Agathe Umuhoza (31 years old) lives in Muko sector, Muzanze District, Rwanda with her husband (32 years old) and three children: two daughters (10 and 8 years old) and a son (4 years old). Her eldest two children attend school while the youngest remains at home. Agathe herself completed Primary school education. She is a beneficiary of an ActionAid programme that supports a group of farmers with farming technology and market linkages. She works in the programme for between five and six hours a day, although this changes with the seasons. Agathe grows vegetables and maize on her farm, and the income that she earns contributes largely to the family income. She and her husband also sell local beer, and sell vegetables in the village market, with which they generate money to cater for the family’s various needs. Agathe walks at least 40 minutes every day to reach her household’s farming site, whereas she can walk up to 20 minutes to get to her bar business.
Agathe has overall responsibility for the care activities at home, but she does receive support from her husband and children. Her husband supports her in particular by doing the cooking, cultivating, and cleaning. In addition, when Agathe is not around due to paid or unpaid work activities, her husband and eldest daughter become responsible for taking care of the children:
‘My husband often takes care of our children when I do not have time. He also buys materials required to make beer and sells vegetables in the market.’
The combination of paid and care work is difficult for Agathe, who works very hard. She sometimes has to do care work and paid work at the same time; she says,
‘When time comes to stop activities at home and go to the bar to sell beer and find that the husband is not there, I have to take care of children if the husband is not around to do it.’
There is no childcare centre in her village and this service is not provided by the ActionAid programme at the moment. As such she carries her youngest son with her if her husband is not at home to take care of him. All of this makes it difficult for Agathe to combine her paid and unpaid work, even though she gets support from her husband. She wakes up early in the morning or goes to sleep late night in order to perform all the activities as planned, and she explains that ‘filling all these requirements and arrangements in family is sometimes difficult because most of the time I feel tired and want a help from another person.’ Her husband also feels that Agathe is overwhelmed and he says that
‘It is true, my wife has more workload; I have realised that. However, I try my best to help her but there are certain activities such as cooking, cleaning which I cannot do better like her.’
Agathe would like the government to provide piped water in her village. She would also like to see the current peace condition prevail in her country forever so that she can continue to develop her business and support her family.