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Craft beer and fierce female entrepreneurs? Hell yes.

World

12.22.2016

Craft Beers And Fierce Females: The New Face of Philanthropy

Philanthropy: it wouldn’t be surprising if the first thing that came to mind were swanky charity events with black ties, bottomless champagne, and A LOT of money being thrown around. But there’s a new face of philanthropy sweeping the scene, and it’s a lot more hands-on than simply writing a check. This project out of Rwanda is an insanely uplifting endeavor that goes far beyond donations alone, serving as a reminder that we as citizens of the world should give back as much as we possibly can, both in the throes of our new year’s resolutions and beyond. Read on for a serious dose of philanthropic inspiration (and keep your wallet close by should you feel inclined to support).

The Rwanda Craft Brewery Project

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Craft beer and fierce female entrepreneurs? Hell yes. This revolutionary project is proof that tapping into local knowledge and providing long-term economic opportunities for communities — especially women — is a killer way to kickstart change. Canadian craft brewery Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. in Vanleek Hill, Ontario is teaming up with Josephine Uwineza, a Rwandan entrepreneur, to create the country’s first craft brewery, which will be owned and operated solely by women.

The project developed out of a meeting between Nancy Coldham, a consultant at the Toronto-based CG Group that supports female entrepreneurship, and Josephine Uwinzea in Rwanda. Coldham recommended beer as a new direction for Uwinzea, and hooked her up with the Ontario Craft Brewer Association and Steve Beauchesne, the CEO of Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. Beyond funding, Beau is providing all of the skills development and training required to make the project a success, as well as helping raise funds (check out their Kickstarter campaign here) for all of the necessary equipment to get the brewery off on the right foot.

Beauchesne’s own brewery got its start in a similar fashion, with another local brewery, Church Key Brewing in Campbellford, Ontario stepping in to lend a hand when Beau was in dire straits. He now pays it forward by providing consulting, equipment, scholarships, and more to industry newbies. Newlands Systems Inc., a leading brewing equipment manufacturer based in British Columbia is just one of the industry heavy hitters that have jumped in to lend a hand, offering to donate the entire brewhouse, which is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment and the heart of the brewery.

In addition to providing opportunities through the brewery itself, Uwineza hopes the brewery will have a larger impact on the local economy. She plans to employ women in neighboring villages to grow hops and other ingredients, which would create new economic and job opportunities while cutting costs. While monetary gifts are essential for getting projects off the ground, this game-changing approach to philanthropy, which relies largely on peer-to-peer learning and community building has the potential to create both long-lasting and widespread benefits.

Photos via Marc Doucette

Stay tuned to Milk for more inspiring stories of global change and kindness.

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