Lack of modern technology for use in the production process continue to block more rural women from realising their entrepreneurial potential; leading them to resort to traditional methods and techniques, a study on job creation for rural women shows.
Launched yesterday in Kigali, the study; ‘Leveraging Indigenous Knowledge to Create Employment for Women in Rural areas in Rwanda’, was conducted by the International Development Research Center Canada in partnership with the University of Rwanda.
It aimed to explore employment opportunities that exist in indigenous knowledge-based industries in rural areas, especially with a view to scaling up such to include more women participants and to generate higher income for women entrepreneurs.
Speaking at the launch; Dr. Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu, who was the Chief Investigator, told participants that though the government was doing a lot in terms of indigenous knowledge of governance, there was need to step up in terms of modern technology.
“Rwanda is already leading the way in terms of indigenous knowledge of governance with Abunzi, Gacaca, Ubudehe but it has the potential of also being the first country in Africa to provide indigenous technology by working in partnership with all who are involved to make life better,” she said.
Ezeanya-Esiobu added that it was still a challenge for women to be taken seriously and pointed out that most still required encouragement, training and assistance to help them eventually employ others, contribute to the livelihoods of their families and the development of their country in general.
She also pointed out that major donors active in the country who were interviewed for the project did not have any clear cut policy guidelines on empowering rural women using indigenous technology.
Eastern Province’s Mary Mugabo who hails from Nyagatare District is a dairy farmer. She told The New Times why even with more support, this business has the potential to support more people than just members of her family.
“I deal in milk and butter production and I am confident to tell you that there has been a significant difference in my life. I can support myself and my children and I am also able to help my community advance since I buy some of the milk I use from local farmers,” she said.
She pointed out the recent ban on tree cutting was the biggest challenge since besides not being able to afford the cost of gas, gas cookers were not strong enough to boil large quantities of milk.
The study hopes to start a conversation about how indigenous knowledge can be boosted with expert opinions and ideas on broad areas of promoting rural women development.