The National Women Council joined the rest of the world to celebrate the International Day of Rural Women on 15 on the 15th of October 2016.
At the level of local government, women now comprise a representation of 43%, up from 24% before the 2006 elections. This is largely a result of community sensitization on the rights of women to vote and stand for election.
According to Alice Ababo the Project coordinator for Women Economic Empowerment at the National Women Council, the council has a similar mandate to empower women, helping women street vendors to formalize their business and to fight all forms of injustice and corruption associated with service delivery.
“We mobilize vulnerable women into cooperatives and support them with startup capital or equipment to help them start income generating activities. So far the project has disbursed Frw180 million to a total of 730 women grouped in 44 cooperatives in the three districts of Kigali: Kicukiro, Gasabo, Nyarugenge.
In Karongi, Nyamagabe, Ngororero, Rutsiro, Nyaruguru, Gisagara and Ruhango, districts, 840 Vulnerable women grouped into 40 Cooperatives were identified, trained and provided with startup capital equivalent to 76 million. Apart from the start capital in form of money, 510 women were identified in Nyamasheke, Gisagara, Gakenke and Kirehe and were supported with 132 cows.
Fighting Women Illiteracy
The National Women Council has put up a family campaign where illiterate women are identified at District level and are enrolled literacy training centers.
According to Christine Uwizera, the coordinator of the family literacy campaign, so far, many of these women who went through this program have learnt to read and this has been very liberating.
“We organize the women from saving and credit groups from all districts through a system called “intabwe” which is about equipping them general knowledge on saving and credit, family planning and gender based violence thus increasing their economic and social standards” says Uwizera.
According to Uwizera, over 3325 from Nyanza district alone have benefited from this adult education scheme in terms of getting basic skills in hand-writing , reading, numeracy and importance of savings.
One of the beneficiaries Donatille Mukamuhinzi, age 40 with five kids and a husband, said, “At the beginning I was illiterate, but now I am not. I am able to interact with the children and even discuss my children’s lessons with them.
Umugoroba w’Ababyeyi ‘Parents Forum’
The National Women Council has initiated the parents’ forum “Umugoroba w’Ababyeyi” in every village where both parents sit together, discuss their issues, fight gender based violence and sort out family conflicts.
According to Julienne Dushimimana, the president of umugoroba w’ababyeyi in Nyarutarama village, during umugoroba w’ababyeyi, women re trained in many fields as well as assisting them to acquire health insurance and other basic needs.
“We have so far managed to help 42 women with mattresses and gave out Bitenge worth Frw15000 each to192, 000 we also have a bakery that employs over 60 women” says Julienne.