Women in RCI’s Rwanda Program Secure Largest Commercial Deal Yet with The Marriott Hotel

Bloomberg Philanthropies press release, October 6, 2016:

Women in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Economic Development program secured a major deal for the women participating in the business training program with the Marriott International’s first hotel in Rwanda. This signals that the women who have been provided business training through Bloomberg Philanthropies have now entered into Rwanda’s growing hospitality, crafts, and agriculture industry on a larger scale.

The graduates of the training program through the non-profit, Bloomberg Philanthropies supported Relationship Coffee Institute are providing the Marriott with locally grown coffee from their own coffee cooperatives, serving their own brand of coffee at the Q Cafe within the hotels, and working as staff at the hotel providing guest services. Crafts from Bloomberg Philanthropies supported artisans have been prominently placed throughout the hotel for a truly local Rwandan experience for the global hotel.

On Tuesday, October 4th, Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson, political dignitaries including Rwanda Prime Minister Murekezi and Bloomberg Philanthropies Director of the Women’s Economic Development initiative in Africa, Verna Eggelston attended Kigali Marriott Hotel’s opening ceremony. The 254-room Kigali Marriott will be among Rwanda’s biggest and most luxurious properties, which will further enhance Kigali’s reputation as a hub for conferences and conventions.

“The opening of this Marriott Hotel is providing long anticipated market activity for Rwandan women. Their café in the hotel will provide the global business community with a perfect example of how business, philanthropy and government can work together to improve people’s lives,” said Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The Rwandan government is focused on building core businesses including agriculture and tourism, which generated 7.1% of the country’s GDP in 2015 and predicts it to rise at 4.1% per year through 2025, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. After seeing women enrolled in the program present at a major coffee conference, Let’s Talk Coffee, asked the Relationship Coffee Institute to implement its training to all 400,000 Rwandan coffee farmers in efforts to bolster economic growth.

Through partnerships with Women for Women International, the Relationship Coffee Institute and Sustainable Harvest, Bloomberg Philanthropies is supporting women in Sub-Saharan Africa with innovative workforce training to gain new job skills, basic business training, life skills and support networks in these sectors providing participants with the tools and resources to sustain an income, learn the importance of saving, and small business management.

Across all its efforts, Bloomberg Philanthropies works closely with partner organizations and governments in countries where the foundation gives. Its focus on reforming and effectively implementing strong policies ensures that Bloomberg Philanthropies’ efforts will be sustainable and continue to help save and improve lives beyond its support.

About Relationship Coffee Institute
The Relationship Coffee Institute (RCI) is a non-profit public benefit corporation that aims to increase social and economic opportunity for smallholder commodity farmers and their families. RCI joined Bloomberg Philanthropies to bring the innovative Relationship Model to Rwanda. Developed by RCI’s sister organization, Sustainable Harvest® Coffee Importers, this unique model disrupts opaque, commodity-driven systems to increase value throughout the supply chain, fosters greater sustainability, and has a proven track record of demonstrated success with smallholder coffee farmers in Latin America and East Africa.

Media Contact
Chris Ryan
(503) 317-3551
chris@sustainableharvest.com