Former ECSF Completes Davis Project for Peace

 Margot Moinester (center), with women at a sewing cooperative in Rwanda

September 11, 2008

Margot Moinester '09, a 2007 Ethics Center Student Fellow, has completed a Davis Project for Peace called "INEZA, Creating Economic Sustainability for Women in Rwanda." For the project, she worked with women living with HIV/AIDS on a sewing cooperative in Kigali, Rwanda, called WE-ACTX INEZA, which produces bags and personal accessories from African fabrics. 

"Over the course of the summer, through artistic and capacity building initiatives as well as resource development, our project aimed to facilitate INEZA in their efforts to actualize their expressed goal of transitioning into an independent and sustainable sewing cooperative that is organized by women, for women battling HIV/AIDS," Moinester wrote.  

Along with Susan Younger, a textile artist and student at the Memphis College of Art, Moinester organized training sessions and developed infrastructure in order to streamline production, reduce costs, and prepare for future growth. Initiatives included building a covered patio to expand the work area, purchasing sewing equipment and reading glasses to help address problems with quality, and providing the women with a more comfortable working environment. Moinester reports that US sales are growing and the new line produced over the summer received a sellout response at the New York Gift Show.

"Though the full impact of this project cannot be realized for a few years to come, it is our hope that the work done over the summer has helped INEZA to take a large step towards financial independence," she wrote.    

Her project was inspired by her Fellowship internship, when she worked for WE-ACTX in Rwanda, educating and counseling women with HIV about their legal rights and working on income-generation programs. Upon completion of the Davis Project, Moinester wrote a report on the experience that can be found here.

The Davis Projects for Peace honors philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis, who launched the initiative on the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2007. Designed to encourage and support motivated youth to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world in the 21st century, the program funds 100 projects a year for a total of $1 million. For more information, see