Women are selected by their group organization for training in baking, selling, and bakery business management. This training takes a few months and requires the acquisition of bakery supplies such as pots, pans, measuring cups, etc., ingredients, and an oven. The training can then be adapted to “train the trainer” for women to go up into rural villages to train others on making a smaller oven operation to make and sell baked goods in hard-to-reach areas.
A central recipe is a banana nut bread or muffin, or banana-nut-soy muffin.
After training, women of the group are employed to work at the bakery, making the goods. Others are employed to sell the breads, cakes, and muffins in town.
The goal is two-fold: to create a sustainable group income project; and to introduce a delicious, nutritious value-added food to the local economy.
The unique defining product of The Women’s Bakery is a Banana Soy Nut Muffin. A 640 mg muffin provides 4 grams of protein, 124 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and 70 milligrams of potassium.
The Women’s Bakery model expects self-sustainable business performance within 12 months of training.
The Women’s Bakery is a collaboration between cooperative women groups and a training initiative founded by former Peace Corps volunteer Markey Culver. These women groups enlist The Women’s Bakery to provide training in commercial bakery management, baking itself, and general business skills as well. The goal is to become profitable with a group bakery project within 12 months of initial training. The Women’s Bakery is currently working with groups in Rwanda and Tanzania, and has worked with MPA’s grassroots partner BUWEA in Bukoba, Tanzania.
Angelique has struggled to survive and provide for herself each day. She never had the chance to learn to read or gain vocational skills. Her prospects were limited to working on neighbors’ farms or trying to find work in town as a housekeeper. When she joined The Women’s Bakery, she was the first to arrive and the last to leave. She embraced learning about time management, how to measure, knead, and bake. She now describes herself: “I am a baker!” How can we not be inspired?