Women hail empowerment by National Women Council, commit to more involvement in national development

Women from different social and economic strata have hailed National Women Council (NWC) for the role it plays in building their capacity and enabling them to play a role in national development. The council’s mission is to build women’s capacity and ensure their participation in national development through advocacy and social mobilization with a vision of having a society where both men and women have equal rights and opportunities.

Caption: A group of Women in Musanze district who benefited from National Women’s council support to create a cooperative. Photo:Regis Umurengezi

BY JEAN D’AMOUR MBONYINSHUTI

Women from different social and economic strata have hailed National Women Council (NWC) for the role it plays in building their capacity and enabling them to play a role in national development.

The council’s mission  is to build women’s capacity and ensure their participation in national development through advocacy and social mobilization with a vision of having a society where both men and women have equal rights and opportunities.

Over the weekend, NWC and partners organized Sector general assemblies that brought together women who are members of the Council’s committee at sector and cell level and members of women cooperatives.

The general assemblies, organized countrywide, discussed various issues including discussions on the role and responsibilities of NWC and the performance contracts of women trained in National Itorero Commission better known as “Ba Mutima w’Urugo,’ loosely translated as “Heart of the Family”

It also focused on the role of a woman in good governance and on elections, women development through the National Employment Programme (NEP).  Women heard from their colleagues how they managed to transform their lives.

Among the performance contracts women signed during Itorero of Mutima w’Urugo early this year include, playing a significant role in building a society that promotes culture of peace and national values and Taboos, promoting nutrition in the families especially for the children who are under five, Implementation of Early Childhood Centres (EDC), Promotion of hygiene and family welfare.

Others include;   fighting the vice of dropping out among school-going children, ending presence of street children, fight early pregnancies, fighting child labour and human trafficking.

They also committed to fight poverty among families by educating people to work hard, to go for vocational trainings and working with financial institutions while embracing ICT.

Women who participated in the general Assembly have said that it presented good opportunities for them to acquire more knowledge on how they can contribute to national development.

They said that the National Women Council has played a role in changing their mindset and equipping them with skills which is enabling them to do more and play a better role in national development.

“We are currently involved in various programmes geared towards our development unlike in the past when a woman had nothing to say and men dominated us,” said Francoise Nyirahabimana,  the coordinator of NWC at Byahi cell in Rubavu sector, Rubavu district.

She said that while they had been acquiring knowledge on their rights and responsibilities, the general assembly has helped them understand them better.  “There are activities and initiatives we are yet to be more involved in.  We have understood that it is our responsibilities to fight domestic violence and help those families overcome conflicts and get re-united, we also committed to do more to involve more people in Akagoroba k’Ababyeyi because it is where we can discuss issues pertaining families,” she added.

“It has been emphasized that we are the heart and the center of families. A woman has the responsibility on children and husband, the family can therefore be successful and develop if a woman commits all her efforts,” noted Nyiransabimana.

“In this assembly, we were reminded to implement the performance contracts women signed and committed to implement;  we commit to end gender-based violence and other violence, fight malnutrition among our children to eliminate stunting as well as helping the youth to go for technical and vocational trainings to acquire hands-on skills and contribute to the national employment and create more jobs,” said Peninah Tuyishime, the coordinator of national Women Council in Rubavu sector, Rubavu district.

Jasmin Mukamusoni, a member of Iterambere ry’Umugore Cooperative Muhoza sector, says that thanks to the NWC, they have started a savings cooperative among themselves.

She says that the cooperative is helping them change their mindset, make savings and have opportunity to discuss issues affecting their families and how such issues should be addressed. 

Better capacities

For many years, we were in poverty and ignorance; some of us played no role in family development and thought their role was to produce children and breastfeed.
 “Today we are involved in various activities and we play a role in the development of our families. The saving cooperative we have created has helped us not only in saving but in changing our mindset. We decided not to remain in poverty and dependency,” she says.

The cooperative currently has over 150 members from Muhoza and Cyuve sector, both from Musanze district.

Clad in Kitenge Uniform, the women also gathered this Saturday, which is their usual meeting day.

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Caption: A section of Women participating in Women’s general Assembly organized by the National Women Council. Photo:Courtesy

The meeting coincided with the NWC’s meeting of women countrywide and some of participants had chance to visit the cooperatives to see how it has been helpful to them.

“Our lives have been significantly improved.  NWC supported us in building our capacities as well as encouraging us. Gathering together has given us strength and courage to address anything.  Now we discuss and work together on projects which could not be done individually,” she says.

“We play a role in planning what should be done at home, we are no longer dependent on our husbands, as we play a role in local governance and involved in drafting performance contracts,” she added.

Thacilla Nizeyimana the in-charge of development in Kavumu village, Kigombe cell and a member of NWC says that before NWC started training them, she could not even be able to go in public but now she can play a role as a local leader.

“Thanks to good governance, women are respected. The National Women council has helped us a lot by encouraging us. Now I am able to speak in public to promote hygiene and how households can work with financial institutions,” she said.

“I have managed to achieve a lot thanks to the National Women Council and good governance that encourages gender balance in general.  I play a role in family development,  I work with a Sacco and I pay  school fees for my two children who are in secondary and fulfill other requirements.  All this is a result of the dignity accorded to women,” she noted.

Officials upbeat

According to Pacifique Ishimwe, the coordinator of National women council at Rubavu district, last weekend training focused on relevant issues aiming  at building women’s capacities adding that she was optimistic they will be able to play a role in family and national development.

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Caption: Some of women during the General Assembly in Ngororero district. Photo: Courtesy

Women have been trained in various activities that can help them develop themselves as well as the nation.  Various stakeholders including police, local leaders as well as managers of financial institutions played a role in educating women during the assembly. We are optimistic that women will keep playing their role in national development starting from their families,”  said Ishimwe.

The National Women’s Council is an organ responsible for advocacy, capacity building, and social mobilization of women under the guidance and supervision of the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion.