June 26

Learning the art of pounding and grinding sorghum

Food and beverages have sparked our celebrations for centuries, thanks to sorghum — the crop from which both are processed. Historically, sorghum is credited for making every Umuganura festival memorable.   While visiting Ndego Sector in Kayonza District, I rolled up my sleeves and learned how to harvest sorghum. Tracing the genesis of the main […]

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May 7

Preserving Culture Through Imigongo Art

While visiting the Urugo Women’s Opportunity Center, I rolled up my sleeves and tried my hand at painting. Painting is an integral part of visual arts. Through this creative vocation, artists express their ideas and emotions. They tell their stories in a two-dimensional visual language. Their artworks come in all shapes, sizes, colors and texture. […]

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April 7

Dusingizimana Marie Jeanne reflects on her journey

Dusingizimana Marie Jeanne lost her parents during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Becoming an orphan at a tender age of seven was seemingly unbearable but being strong was the only choice she was left with.   With support from FARG (French acronym for Genocide Survivors Assistance Fund), Marie Jeanne focused on her studies despite […]

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March 25

This kitenge cap comes with a detachable face mask

This creatively designed cap attracted my attention the moment I entered the gift shop at the center. The said shop is set up next to Urugo Roadside Cafe, my regular stopover en route to Akagera National Park.   Kitenge is an African fabric that stimulates creativity. It can be converted into a shirt, wallet, laptop […]

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March 17

Another Day at the Office

It’s a beautiful sunny day here in Kayonza. I am excited about the new excursions lined up on my schedule. For Nayigiki Marceline, a resident of Kabarondo Sector, it’s just another day at the office.   While in the lab doing work, she can’t stop singing. Singing boosts her morale and uplifts her spirit. She […]

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February 24

Urugo Roadside Café: Ideal for Akagera-bound tourists

The aroma of fresh coffee is irresistible to many. There is a huge difference between the fresh, locally grown coffee and those stale products occupying space on the shelves of supermarkets the world over — inorganic lifeless concoctions that are consumed one year after being processed.   Rwanda is a specialty coffee producer. Most beans […]

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February 10

Urugo Ikivuguto is packaged in different sizes

Ikivuguto is a popular fermented milk product in Rwanda. Communities across the country have been producing ikivuguto for centuries. Elsewhere in the world, there is evidence that production of fermented milk products dates back to 10,000 B.C. There are different types of cultured milk products in the market today. These include butter, cheese, yogurt, ice […]

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February 3

On our way to Akagera, we had breakfast at Urugo Restaurant

I visited Akagera National Park with a small group of fellow adventurers. We left Kigali at 5 in the morning and had breakfast at the Urugo Women’s Opportunity Center in Kayonza District. Having placed our orders the day before, Urugo Restaurant served us breakfast early and packed our takeaway lunch.   Usually, there are animals […]

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January 29

Urugo’s food production unit is empowering women while supporting farmers and entrepreneurs

Urugo yogurt is produced at the Urugo Women’s Opportunity Center in Kayonza. It is distributed in hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and other outlets in the Eastern Province and Kigali. At the center, visitors can learn how the food production unit is empowering women while supporting farmers and entrepreneurs in Kayonza area and beyond.   Over the […]

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January 22

There is a story behind every decorative piece of art

Art fosters creativity, creates jobs and preserves our rich cultural heritage. When you come across a painting, look at the combination of color and texture. Observe the juxtaposition of objects. Muse over shadows, shapes and dimensions. Pay attention to every little detail and you will ultimately get into the creative minds of artists.   There […]

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January 21

As COVID- 19 rages, let’s turn to locally made products and help our entrepreneurs weather the storm

As I travel around the country, I usually pack a tablet, detachable keyboard, router, camera, external hard drive, chargers and a myriad of gadgets. In addition to the devices and accessories I can’t do without, I obviously pack clothes, face masks, hand sanitizers and other hygiene products. Packing is an art every traveler needs to […]

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January 7

Sewing face masks for the benefit of the community

  The whirring sound of sewing machines is breathing life into the facility that hasn’t seen much activities since the outbreak of COVID- 19. There are familiar faces in the sewing center — young women I have known since November 2019. I am glad to see them busy again. They have teamed up with many […]

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December 29

Churning milk was a common household chore in traditional Rwandan societies

While visiting the Urugo Women’s Opportunity Center, my hosts taught me how to churn milk. Churning milk was a common household chore in traditional Rwandan societies. Through churning, cooking oil is extracted from fermented milk, popularly known as ikivuguto.   A long time ago, ikivuguto oil was also a common skincare product. Butter is still […]

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December 16

Cultural experiences form an intriguing product in the tourism industry

While carrying out their regular household chores, our grandmothers demonstrated impressive practical skills. Traditionally, the skills development aspect was part of our informal education but somewhere down the line, we failed to capitalize on the foundation of vocational training built by the past generations.   Globally, Africa is the leading source of raw materials but […]

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December 9

Championing the Evolution of Home-made Soccer Balls

Rural Africa has never experienced shortage of soccer balls but Muteteri Grace, an artisan plying her craft at the Urugo Women’s Opportunity Center, saw the need to improve the quality of those balls. She came up with an advanced version of balls which are lighter and bouncier. Their spherical shapes, weight and material composition form […]

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November 19

What Men Can Do, Women Can Do Better

Urugo Women’s Opportunity Center was designed by a woman namely Sharon Davis, CEO and founder of Sharon Davis Design. Sharon is an architect who measures the success of her projects by their impact on social transformation, economic empowerment, and environmental compliance.   Her outstanding work has created a huge impact in Rwanda, Nepal, Kosovo, and […]

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November 11

The Day I Will Dance Again

Traditional dance forms an integral part of the Rwandan culture. Dance is a key ingredient of ceremonies, festivals, social gatherings and storytelling. From weddings and thanksgivings to state functions and church services, there is always room for dancers.   When Cyomugisha Odile, a resident of Nyamirama Sector, Kayonza District saw an opportunity to turn her […]

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November 7

Kitchen gardens are proving to be more useful during the pandemic

Nyiransabimana Immaculee, a resident of Mukarange Sector in Kayonza District, helps women to turn their backyards into kitchen gardens. She has trained 760 women since 2008. Having a kitchen garden, popularly known as akarima k’igikoni, is in line with the Rwandan government’s campaign designed to fight malnutrition.   After completing her own training programs in […]

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October 29

Ikivuguto: Nourishing Communities for Centuries

Ikivuguto (fermented milk) is a popular dairy product in Rwanda. This iconic beverage has been nourishing communities for centuries.   Traditionally, cows are prized possessions symbolizing wealth. In today’s cash-driven economy, cattle ownership continues to upgrade standards of living. Beef and dairy products are common consumables. Horns, hoofs and hides are highly demanded products in […]

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October 22

Agaseke: Symbol of Peace and Love

A traditional Rwandan basket known as agaseke symbolizes peace and love. It is also an important weapon against poverty, particularly among women living in rural areas. However, weaving baskets goes beyond putting food on the table and sending kids to school.   The art of weaving baskets brings together Rwandans from three formerly divided ethnic […]

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October 21

Charity Begins At Home

The guidelines put in place to slow down the spread of the coronavirus include the mandatory use of facemasks. As a result, the mouth and nose covering accessories have become highly demanded products.   Chances are, you can buy cartons of disposable surgical, KF94 and N95 masks every day without feeling the pinch but the […]

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August 3

At Urugo Eco Lodge, Luxury Meets Simplicity

Deluxe camping has become a popular phrase in the travel industry lately. Also known as glamorous camping, or simply glamping, this trend fuses luxury and simplicity. It is a solution to travelers who need to experience camping without compromising the comfort of their own bedrooms.   In Rwanda, this upscale dimension of camping is offered […]

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