Jacqueline Uwase is 33 years old and lives with her husband (aged 50) and their four children in Musanze District, Rwanda. Jacqueline’s highest level of education is Primary and her two eldest children (aged 13 and 8) attend school. She participates in ActionAid’s Women’s Economic Empowerment programme and is a member of a crop cooperative, which mainly grows vegetables and fruit. Jacqueline typically works for five hours a day in her main paid job. Her husband does agricultural work, either on a compound or on their own land.
Jacqueline is responsible for all care activities at home such as cooking, fetching water, finding fodder for livestock, and caring for children. Jacqueline’s eldest son supports her in collecting firewood, fetching water and feeding livestock, and her husband also helps out, particularly in finding fodder for livestock. Unlike many other workplaces in the area, her place of work does offer childcare facilities.
Combining paid and unpaid work is overwhelming for Jacqueline and prevents her from effectively doing her care activities, especially when she gets home late. She says,
‘the paid work I do includes working on others’ farms and participating in construction activities in the village. Sometimes I work extra hours depending on the employer and type of work.’
Participating in paid work helps Jacqueline to get money to support her family. She explains, ‘the family gets worried when I have no paid work because they know we will not manage all household needs.’
Jacqueline finds it difficult to balance paid and unpaid care work and she is tired most of the time. She goes to bed late at night or fails to complete her care activities when her work at home coincides with work in the cooperative. Her husband recognises that Jacqueline is overworked, explaining: ‘I have realised that my wife has [a much bigger] workload than [I] expected, and at times this affects her health.’
Jacqueline’s village lacks clean water. To improve her situation she wants the government to supply clean water to the village and also reduce the cost of electricity.