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TIP in the News

TIP Recognized on Center of Health Market Innovations


The Ihangane Project is proud to have been approached by CHMI to post our work on their website. Please click on the photo above and enjoy reading!

Announcing a $5000 Matching Grant!

Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, we are excited to announce a $5000 matching grant.  This means that every dollar you donate will be matched, up to $5000. This generous offer only lasts through December 31st……we appreciate your help!

What your donation brings~

  • $10 – seeds to begin a kitchen garden for an HIV + family 
  • $15- 4 weeks of weaving training for an HIV + mother
  • $25- 1 month supply of nutritional supplements for HIV+ mother and her infant
  • $100- Complete supply of hoes, pitch forks, and shovels to supply newly established farming cooperatives by People Living with HIV/AIDS
  • $500- Cost to expand HIV Clinical Nutrition Program to an additional health center 
  • $750- Cost of land to establish establish a farming cooperative that brings sustainable nutrition and economic development to 60 HIV + families  



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Aptos, CA 95003



Artisans Speak! Interview with Igihe, National Rwandan Newspaper In Rwanda


Gakenke: The women from Ruli have decided to participate in business even though, they met some problems.

Written on 7-08-2012 – Time 09:55′ by Abdou Nyampeta

 (Original Post in Kinyarwanda)

’’Now, we decided to stand up to specify our inventions whether in Rwanda or abroad, in selling for gaining funds and continuing to own respect.’’

Said by Mukankuranga Beata, a member of handcraft cooperative called (COVARU) localized in Ruli sector. She lives in Busoro cell, Ruli sector, Gakenke district, Northern Province, and she spoke in an interview with IGIHE  on Monday, 06th August 2012 at Gikondo where the 15th  international exhibition take a place.

This cooperative is composed by ladies who are determined to fight against the poverty by making handcraft products fabricated in banana leaves and sisals sponsored by the National women council.   

Mukankuranga Betty said it is the first time our cooperative gets here in the international exhibition. She said ’’ We came here to publish our inventions for being known and selling to gain money. Secondly we came to learn how others work in order to get something from them or they get something from us”. Some problems emerged for them are: Delay to go back to their hotels caused by the lack of transportation and a bit matter of stopping for a short while of electricity power in the exposition area.

Press Release~ Join TIP at the International AIDS Conference!



The Ihangane Project Selected as Global Village Participant on Sustainable Health Innovations


Our Marketplace Booth is an Official Global Village Activity for the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012)


July 15, 2012, Santa Cruz, California—The Ihangane Project has been selected to participate in the Global Village at the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012), which will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. from July 22 – 27, 2012.


The Global Village, open to conference delegates and the general public, aims to intensify the involvement of key stakeholders in the conference and in the global response to AIDS. The Ihangane Project’s selected activity will be a marketplace booth to support business development for a large women’s artisan cooperative in rural Rwanda. In Sub Saharan Africa, lack of access to food due to extreme poverty is a risk factor for HIV. The Ihangane Project supports economic development for those at highest risk of HIV.  Additionally, it was one of only 280 Global Village activities accepted for inclusion in the AIDS 2012 programme out of over 1,000 submissions. Examples of other activities at the Global Village include sessions, forums, oral presentations, awards, networking zones, NGO exhibition booths, marketplace booths, art exhibits, film screenings and performing arts.

The Ihangane Project empowers Rwandan communities to develop integrated approaches to the complex challenges of HIV by supporting community-driven projects that increase access to health care, improve health care quality, and foster long term success through economic development. We envision a world in which preventative health care is the norm, access to health care is considered a basic human right, and short term health gains are not cut short by socioeconomic marginalization.

“We are extremely proud that this activity was chosen to be a part of the AIDS 2012 programme,” said Executive Director, Wendy Leonard. “This conference comes at what has the potential to be an historic moment in the AIDS epidemic. The world’s attention will be on Washington in July to see how all of us – clinicians, scientists, policymakers, and advocates – are able to come together to chart a path forward in the HIV/AIDS epidemic in a way that is integrated with overall improvements in health care delivery systems around the world.”


All are encouraged to attend the Global Village Programme at AIDS 2012. Returning to the U.S. after a 22-year absence, the Conference is expected to be a landmark event. The return to the U.S. is due in large part to years of advocacy to end the nation’s entry restrictions on people living with HIV (PLHIV). This return represents a huge success for human rights and will have a positive impact on the response to HIV and AIDS both at a national and international level.

The theme of AIDS 2012, Turning the Tide Together, has been selected to emphasize how a global and decisive commitment is crucial to change the course of the epidemic now that science is presenting promising results in HIV treatment and biomedical prevention.


More information on the selection process for the International AIDS Conference Global Village Programme is available here.


About AIDS 2012


AIDS 2012 is expected to convene more than 20,000 delegates from more than 200 countries, including more than 2,000 journalists. As the largest gathering of professionals working in the field of HIV, including people living with HIV and other leaders in the HIV response, the biennial International AIDS Conference plays a fundamental role in shaping the global response to HIV and in keeping HIV and AIDS on the international political agenda.


Conference Organization


AIDS 2012 is convened by the International AIDS Society and the conference’s international partners: the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+); the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO); the International Community of Women with HIV/AIDS (ICW) and the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS): the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC); Sidaction. 


The U.S.-based Black AIDS Institute; the District of Columbia Department of Health (DOH); the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA); the National Institutes of Health (NIH); the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) at the White House; and the U.S. Positive Women’s Network (USPWN) are serving as local partners.  


AIDS 2012: Join the conversation

Get the latest conference updates and share your thoughts and ideas through the Conference Facebook and Twitter.   We are tweeting – @aids2012 – and hope many of you will tweet along with us, using #AIDS2012 to keep the conversation going. Become a fan of AIDS 2012 on Facebook and stay in touch with the latest conference updates and developments. Please visit to become a fan.


About the IAS 

The International AIDS Society (IAS) is the world’s leading independent association of HIV professionals, with over 16,000 members from more than 196 countries working at all levels of the global response to AIDS. Our members include researchers from all disciplines, clinicians, public health and community practitioners on the frontlines of the epidemic, as well as policy and programme planners. The IAS is the custodian of the biennial International AIDS Conference and lead organizer of the IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 30 June– 3 July 2013. | 


Wendy Leonard, MD, AAHIVS


AIDS 2012 Media Team

Sian Bowen (Geneva, Switzerland), AIDS 2012 Senior Communications Manager                           

Email: / Tel:  +41 22 710 0864                                                     


Adina Ellis (Washington, D.C.), AIDS 2012 U.S. Communications and Public Affairs Manager / Tel: +1 (202) 714-6793


Shawn Jain (Washington, D.C.), AIDS 2012 U.S. Communications & Media Relations Coordinator

Email: / Tel: +1 (202) 470-3127

TIP Featured on Huffington Post!

Rwanda Now: Healing the Grandchildren of Genocide

Huffington Post story by Suzanne Skees shows what happens when social-change activists from two continents ask what’s needed and then design sustainable solutions together.


Suzanne Skees

To view the original piece, click here




Julienne was just four during the 1994 genocide. She is HIV-positive and works as an artisan for this member-owned women’s collective through The Ihangane Project. Ihangane brought solar lighting to the health clinic where she gave birth safely without transmitting the virus to her 4-month-old son, Kingi; they also provide nutrition supplements for Kingi and gardening and nutrition training for Julienne.

Ruli: Rwanda: Far up in the hills of central Africa in a village called Ruli, families live as do 90% of Rwandans, working the land. To get to Ruli, you have to go off the map, over 2.5 hours of bumpy roads, winding your way northwest of Kigali; and you have to be willing to leap backward in time. Here, people live mired in the past, swinging hoes and hoisting water, centuries behind in infrastructure, yet also suffering the aftereffects of a more recent past — the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Already challenged by poverty, this land-locked country with a legacy of colonizer-instilled tribal conflict experienced decades of violence that culminated in a gruesome genocide of nearly 1 million Tutsis and Hutus. Another 2 million fled to hellish refugee camps in neighboring countries. Houses burned, livestock died, fields languished, and the economy nosedived. It took years to discern whom to prosecute and forgive, who owned what, and how to live together again. Women were widowed, children orphaned, and an already-high prevalence of HIV skyrocketed among women survivors of rape.




Dr. Wendy Leonard practices family medicine and HIV/AIDS/TB care in California and Rwanda.



U.S. physician Dr. Wendy Leonard decided to take action. She boarded a flight in 2006 as the first physician volunteer for the Clinton Foundation’s HIV clinical mentoring program in Rwanda. They sent her to a remote village called Ruli, and told her to oversee government health initiatives. She found, instead, that she had a lot of listening — and learning — to do.

"It’s really about understanding who it is you’re trying to help," Wendy says. "Every time I’m in Rwanda, I learn more about the people and the culture."

The first week on the job, Wendy’s mentor, Dr. Jean de Dieu Ngirabega, told her, "If you want to help our community, you must first get to know us." He took her to a local wedding, a Catholic/traditional ceremony that carried on all day. Hundreds of guests sat patiently in searing heat on wobbly wooden benches, trading stories and gossip, watching a never-ending procession of neighbors bearing gifts in agaseke, hand-woven lidded baskets borne atop women’s heads filled with rice, beans, seeds — anything the new couple may need to start their life together. The father of the bride presented them with a cow. Wendy knew the hosts were among the poorest of Africa’s poor, and all her theories about charity evaporated in the stifling air as she watched them feed every single person who showed up.

"Everyone gets a Fanta, and everyone gets fed — even if only corn on the cob," she marvels. "No matter how poor you might be, everyone provides for each other." She saw this practice again at the clinical level. For example, surveys revealed that 200 community health volunteers wished for increased nutrition training — not salaries. "It makes sense to try and raise funds to pay even a small stipend," Wendy reflects now, "but just by asking, we discovered that was not their motivation at all."

Then, the doctor from America flipped the model — from top-down development to community-based grassroots–and launched The Ihangane Project in 2008. The name means being patient; its mission is to improve healthcare and economic development. Ihangane is "just facilitating what Rwandans are already doing," Wendy explains. "All our projects are initiated by Rwandans. We always ask, What can we do to strengthen their capacity?"




45-year-old Dr. Avite runs the 168-bed Ruli District Hospital, where he sees patients for accidents on motorbikes and in "unofficial local mines"; cardiovascular and cirrhosis problems. Throughout Rwanda, the population suffers a high rate of alcoholism and PTSD, anxiety, and depressive disorders: Part of the legacy of the genocide. Dr. Avite and his wife have three adopted teenage children.



Ihangane provides technical and financial support for community-created models:

  • artisan sales by microenterprise collective
  • cross-sector collaborations
  • solar power initiative
  • maternal and infant care
  • rural hospital improvements
  • local healthcare linkages
  • nutrition, gardening, and pig-farming projects


Ihangane aims for self-sustaining solutions that soon will graduate from donor inputs. "For example," explains Wendy, "for HIV-exposed infants in Ruli at high risk for malnutrition, we provide sosoma, a porridge of soya, sorghum, and maize fortified with vitamins and minerals. This supports one of the many truly beautiful protocols from the government [Ministry of Health]; but the funding is not there. So, we are building farming collectives to grow component grains. We’ll grow locally and sell to Ruli hospital at a much more affordable cost. The farmers also can sell their surplus crops for an additional profit."

The day we visit, rain falls softly at the top of one of Rwanda’s "thousand hills," and the red soil looks rich. However, this land has been stripped by one-crop farming and poisoned by toxic pesticides. Many farming families have been reduced to a diet of rice and maize. Banana trees carpet the hills, yet only a few still produce fruit — often used to make beer. Now, Ruli residents have asked for diversified garden inputs and training on how to grow high-yield crops and cook nutritious meals.



American MBA students learning on the job: four University of Michigan interns are spending four weeks in Ruli, testing an SMS-texting system of communications between district healthcare centers and the main hospital to improve patient care. They sleep in the local church. They’ve been amazed by the beauty of the land and the kindness of people here, and report a fondness for Rwandan cuisine and the local beer.



The main hospital has electricity; however, several of the eight outlying health centers previously had no power. Women who went into labor at night had to give birth in the dark. "Now we have solar lighting in eight health centers," Isaac, an Ihangane volunteer and lab technician, tells us. "We can light the maternity ward 24 hours a day, power a microscope and a radio phone used to call for an ambulance if needed." Partnering with Catapult Design, "the Ihangane solar project is just on time," Isaac smiles.

Gratien, another intern, bicycles from his father’s nearby farm to help the Ruli Women’s Cooperative launch a pig farming enterprise in nearby Nyange. Livestock farming will diversify their income and allow them to increase their membership. "Pigs are simple," Gratien laughs. "They are not complicated. They need only a small pen. They eat slop." Ihangane will raise funds for initial building and livestock materials, and then Ruli will take it from there.



A few of the thirty artisans of the Ihangane Women’s Association. Each member pays $25 to join. They put 10 percent of profits into savings, create group loans for one another, and divide the remaining 90 percent among members. Founding president Madeleine (far right) taught the members to dry sisal fibers, dye them, and weave into traditional wedding baskets. They also produce cards, pictures, and jewelry.



"Sometimes when we want so badly to help, we just come in and try to help," Wendy muses. "If we come in to learn who they are first, sometimes we find amazingly rich resources already in the community." For the artisans, Ihangane provided startup materials, and will provide follow-up training through local fair-trade expert from Rwanda Economic Development Initiative (REDI).

For the grandchildren of the genocide like baby Kingi, across Rwanda’s 15,000 rural villages, the future looks brighter — maybe. Currently, 12 million residents crowd into a country the size of Maryland; 43 percent are under age 15, and 46 percent of children under five suffer chronic malnourishment.

However, Rwanda promotes equality for women (more than half their members of Parliament); public education for all (now through 9th grade, soon to extend through 12th grade); economic development (GDP rose steadily 6 percent per year during the global economic recession) through enterprise (Rwanda aims to become the business/IT hub of Africa; currently it takes just six hours to set up a new business here). President Paul Kagame says, "Poverty contributed to the genocide. If that past is never to happen again, we must grow our economy." The way forward yokes education and enterprise–"enlightened self-interest"–as Head of Strategy and Policy Serge Kamuhindu puts it. "What we want is a second chance for everyone born in this country," he told us at the Hôtel des Mille Collines (Hotel Rwanda) last week.




The future belongs to growing leaders across Rwanda.



A second chance — and a healthy start — is what Ihangane wants for Kingi, and all the youth who will build a prosperous, healthy future rooted in the best of Rwandan culture.