A team from McGill University in Canada in collaboration with Imbuto Foundation and the Centre for Visual Methodologies for Social Change at University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa, held a three-day training session and a two-day workshop, from the 23rd to the 27th of November, 2009 at the Kigali Institute of Education (KIE).
The two sessions focused on participatory methodologies for working with rural girls and women. The workshop was held under a research project called femSTEP, which stands for women’s strategies to eradicate poverty.
femSTEP’s goal is to draw attention to rural girls’ and women’s perspectives for engendering poverty reduction strategies in Rwanda. femSTEP’s rational is to use visual participatory methods to give a voice to populations who are often marginalized within decision and policy making.
With the participation of rural girls and women, their choices and capacities will be taken into consideration when designing responses to health, and agricultural challenges, thus finding sustainable solutions to poverty.
During this eventful week, short films, photographs, photovoice, drawings and books were displayed to emphasize the importance of visual effects in conveying a message.
Presentations were made by distinguished speakers and small discussion groups were held in order to concentrate on three questions: What do you see? What’s the problem? and finally How can you solve it? A field trip to Kimironko Market took place in order to put in practise some of the newly acquired photovoice skills.
The participants were given a chance to analyze, through different lenses, the market activities – who is selling what, do they have a stand, and what are their working conditions. They were then challenged to find solutions to the problems they saw.
Several participants, from all over Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Ethiopia, attended this exciting experience.
Furthermore, Hon. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Minister of Gender and Family Promotion; Prof. George K. Njoroge, Rector of KIE, Anna Maria Scotti, Head of Mission and Head of Cooperation Office of the Canadian Embassy and Mrs. Radegonde Ndejuru, Director General of Imbuto Foundation all graced the workshop with their presence.
In her remarks, the Honourable Minister mentioned that trainings of this nature were much needed in Rwanda and that more should take place in rural settings, in order to reach as many rural girls and women as possible.