Women's Economic Empowerment in Rwanda
In Rwanda there is overwhelming evidence that women contribute to economic development in various ways and are the primary caregivers in households.
In recent years significant steps have been made by government and other organisations to promote women’s economic empowerment. This has redefined their roles and responsibilities in families and communities. Balancing paid work and unpaid care responsibilities is a daunting task for most women in Rwanda.
ActionAid Rwanda’s unpaid care work stories of change
ActionAid’s unpaid care work (UCW) Stories of Change are a critical learning tool, which help in understanding how and why change happens in the places where ActionAid works. The following UCW Stories of Change come from ActionAid Rwanda’s Women’s Rights to Sustainable Livelihoods project.
ActionAid International's Women’s Rights to Sustainable Livelihoods project aims to pilot practical solutions to reduce the unpaid care work of women smallholder farmers, increase their access to, and control over, food and resources, and improve the environment in which they farm.
As one of the things women farmers wanted in order to reduce their unpaid work was tanks for rainwater, harvesting stories from Mukantwali Euphrasie and Immaculee Bugenimana reveal the impact this has had on reducing their daily workload, with Immaculee’s story further showing how unpaid care work impacts on elderly women.
Read Mukantwali Euphrasie and Immaculee Bugenimana’s stories to find out more:
Sustainable livelihoods project supports women to reduce unpaid care work
Kibirizi Sector is a rural area located in Gisagara District, in the Southern Province of Rwanda. The area has very limited land for farming and suffers from irregular rainfall and droughts. These climactic conditions affect crop yields, leading to food insecurity and malnutrition - particularly for women and children.
Traditional patriarchal structures in Rwanda imply that household activities - such as cooking, sewing, collecting firewood and water, and childcare - are solely carried out by women. This work is often not visible, so is not recognized or redistributed at family, community and national levels. In Kibirizi Sector, the lack of childcare centres prevented women from taking part in productive farming and other income-generating, political and social activities.
Abishyizehamwe is a women smallholder farmers’ group that was formed in March 2013 to mobilize community women for the promotion of sustainable agriculture practices. The group was formed under the ActionAid Fund Leadership Opportunities for Women (FLOW) project. Abishyizehamwe opened an Early Childhood Development Centre to enable women to have more time to take part in income generating activities, and improve their families’ livelihoods.
Leoncie Niyonsenga, a 40-year-old mother, has been a member of Abishyizehamwe since its inception in 2013. Leoncie’s major occupation is farming, but prior to the intervention of this project she spent almost of her time caring for her six children, which prevented her from engaging in activities to improve her family’s livelihood.
This document tells Leoncie's story and explains more about how Abishyizehamwe and the FLOW project has impacted on the community.
Research in Rwanda
Our analysis will contribute to recommendations about how a ‘double boon’ can be created - decent paid work that provides support for unpaid care work responsibilities, along with removal of barriers to entry and retention in the labour market.
IDS is working in partnership with BRAC-REU and ActionAid Rwanda to ensure uptake of our findings across organisations and beyond the project, so that it feeds directly back into women's economic empowerment programmes and interventions in Rwanda. We are also researching the social organisation of care and the balance between paid work and unpaid care work.
Our research will seek to learn from the experience of women benefiting from a government-led programme in Huye district, and those participating in an ActionAid inititiave.
The Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP) is implemented by the Ministry of Local Government and is envisaged as a safety net by linking poor people to the broader market. Both women and men in poor households are benefiting from the programme. The programme has three components: public works, direct support and the Ubudehe credit scheme.
Improving food security and economic opportunities for women and their families in Muko Sector is implemented by ActionAid Rwanda. It supports 1500 disadvantaged smallholder farmers to improve their food security and gain greater economic empowerment through increased agricultural profitability.
Sustainable development and economic empowerment
Fund Leadership Opportunities for Women (FLOW) is a women's economic empowerment project implemented by ActionAid and partners in Rwanda with financial support from the Netherlands government. It's being implemented in Nyanza and Gisagara districts supporting 2,400 vulnerable women with sustainable agriculture alternatives to spur their economic growth.
12.09.16Participatory methods in mixed methods research – a methodological treasure
ISST will host a five day methodology workshop in Delhi, from Monday 22 until Friday 26 June, bringing the teams from the Institute of Development Studies, ISST and BRAC-REU together to develop a detailed methodology and data collection tools.
Researchers on balancing unpaid care and paid work will meet at the Institute of Developments studies from 28 April to 1 May 2015. The inception workshop will discuss research questions, methods and how each country team will take their work forward. The project is part of the GrOW programme.