A day before International Women’s Day, Walmart.com, the world’s largest retailer, announced its new initiative to sell products from small, women-owned businesses from around the world.
More than 200 items from a mix of countries including Cambodia, Haiti and Rwanda will be sold through the “Empowering Women Together” section of Walmart’s website. The items will be part of “Store for Good,” a project Walmart.com is working on for products that do good for other consumers or the environment. The initiative plans to include eco-friendly products and healthier food options in the future.
Each of the businesses participating in Empowering Women Together is fueled by women with inspiring stories.
One example is Joy Ndungutse, an entrepreneur from Rwanda.
“From a humble beginning under a tree in a remote village in Rwanda, my sister and I founded Gahaya Links after the devastating 1994 Rwanda Genocide that left over 1 million dead,” she says. “We organized about 20 women with a vision of empowering them to enhance their weaving skills, to be able to earn an income, and live adequately by community standards. Today we are a growing network of over 4,000 women, the majority of whom are genocide survivors and are organized in cooperatives throughout Rwanda. Through our partnership with Full Circle Exchange and opportunities such as Empowering Women Together, this platform gives hope to many families in Rwanda and we are so grateful.”
“Our goal is to help strengthen women-led development initiatives for marginalized communities in Asia, Africa and the Americas,” said Jennifer Gootman, executive director of not-for-profit, Global Goods Partners. “Women all over the world are overcoming enormous challenges to join together and support each other in small business enterprises to better themselves, their families, and their communities.”
In addition to merchandise from Gahaya Links and Women’s Bean Project, the inaugural Empowering Women Together collection also includes jewelry from Peru, Rwanda, Kenya and the U.S.; home accessories from Rwanda and Haiti; paper mache from Haiti, apparel and accessories from Rwanda; iPad and laptop cases from Cambodia and Nepal; coffee and tea sets sourced globally and made in America; and specialty foods made in America and Canada.
The full collection can be viewed online at Empowering Women Together