October 13, 2020

Women’s empowerment from formal spaces to rural communities

Women’s contribution to lasting peace and unity are invaluable. In the Philippines, Liberia, Northern Ireland, and many other countries women have played significant roles in peace processes. In this conversation, we will bring together community leaders from Rwanda to see how they are empowering women in rural and urban areas.

October 13, 2020

Women’s empowerment from formal spaces to rural communities

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Women’s contribution to lasting peace and unity are invaluable. In the Philippines, Liberia, Northern Ireland, and many other countries women have played significant roles in peace processes. In this conversation, we will bring together community leaders from Rwanda to see how they are empowering women in rural and urban areas.

On 13 October 2020, DPPA and Shared Studios gathered a select group of women leaders from Rwanda to discuss innovation initiatives to empower women, including the work of a community centre that incubates rural female entrepreneurship and programmes that cultivate community women councils. The participants shared ideas on how to better address their communities’ needs and agreed that they held shared goals too: to shift mindsets and systems surrounding women and society.

Empower proximate leaders

Seeking to build capacity and create change that is sustaining, the participants discussed the importance of supporting not only women but the networks surrounding them to create systemic transformation. They highlighted the need to build the capacity of local leaders - from teachers in villages to faith-based leaders – in order to strengthen local networks.

Strengthen the social fabric surrounding women

Participants agreed that the most powerful way to transform women’s future is by strengthening the social fabric of their communities. The value of women supporting one another as sisters could not be overstated. In Rwanda, the Women’s Opportunity Center, which incubates female entrepreneurs, has a programme where women work in cooperative teams. Joy Rwamwenge, the Center’s director, said that for these women, most of whom are genocide survivors and are dealing with trauma, cooperatives are like therapy. They meet in their teams every day, talking, crying, dancing and singing. Joy said that since most of them have lost their family, the bonds formed between the women are like those of sisters; they heal trauma, helping them move forward with their lives.

Importance of role models

Many of the leaders spoke about the value of representation. Having a role model inspires women to visualize their potential and push themselves to grow into who they want to be.

Integrate men

It is essential to consider men’s role in the fight for women’s equality. Joy spoke about how when women become economically empowered, sometimes they bring their earnings home, and their husbands take their money. Her organization hosts training sessions for men to teach them the importance of women becoming independent and the positive impact it has, not only on women’s lives but also on families and communities. These men then become ambassadors and travel to different districts to teach other men what they’ve learned.

Antoinette Uwimana

Antoinette Uwimana is the Country Director of Women for Women International Rwanda. Since joining WfWI in 2014, more than 30,000 women have graduated from the 12-month social-economic program. Previously, she held several leadership positions at Netherlands Development Organization, spearheading projects related to hygiene and sanitation, and worked for seven years for USAID-funded projects in Decentralization and Health Governance. With a Master’s in Public Health and a Bachelor’s in Demography, Antoinette is passionate about philanthropic work and helping people overcome poverty.
Rwanda

Antoinette Uwimana

Antoinette Uwimana is the Country Director of Women for Women International Rwanda. Since joining WfWI in 2014, more than 30,000 women have graduated from the 12-month social-economic program. Previously, she held several leadership positions at Netherlands Development Organization, spearheading projects related to hygiene and sanitation, and worked for seven years for USAID-funded projects in Decentralization and Health Governance. With a Master’s in Public Health and a Bachelor’s in Demography, Antoinette is passionate about philanthropic work and helping people overcome poverty.
Rwanda

Antoinette Uwimana

Antoinette Uwimana is the Country Director of Women for Women International Rwanda. Since joining WfWI in 2014, more than 30,000 women have graduated from the 12-month social-economic program. Previously, she held several leadership positions at Netherlands Development Organization, spearheading projects related to hygiene and sanitation, and worked for seven years for USAID-funded projects in Decentralization and Health Governance. With a Master’s in Public Health and a Bachelor’s in Demography, Antoinette is passionate about philanthropic work and helping people overcome poverty.
Rwanda

Antoinette Uwimana

Antoinette Uwimana is the Country Director of Women for Women International Rwanda. Since joining WfWI in 2014, more than 30,000 women have graduated from the 12-month social-economic program. Previously, she held several leadership positions at Netherlands Development Organization, spearheading projects related to hygiene and sanitation, and worked for seven years for USAID-funded projects in Decentralization and Health Governance. With a Master’s in Public Health and a Bachelor’s in Demography, Antoinette is passionate about philanthropic work and helping people overcome poverty.
Rwanda

Antoinette Uwimana

Antoinette Uwimana is the Country Director of Women for Women International Rwanda. Since joining WfWI in 2014, more than 30,000 women have graduated from the 12-month social-economic program. Previously, she held several leadership positions at Netherlands Development Organization, spearheading projects related to hygiene and sanitation, and worked for seven years for USAID-funded projects in Decentralization and Health Governance. With a Master’s in Public Health and a Bachelor’s in Demography, Antoinette is passionate about philanthropic work and helping people overcome poverty.
Rwanda

Antoinette Uwimana

Antoinette Uwimana is the Country Director of Women for Women International Rwanda. Since joining WfWI in 2014, more than 30,000 women have graduated from the 12-month social-economic program. Previously, she held several leadership positions at Netherlands Development Organization, spearheading projects related to hygiene and sanitation, and worked for seven years for USAID-funded projects in Decentralization and Health Governance. With a Master’s in Public Health and a Bachelor’s in Demography, Antoinette is passionate about philanthropic work and helping people overcome poverty.
Rwanda

Talking peace events

Talking peace events

Afghanistan ::: Bolivia ::: Iraq ::: Rwanda ::: Afghanistan ::: Bolivia

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