar es Salaam. In celebrating the World Refugee Day on June 20, 2020, Inkomoko Entrepreneurs Development distributed grants to 1000 businesses in refugee camps and surrounding host communities in Rwanda.
Distributed grants is part of $2.3 million from the Mastercard Foundation’s Covid-19 recovery and resilience program to support businesses in the East African country to re-launch after severely being impacted by the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.
The one-time support is being distributed as a direct relief grants to 3,500 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), including 1,000 entrepreneurs in refugee communities, to enable them re-emerge from Covid-19’s economic implications.
A statement by Inkomoko Entrepreneurs Development seen by The Citizen yesterday says the focus of the support is to enable businesses re-start and enable closed businesses to adapt to a new business climate.
“By adapting and increasing support to entrepreneurs, who are more than ever in need of business advisory and financial support, as well as young people, refugees and micro enterprises, we are ensuring that the country’s economic growth is not set back from Covid-19, and that we can be unified by the recovery process,” says Nathalie Niyonzima, Inkomoko managing director in a statement.
She says the new program is part of Inkomoko’s Covid-19 relief efforts to provide recovery support to approximately 9,000 MSMEs across the East African Community member country.
The statement quotes Chantal, a Congolese refugee entrepreneur working in Gihembe Camp where she sells onions, tomatoes, small dried fish, and cassava flour to her 12,000 camp neighbours as among beneficiaries.
As a community food seller, Chantal did not let supply chain interruptions caused by the pandemic to close her business.
“When we couldn’t move out of the camp due to lockdown restrictions, I was unable to buy from my normal suppliers. But, I was able to negotiate with a friend in the host community who brought food to the border of the camp for me to buy wholesale. It was hard, but we did it,” she said.
With the grant, Chantal believes that she will be able to purchase more, previously hard to reach, fresh items, to supplement the food offerings to her community and generate income to support her family of eight.
The grant initiative is aligned with the government of Rwanda’s socio-economic inclusion to refugee and host communities, which envisions better standards of living for refugees and their surrounding community by improving livelihoods and supporting families in their self-reliance journey.
The Rwanda inclusive policies make it possible for refugees to improve their lives through their entrepreneurial spirit.
The Mastercard Foundation Covid-19 recovery and resilience program supports partners like Inkomoko who work in the most vulnerable communities in the continent in the areas of economy and health. We focus on leaving no one behind during the recovery process.