Rebuild Women's Hope

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“Building women’s hope is building the hope of the nation”

- Marceline Budza

Idjwi Island, located on Lake Kivu in Eastern DRC, has no running water, no electricity, no roads and a population of 250,000 people.

Approx. 16% of people on Idjwi Island grow coffee in an effort to make a living. Conditions are perfect for growing high-quality Arabica coffee yet many farmers risk their lives trying to sell their coffee. Crossing to Rwanda by handmade wooden boats, many farmers die each year drowning in Lake Kivu.

Life on the island is not easy, especially if you are a woman. DRC, in general, is considered to be the most dangerous and least empowered place in the world to be a woman, with an enduring history of physical and sexual violence. Coupled with this endemic attitude, the fact that 1 in 10 women in Idjwi Island suffers serious (often fatal) complications during childbirth and the serious challenges facing women in daily life are undeniable.

Step in Marcelline Budza and Rebuild Women's Hope (RWH) Coffee Cooperative.

Marcelline (30) grew up in Bukavu and had the good fortune to get herself an education. Upon graduating Marcelline desperately wanted to create similar opportunities for women in the DRC to truly empower them to build better lives for themselves, their families and communities.

Founding RWH in 2015 Marcelline, along with her husband Bertain Bahizire, have battled not only the practical challenges of building a business on such a remote island but also the prejudices of wider DRC towards women. In 2017/18 all coffee grown and due for export by RWH was locked down in Goma, almost driving the cooperative out of business.

With the future of the cooperative in doubt, Mozzo purchased 260 x 60kg sacks of coffee and effectively secured the short term future of RWH. We will be using the coffee in 2020 throughout our Label collection of coffees as well as in our single-origin series.

Travelling to Idjwi Island in October 2019, Mozzo’s Founder Grant Lang along with Richard Hide, Marcelline and Bertain laid out a plan to build the cooperative from currently producing 48 tonnes of coffee to 153.6 tonnes by 2024.

However coffee alone will not solve all the challenges and needs of the island…

They desperately need a maternity clinic.

RWH has already identified the land for the clinic, key costs are the building at $12,000; equipment at $20,000 and annual operational costs at around $18,000.

Through the C2C Fund™, Mozzo will be funding the build of the clinic in late 2019 and throughout 2020. However, more resource is urgently needed in order to equip the clinic and make it operational once built…so we are truly challenging ourselves at Mozzo and aim to raise £100k through our Run For Hope event in October. – find out more.