In Gratitude!

Dear Friends and Supporters of Women Rising, 

In the spirit of this season of gratitude, we want to take this opportunity to express our deepest appreciation for your support over the years. You have all been part of turning this dream of Women Rising into reality- by sending us well wishes and cheers in kind and encouraging words, connecting us to other individuals and foundations, and making direct donations. Thank you for believing in our work and for helping us manifest this dream of a better tomorrow for the women of the DR Congo!

Here is a small video clip of the ground prepared for the 2022-2023 harvest season. This work has been done entirely by hand!

As you read this post, Women Rising’s current cohort of 25 women farmers is cultivating crops, harvesting food, and planting more seeds – directly staving off severe hunger and malnutrition for more than 200 people, given the large family size in this corner of the world. We hope to more than double our impact in the 2023-2024 season with 50 women farmers working 2 hectares, and the introduction of solar cooking and solar food drying. As you can well imagine, this project is also bringing hope to the more than 1,000 residents of the 3 villages we are touching.

On the fundraising front, we are thrilled to announce that Women Rising has received another grant from a small family foundation. We’ve now secured more than $18,000 (>55%) toward our fiscal year budget, thanks to you, several family foundations, and Rebellious Dreamers’ gift of the second hectare this summer!

Will you help us meet our $14,800 fundraising goal for the remainder of of this fiscal year (April 1-March 31)? Here are a few ways you can start or renew your support and get us closer to our goal:

  • Share the work of Women Rising by passing on this post and referring your circle of family, friends and colleagues to our.
  • Connect us with donor-advised funds, family foundations, individuals, your spiritual center and/or organizations that might be interested in funding women-related projects.  (In particular, if you know the Libra Foundation or the Wallace Global Fund, we would greatly appreciate your help in making a connection for us.)
  • Donate directly to Women Rising. We welcome your support with an open heart. As you already know, any donation in any amount makes a huge difference. Below are some suggested amounts and what each amount can help us achieve.

A donation in the amount of:

  • $1,000 will help us cover the legal fees for Women Rising to secure NGO status in the DRC.
  • $450 will enable us to purchase the remaining tools, seeds and supplies needed for this 2022-2023 season. (We are also working to get companies to donate items) 
  • $375 will cover three months of project management
  • $300 will help support one woman for six months while she works the land to grow food for herself and her family (saving her from the risk of assault and worse – daily threats for rural women foraging on tribal clan lands now “claimed” by mining companies).
  • $200 will cover cellular data for nearly 6 months to allow communications with the women.
  • $150 will support transportation costs for our project manager, Kasuu, to bring supplies and go to and from the farm for 3 months.
  • $100 will enable us to purchase the 10 pairs of rubber boots still needed, so that all the current cohort of women farmers will have usable footwear.
  • Every donation of any amount will make a big difference!

We thank you, once again, for believing in this dream and for helping us bring it into reality. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Chingwell and Archer

Exciting Fall Update!

Dear Friends and Supporters of Women Rising – Welcome to our Fall Update!

March Corn Crop

Yes, it has been quite a while since we last posted on our critical work in the DRC, and there is so much exciting news to share. Please read on to learn about all our recent accomplishments.

Accomplishments to date

  • The 9 women farmers wrapped up the highly successful first year of food production (April 2021-April 2022) on the first Women Rising hectare, harvesting more than 1,300 pounds of food, which was shared among their 3 villages!
  • Completed our comprehensive mini pilot evaluation. We are using this valuable outcome to increase visibility and credibility of the Project, as well as to inform the 2022-2023 full hectare pilot. Among our key findings, we found that:
    • The projected optimum number of farmers per hectare is 25
    • Farmer stipends are critical, at least for the immediate future, to ensure the women can devote the needed time to crop production
    • Securing more land is vital so that more women can participate, more people can have food, and more land is protected in the face of wildcat mining operations pushing villagers from their homelands.
  • Recruited and engaged a cohort of 25 women farmers and 9 elder women advisors from the three surrounding villages for the 2022-2023 season, including 5 of our first-year cohort who are serving as production leaders.
  • Devoted significant time and energy to fundraising from small family foundations (the next step in our strategy), resulting in 2 grants and the strong likelihood of at least one more before the end of 2022. We are grateful to USA for Africa and the Swift Foundation for helping advance this vital work. 
  • Purchased the second hectare of farmland adjacent to the current hectare so we can expand!

Our focus now is to raise more funds, conduct a successful 2022-2023 production year, fence the second hectare, and identify leadership support for our DRC Project Lead, Kasuu.

As we continue to expand our fundraising efforts and gain more traction, we would love to hear from you about any foundations you know of that might be interested in supporting a small organization like ours in the hotbed of cobalt mining in southern DRC. As a local, women-centered and women-governed agricultural project, Women Rising focuses on the intersection of food, safety, and a healthy earth. Our pathway is to provide secure land tenure and opportunities and support for women of the DRC to create healthy, sustainable lives for themselves and their families, and increase food security in their communities.

Delivering some harvest to the villages

We thank you for believing in this dream and for helping us bring the dream into reality. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Chingwell and Archer

Sharing the Joys

We are thrilled to share this photo and the video below! One of the joys of doing the Women Rising work is being able to see the direct impact that a small act of kindness can create in the lives of others.

Last year, many of you help fund our mini-pilot research project. Thanks to your support, the women involved have been cultivating the land and harvesting crops, making it possible for them to feed their families and share with their communities. More than 550 pounds of food have been a huge boon in helping ease hunger across 3 villages! And, as you read this, more is being harvested in between the rains.

Thanks for sharing in our joy as you watch this video and take in the beautiful face of the youngster below amid the sea of greens nearing harvest. These images remind us that whatever we do in this life, however small it might seem, can make a difference.

Thank you for making it possible for us to do the work we do. Women Rising would not be where it is today without your invaluable support. Please know that we are immensely grateful. Don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love the opportunity to share more details and answer any questions you might have.

Celebrating & Moving Forward

As we launch the Women Rising Project into 2022, we first take a moment to celebrate the many gains of 2021.

  • Completed the bridge over the river for nearly year-round access to the parcel! Throughout most of 2021, the farming cohort, fence builders and patrollers have been able to access the farm without having to cross neighbors’ lands. This bridge was constructed of the trees that were downed during the land grab of 2019, when we almost lost our hectare.
  • Established and managed a cohort of 9 farmers and 3 elders from the surrounding 3 villages to plan, break ground, cultivate, tend and harvest more than 250 kilos of fresh vegetables! This was a huge victory, after all the diligence, patience and faith our Leadership Team provided. (See photos in our previous posts!)
  • Nearly completed the woven & barbed wire fence around the hectare! Our DRC-based Project Leader, Kasuu, had to split her time between the fence building management and farming cohort management; but, big gains were made. We will christen the completed fence in February!
  • Raised 92% of the mini-pilot budget and began tapping into foundation support to take us to the next level of operations! A Project must first get established and demonstrate commitment and accomplishments before even the smaller foundations feel ready to invest. With all the on-the-ground progress, made possible by generous individual donors and our fiscal sponsort, Women Rising has crossed that threshold. Watch for news on this front in coming weeks and months!

Now, while the rains are soaking the thirsty soil, Women Rising is busy planning for the 2022 growing season and building the leadership and governance for the DRC-based NGO. This is an exciting time, especially given the solidarity and support our community of villages now has for the Women Rising Project. A transformation is taking place in the hearts and minds and bodies of the people of this region. Thanks, as always, for the encouragement and dollars from our supporters!

My recent visit to the Women Rising Parcel

Dear friends, colleagues and supporters,

It is with great joy and much excitement that I share the firsthand experience of my visit to the Women Rising parcel in the Congo. A month and half ago, I had the privilege to visit my family in the DR Congo and to visit the farmland and meet with some of the women who are part of our small cohort for the mini-pilot project. As many of you might recall (and thanks in large part to your support) we started farming the land this past Spring. The mini-pilot was part of our research effort to gather data and information needed to help us understand how to guide the next phase of our work on the full hectare farmland. We are learning quite a bit as the mini-pilot continues to unfold and will share some of the lessons (expected and unexpected) at a later time. However, for this post, I will focus on what it was like on the ground – meeting some of the women and seeing our farmland for the first time.

There is absolutely nothing that beats the physical experience of being in a place, meeting its people and being present for a few moments in their lives. I clearly remember that day as if it was yesterday. My oldest sister Kasuu (our project co-lead on the ground), my nephews, a cousin, and I traveled 30 km by car from Lubumbashi (the capital city of Katanga province) to Kipopo, the village nearest the Women Rising parcel (photo below).

We parked the car in Kipopo and walked for about 30 minutes to reach the parcel. Once there, I was amazed to see how much food the women had grown. All I saw (pictured below) was a sea of greens and row after row of vegetables. The sight of the new growth rising from the earth filled my heart with so much joy. For the first time, I realized that the dream of Women Rising was coming to reality. Not did I see the women growing food for themselves and their families, I recognized that the act of working with the earth and being involved with this project had ignited their own dreams. They were already beginning to dream of what is possible.

When I spoke with members of the cohort, maman Mado and maman Bernadette (pictured below), they shared those dreams with me. They can envision the hectare in full production, and raising food to not only feed themselves and families and share with their villages, but having enough to sell. They are dreaming of helping each other create these small businesses, and of establishing saving-groups in their villages with the money they make, allowing them to improve more lives together. The women have indeed been ignited and they are dreaming big!

I am grateful to be part of this important work. I know that when we fund women’s dreams, we are supporting their entire families; and when women rise, entire communities thrive. The women of Women Rising are rising and they want us to know that they are, indeed, rising. Thank you for helping us bring this first blossom of our work to fruition. We have lots more to do and we look forward to your continued support.

With deep gratitude,

p.s. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I’d love to hear from you. Also, we accept donations online. Help us support the women of Kipopo and the surrounding villages as they continue to grow food and transform their destiny. Thank you for your support!

Pictured below is our vision for the future.

On-the-ground Mini-pilot Research Project

We’ve made good progress towards our fundraising goal! Just $3,500 to go!

With the help of our end-of-year donors, Women Rising made a great start toward realizing the next step in our journey. We are well on the way to our $6,000 goal (newly revised with expanding the number of women) so that by the end of the rainy season in April, women will actually be safely growing food on the Women Rising hectare. We can almost call it a FARM!

As we noted in our December post, this first foray into growing food is as much a research project as a crop production one. There is so much to learn to ensure that all elements and farming processes are economical, effective, and sustainable.

The women of the surrounding villages, especially the elders, will be our teachers about the traditional farming ways, so rich in knowledge of the climate and land. We will bring them new low-cost approaches to enrich the soil, introduce new crops, extend the season, and preserve foods. (We already have emerging plans for basic structures, pedal power, solar food drying and cooking, and composting!)

And, together, we will collaborate to create the sound, cooperative and resilient governance structure that will carry Women Rising to the next level – as a functioning organization ready for NGO designation in the DR Congo.

Thank you to those who have already donated. For others- please consider contributing now, so that the Women Rising mini-pilot research project can launch. Help us turn food insecurity into food abundance!

We need just $3,500 more!!

  • $450 will enable us to purchase tools, seeds and supplies. (We are also working to get companies to donate many of these items) 
  • $375 will cover three months of project management
  • $300 will help support one woman for six months while she works the land to grow food for herself and her family.
  • $200 will cover cellular data to allow communications with the women.
  • $100 will support transportation costs to and from the farm
  • Every donation of any amount will make a difference!


Help Women Rising Start Farming!

It’s time for our End-of-Year Fundraising Campaign! Don’t miss this exciting opportunity! Become a Women Rising supporter and help the farming commence.

With the perimeter fence nearly complete around the farm’s first hectare, it is time to initiate the next phase – a short-term, comprehensive research project. But, we need your help to raise $6,000.

As soon as the rainy season is over, with your support, a small cadre of women from the three villages closest to the farm will come together to grow food, and collaborate to fill knowledge gaps on crops, the soil, water access, tools and cooperative production.

This six-month project is a mini-pilot that will answer key questions about infrastructure and systems to help us strategically plan the larger 1-hectare pilot, on which the full-scale Women Rising model will be based. As students of organizational development, Women Rising leadership understands the need to “get it right.” Your contribution and your willingness to spread the word about this important project will help us do just that!

Help us turn food insecurity into food abundance! Our Goal is $6,000, but every contribution can help. Here’s how your dollars can make a difference:

  • $450 will enable us to purchase tools, seeds and supplies. (We are also working to get companies to donate many of these items)
  • $375 will cover three months of project management
  • $300 will help support one woman for six months while she works the land to grow food for herself and her family
  • $200 will cover cellular data to allow communications with the women
  • $100 will support transportation costs to and from the farm
  • Every donation of any amount will make a difference!

We hope you’ll join us in this effort AND spread the word to your networks!



November 2020

The Women Rising Legacy Project, which began as an idea in the Spring of 2016, became a reality in 2017, thanks, in part, to support from Rebellious Dreamers (a Michigan based nonprofit), which provided necessary initial resources (advising and seed capital) to turn this dream into reality. We are still an all-volunteer entity, but now have a solid team based both in the U.S. and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We have established the organizational framework and processes and conducted a small fundraising campaign to build initial infrastructure. The process to fully launch Women Rising is a long-term undertaking, despite the needs being so great and so immediate. The extreme level of poverty and the long-standing systemic barriers to creating change in such a unique and beautiful country are daunting challenges to address. While we expected to be further along at this point, we are thrilled to be getting closer to realizing our initial objectives.


  • Developed and translated Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation for establishing Women Rising as a nonprofit in the DRC. Once we raise sufficient funds, these will go to a DRC attorney for final editing and submittal to the government.
  • Purchased 1 hectare of partially wooded land from the tribal council based in the village of Kipopo to be the Women Rising farm. This was an exciting achievement because of the challenging logistics and complicated legal system in effect in the DRC – a fluid combination of formal and customary law and language.
  • Engaged Kasuu N Becky as our in-country Lead. For the last three years, she has overseen implementation of work on the ground, including deep relationship building in Kipopo
  • Hired Mulaj, a local man, to regularly patrol the Women Rising hectare. We bought him a pair of boots and provided a bicycle for transport to/from the parcel and a scythe to clear the path around the perimeter.
  • Conducted a fundraising campaign that raised over $11,000 to build a fence around the farm, so that women can be there safely and the land and crops can be protected.
  • Completed a significant portion of the fence. Check out the photos! The final stage of installation is underway as of this update.
  • Planned a mini-pilot research project – the precursor to launch of the full hectare farming operation. Women from 3 villages nearest the farm will help us learn the challenges and opportunities offered by the soil, climate, and traditional practices and crops, as well as for integrating new crops and practices, such as low-technology irrigation and solar food drying.
  • Revamping of the Women Rising website. This is currently underway (behind the scenes). Check back soon to take part in our fundraising to conduct the mini-pilot!

Primary Challenge:

In January of 2019, when Mulaj was away for a family emergency, the owner of a neighboring
parcel sent his workers onto the Women Rising hectare to begin clearing trees for mining. This
neighbor had purchased 120 hectares from a colleague who had described the purchase as including the WR hectare. Nearly three-quarters of the trees were cut before Kasuu and villagers discovered the trespass. Kasuu was able to halt the action, and, with great diligence, support from the chief and village, and the use of her connections, successfully secure governmental confirmation of WR ownership. While the neighbor has acknowledged the mistake, he has made no move to compensate. At least two positive outcomes have arisen from this incident, however:
1) We were pushed to focus first on building the fence, which is positioning us to safely launch next steps of the project; and
2) The Women Rising Project now enjoys high regard from and a firm alliance with the tribe and the village of Kipopo – foundational aspects of a successful and sustainable organization.
Thanks for visiting our Progress Page. Please check back again soon for more news!

The Beginning

The Beginning – Chingwell Mutombu, Archer Christian and Kasuu Namusapan Becky officially launched the Women Rising Legacy Project in the Spring of 2017. It was a bold move – to employ a tiny, volunteer trans-national collaboration with the goal to establish a women-owned and governed NGO that provides secure land and opportunities for women to grow food in the poorest country in the world, a country in which women have little power and live at great risk. But, we have stuck with it, and now have news to report, albeit both good and challenging.

March 2018 – Last year, Women Rising Legacy Project purchased 1 hectare of partially wooded land from the village chief in charge of a small sector of the Katanga Province outside of Lubumbashi, the province’s largest city. This was an exciting achievement because of the challenging logistics and complicated legal system that is in effect in the DRC – a fluid combination of formal and customary law, in which Swahili is the common language and French, the official one.

There are very few mobile phones or bicycles in this poor area, but the communities are deeply linked, and news travels like wildfire, even when those sharing it are on foot. As a result, the Project is now well known, and we are building relationships and trust.

We hired Mulaj, a local man, to regularly patrol the Women Rising hectare. As is the case for so many in this country, he had no shoes or transportation, so we sent funds to provide him a pair of boots, a bicycle for transport to/from the parcel, and a scythe to clear the path around the perimeter.

Our biggest challenge began in January, during Mulaj’s absence for family health reasons. Men hired by a neighbor pursuing mining on his land cut down ¾ of the trees on the Women Rising parcel. While we have since determined that this was a matter of mistaken boundaries, Kasuu is jumping through hoops week after week to affirm Women Rising ownership, and securing any compensation is a pipe dream.

Our main goal now is to raise enough funds to build a fence to protect the hectare and the women who will farm there. Materials and labor are estimated to be $11,000. Please join us in taking this step by making a donation! All funds go directly to operations.

On a positive note, we have developed Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation for establishing Women Rising as a nonprofit in the DRC. These are currently being translated into French, after which, we will send them to our local Lubumbashi attorney for final edits and then submittal to the authorities.

Thanks for reading our first post! Please check back regularly for more news.