Located in a village called Mayange in Rwanda's Eastern Province, Imirasire Coovamaya is comprised of 180 women. Although the relationship is still in its exploratory stages, Imirasire Coovamaya is already playing a central role in Indego Africa's push to design and develop new prototypes and samples for large retailers in the U.S. And in these initial efforts, the cooperative has demonstrated in short order that it could prove a substantial value-add to Indego Africa's production capacity.
Imirasire roughly translates from Kinyarwanda as "sunshine," and the sunny workplace disposition of Imirasire Coovamaya membership definitely lives up to the cooperative's name. Each time Indego Africa staff arrive onsite, we are greeted by a sprawling throng of impeccably cheerful and brightly-outfitted women hard at work beneath a row of eucalyptus trees.
To put into perspective what rockstars the women of Imirasire Coovamaya are, here is a snapshot of just their past two weeks work: 6 prototype requests to make samples for 4 different U.S. retailers, resulting in 326 total units in 23 different styles, and 142 different color-ways.
Two weeks of long work days within their internal system of specialization paid off and the order was completed on time and with uniformly outstanding quality. Packed up in boxes and on its way to the U.S., the women of Imirasire Coovamaya anxiously await news from Indego Africa's sales and marketing team to see just how these newest designs fare!
-Crissy Vicendese, Design and Production Manager
(Photos: members of Imirasire Coovamaya work on product prototypes and samples for upcoming meetings with U.S. retailers)