Six members from Rwanda Association of University women (RAUW) have returned from their first international triennial conference held in the United Kingdom with some notable achievements.
According to the Association president, Amb Joy Mukanyange, the representatives made a significant impact at this seven-day conference held at Manchester University that was attended by over 500 members from 58 countries from all over the world.
“RAUW was admitted as a full member of the International Federation of University Women, and many national federations and associations praised our success in attracting over 260 members in just one year, many of whom are under the age of 30. This was in contrast to many older federations whose membership is aging and declining in numbers,” she said.
RAUW Secretary General, Dr Shirley Randell was elected International Vice President for years 2007-2010, an honour for her and Rwanda.
Shirley reported to the conference about her work as International Projects Convener who has managed to assess over 90 development projects in 40 countries over the last three years.
Shirley also led a pre-conference leadership training program for over 100 young members of university women associations, including RAUW’s Vice President Marie Chantal Rwakazina, Jeanne Francoise Umuzibambeho, Dinah Mutsindarwezo and Peace Murungi.
Dinah Mutsindarwezo was elected to the IFUW Projects committee for the next triennium, as well as to the projects committee for the regional group, the Federation of University Women of Africa (FUWA), which also met at Manchester.
Other FUWA members present included those from Uganda, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Cameroon, Tanzania, Sudan, Togo and Nigeria.
In addition to participating in the open forums and seminars, each of the Rwandan delegates was a keynote speaker at these workshops.
Ambassador Mukanyange and a delegate from Germany led a workshop on Engendering Education, as well as speaking at the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF) dinner on RAUW’s VGIF-funded project on career education.
Umuzibambeho and Musindarwezo led a workshop on Challenges in Dealing with Violence against Women in a Post Conflict Situation; while Murungi and a delegate from Netherlands led a workshop on Quality Management in the Organisations we are working for.
Meanwhile a RAUW UK based member, Caroline Pinder, and Shirley led a workshop on Engendering Country Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers. Kate Irving, another UK member of RAUW also participated in the conference.
At the British Federation of University Women’s 100th birthday party, the Rwandan delegation in their colourful traditional attire Imishinana were a great focus for many photographers.
RAUW delegates especially enjoyed meeting members from the Netherlands, Canada and Britain Associations who had helped them to get to Manchester.
IFUW is a non-profit, international women’s non-governmental organization working locally, nationally and globally to improve the status of women and girls, to promote lifelong education, and to enable graduate women to use their expertise to effect change.
IFUW was founded in 1919 by women from the USA, Canada and Great Britain and today has more than 160,000 members in 81 countries and individual international members in over 50 countries.