Empowered Entrepreneur Training Program Launches in Rwanda
The panoramic windows lining Inkomoko’s third-floor Kigali office deliver sweeping views of the “country of a thousand hills”. This scenic setting was an inspiring backdrop to the Rwanda Empowered Entrepreneur Trainer Program, a course designed to educate and certify trainers in business, empowerment, and leadership curricula drawn from the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstove’s Empowered Entrepreneur Training Handbook.
Trainers from a number of Rwanda-based companies participated, including: Inyenyeri, a renewable energy company specializing in high-efficiency fuel pellets; Inkomoko, a business development company focused on developing small and medium enterprises; and Resonate, a women’s storytelling-for-leadership program. Whether working with renewable energy sales associates, entrepreneurs of small and medium businesses, or woman-focused leadership groups, all three companies value training as a tool for achieving meaningful social impact.
Over the course of the week, through a series of participatory activities, group work, personal reflection, and human-centered design exercises led by led by Alliance consultant Genevieve Smith, co-author of the Handbook, participants were given space to revisit these concepts from a trainer perspective, as well as from a personal and individual perspective.
One of the training activities deemed most valuable by participants was Understanding & Overcoming Limiting Beliefs. In this exercise, participants asked themselves what their greatest challenges or self-doubts were, and later broke into small groups to coach each other in understanding why they held these limiting beliefs, and worked towards reframing them into constructive actions.
Sabrina, an employee of Inkomoko, said she surprised herself during this exercise by clarifying her own aspirations: “I thought the workshop was just going to be about being a trainer, but it was much more introspective than that. During the empowerment section, something about saying my limiting belief out loud helped me figure out what I want to strive for in my own career”
This notion of spending time on personal growth as a tool for coaching others is fundamental to the Empowered Entrepreneur Training Handbook’s approach, and was complimented by a storytelling workshop led Thursday evening by partner Resonate. The workshop introduced personal storytelling as a tool for leadership with an emphasis on connecting with others through shared values. Over the week, as trainers shared their own challenges and goals, this network of shared connections grew.
While the in-person portion of the training ended Friday, the network of trainers and colleagues established persists, and serves as a support system for next steps. Trainers and facilitators established a Whatsapp group to help facilitate ongoing support and collaboration as trainers begin to roll out the training in their respective work places, be it in a refugee camp, urban city center, or rural community. Several trainers also expressed enthusiasm about bringing their favorite empowerment and leadership exercises to their own families and communities, embracing the adaptable nature and widespread value of the training.