Monthly Archives: June 2013

Hibernian Football Club Edinburgh supports Association-of-Kigali-Women-in-sports-Rwanda (AKWOS)

In 2009 Hibernian Football Club, Edinburgh gifted football strips for Rwanda

John Huges 2009 handing over a gift of strips for  AKWOS in Rwanda

John Huges 2009 handing over a gift of strips for AKWOS in Rwanda

The strips were taken there as part of the inaugural North Berwick Youth trip in 2009 lead by Allan Walker founder of Build Rwanda

AKWOS proudly receiving the strips

AKWOS proudly receiving the strips

The founder of AKWOS (Association-of-Kigali-women-in-sports-Rwanda) , Felicite Rwemalika, saw football as a powerful instrument to re-engage girls and women and empower them. Since 2001 she has successfully introduced football in all provinces of Rwanda. Playing football on a team with a mix of Hutu and Tutsi, these women learn to depend on each other to win and to find reconciliation in the camaraderie. AKWOS also focuses on reproductive health, economic empowerment, promotion of women’s rights, and addressing and overcoming the trauma of gender-based violence.

Alligator Pepper

I am quite often asked what some of the ingredients are in our range of Bims Kitchen sauces and one that often arises is “What is an Alligator Pepper”?

So after a bit of research here is one of the best answers.

Not a very common spice, and a member of the ginger family, alligator pepper, with the scientific name Afromomium meleguata is also known as grains of paradise, hepper pepper or mbongo spice. It is a North African spice and is used in Africa not only in food preparation but also in cultural practices, as medicine and as an accompaniment to kola nut. But guess what, grains of paradise is a little different from it, they are so closely related that it is also called the same name, the difference with the two is that grains of paradise is sold as only seeds while alligator pepper is sold as an entire pod which contains the seed, apart from that the taste and characteristics are but the same.

As the name suggest, the fruit and the seeds have a texture and appearance like that of an alligators back. It has a hot spicy taste and aroma which is popularly used in West African soups and stews. A very expensive spice and should be used sparingly because of its strong flavour, it is a popular ingredient in the famous pepper pot soup which is a speciality and great delight in West Africa. Your grains of paradise can also be used to flavour vegetables and is a great accompaniment to pumpkins, okras and potatoes.And listen this, when a baby is born in Africa, more specifically the Yoruba culture, a small amount of the pepper is given to them to taste, this is done minutes after they are born. It is said to be a welcoming process for the baby. It is also used as a traditional wedding gift in the same Yoruba culture where it is a very important spice.

Alligator Pepepr

Alligator Pepper

 

 

What is Fair Trade

We here at Build Rwanda have been selling toys supplied to us by Best Years. We have recently learned that they have been granted BAFTS status I have pleasure in presenting their story here.

We are very pleased to tell you that Best Years has now been accepted by BAFTS (British Association of Fair Trade Shops).

One of the many reasons why we applied is that we were becoming increasingly concerned about the amount of companies who were passing their products off as ethical.

Rather than try to make our claims louder or larger thought that customer recommendations and 3rd party validation would lend more authority to our ethical claims than a smart logo or hang tag. BAFTS was the obvious choice as they have an active and aware membership and a rigorous selection process.

The process to join BAFTS includes your application being reviewed by all BAFTS retailers which is a bit scary but does mean that only those wholesalers who are really ethical are accepted.

We also liked their definition of fair trade

“All involved in Fair Trade accept that it has to include: paying fair prices to producers which reflect the true cost of production, supporting producer organisations in their social and environmental projects, promoting gender equality in pay and working conditions, advising on product development to increase access to markets, committing to long term relationships to provide stability and security and campaigning to highlight the unequal system of world trade which places profit above human rights and threatens our environment.”

One of the key points to us is forging of long term relationships so that success and hard times are shared equally. No one should be bullied either by a retailer or a manufacturer as the consequences are well beyond any profit which can be gained. I am sure that the supermarket/retail buyer asking for an additional 10% off the price of their already cheap clothes did not suspect that they would be one of the threads leading to the loss of over 1000 lives in the collapse of a Bangladesh garment factory.

Unfortunately the recession has meant many suppliers  to large retailers being asked for additional discounts without any thought of where this money was going to come from. Quick note to new retail buyers. There isn’t a secret pot of money being hidden from you.

Extra discounts get passed down the line to the person who can least afford to walk away .  

We have always believed that fair trade extends from our suppliers, to us, to our retailers and ultimately to our customers. Everyone has the right to be treated fairly in trade whether that is the customer getting a great toy at a fair price or the retailer who can make a fair profit on our wholesale toys and clothes.

This doesn’t mean that everyone always gets on. There are bound to be times when relationships are tested, in the same way that marriages and friendships are not always smooth. But where there is mutual respect and comman goals disputes are much more easily resolved.

So we believe that fair trade means exactly that. Every one working together in a trade has the right to be treated fairly, and paid fairly.

It is with pride that we are supplied by Best Years and appreciate the work and research they complete prior to accepting just any old toys. Please visit our store to see the range of gifts for all  children from birth.

We are not only helping to support our work in Rwanda through the sale of these toys but helping to improve the work of the projects in other countries.