Odette Uwimbabazi is a 37-year-old married woman who lives with her husband and five children: three daughters aged 14, 11 and 8 and two sons aged 9 and 2. All of her daughters and her eldest son attend school. Odette’s highest level of education is Primary school. Odette works in the ActionAid women’s economic empowerment (WEE) programme ‘Security and Economic Empowerment’. She typically works for six hours a day, and walks up to 30 minutes to reach the site. Her husband, Tuyizere Gad (47 years old), does daily wage agricultural labour.
Odette does the care work at home such as cleaning, washing, fetching water, fetching firewood, taking care of the children, and cooking. She does, however, get support from her household members:
My children support me to do care work; the husband does the same except cooking. My husband can take care of my children when [I] am not around. Even some time when we go with my husband, grandfather takes care of our children.
When Odette and Tuyizere Gad both do paid work the children are cared for by their grandfather, who lives a few miles away, as there are no local childcare facilities or crèche. While Odette is at work Tuyizere Gad takes over doing the care work except for the cooking, which Odette explains: ‘He does everything to take [care] of the children like bathing them but he does not cook. Actually, I do most of care activities while caring of the children is the shared responsibility.’ On the occasion that Odette is sick and unable to participate in the WEE programme, her husband takes her place.
The WEE programme members wish to extend their farming activities; however, Odette explains, ‘we do not have sufficient land for cultivation; consequently we pay money to rent land but it is too expensive.’ Odette’s community help each other in collective farming, which she participates in and benefits from.
Odette would like the government to recruit enough veterinary officers in her village. She was given a cow through being a member of a cooperative, but her village has no veterinary officer and the villagers walk a long distance looking for veterinary services. She would also like the government to set sustainable measures to control erosion because crops are affected most times that it rains.