If some people still bore doubts that Rwanda’s journey towards drastic poverty reduction among its population, they should have been in Kigali this past week.
They would have witnessed firsthand how women are a key element and without whose support major government programmes would not take off.
Their first stop should at the National Women’s Council (NWC) and get a peep at how things are done, it does not need to cook figures to prove a point. To start with; model villages.
The concept of the village is to uplift the most vulnerable by giving them decent housing accessible to all the needed amenities, access to wages by working on community projects, and if too weak to work, getting direct support as well as improving their nutrition.
So, the NWC has given itself a challenge; to have a model village in each of the 416 administrative units (Sectors) in the country. Each vulnerable family in the village will have two fruit trees, domestic animals and be enrolled in savings cooperatives. Yes, Rwanda dreams big, the difference with other big dreamers is that it strives to make them come true.
A parting shot at all the doubting Thomases; at about the same time NWC was unveiling its major project, the Ministry of Agriculture was unveiling tools that will introduce rural women to basic ICT skills in agriculture.
Local leaders have also been instructed to seek out needy women and girls who could undergo Technical and Vocational Training to improve their lot.
Studies show that if women were well equipped and given a bigger say on their farms, they would increase production by 20 percent.
That is just a tip of the iceberg for anyone who wants to pull people out of poverty, not empty words.