Réseau des femmes’ interventions were/are motivated by the findings from the analysis of different research and studies carried out by Reseau des Femmes or by other actors involved in rural development and women’s rights.
- «Réseau des femmes, Recherche sur le profil socio – économique de la femme, Kigali, 1991» (Réseau des Femmes, Research on woman socio-economic profile, Kigali, 1991).
- Réseau des femmes : « Etude sur l’implication des Femmes dans les instances de prise de décision, Kigali, 1999» (Réseau des Femmes : «Study on the involvement of women in decision – making instances, Kigali, 1999 »
- Réseau des Femmes : «Evaluation de l’implication de la femme dans les instances de prise de décision, Kigali, 2003» (Réseau des Femmes : «Evaluation involvement of women in decision-making instances, Kigali, 2003») · Reseau des Femmes jointly with other civil society organizations curried out a study on “Access to Universal Primary Education and education for all in Rwanda, Kigali, 2006”.The research resulted to strengthen local civil society organizations and advocated for equal access to Universal Primary Education and education for all with a particular emphasis on girls (affirmative actions to promote girl education). · A research on “Women access to clean water issues in the lava region, Northern Province”, 2003-2005, was carried out by Reseau des Femmes with technical and financial support from TROCAIRE. It resulted on a project of advocacy for women’s access to drinking water, which lead to construction of water tanks and the rehabilitation of a piped water channel in Shingiro sector, Musanze district.
- Reseau des Femmes: “Baseline rapid assessment on the status and needs of teen mothers in Rwamagana and Burera Districts”; Kigali, 2018
- Reseau des Femmes: “Creating A Relevant Evidence Base Pertaining to Women’s Community Level Experiences With Claiming Their Property and Inheritance Rights”, Kigali, 2012.
During the Genocide committed against the Tutsi in 1994, Réseau des Femmes like other Rwandan organizations lost most of its members. It is in 1995 that a few members of Reseau des Femmes started to rebuild the organization with the same objective of empowering rural women. Reseau des Femmes continued its research and analysis to guide its interventions on advocacy and capacity building to improve socio economic conditions of rural women in the context of post Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The following section summarizes Reseau des Femmes experience and achievements in terms of improving socio economic conditions of women, especially rural women, through programs/projects implementation.
a) Improving socio-economic conditions of vulnerable rural woman
This area reflect the raison d’être for “Réseau des femmes” which contributes to the wellbeing of vulnerable rural women.
- From 2011 to 2014, under funding from UNWOMEN and Swedish Cooperation, Réseau des Femmes Oeuvrant pour le développement Rural, in partnership with 5 Civil Society Organizations implemented the program called “Beyond Raising Awareness Shifting the Power to Enable Women to Access Land in Rwanda” in 15 Districts of Rwanda. These organizations have jointly raised awareness on land law in Rwanda and advocated for women’s access to land ownership in accordance with the law N°43/2013 of June 16th, 2013 on land ownership regime in Rwanda. Today, women are aware that they have rights to land property and they can claim them when necessary.
- From 2011 to 2013, Réseau des Femmes under the financial support of UNWOMEN and Global Fund implemented two projects aimed at improving food security and nutrition for people living with HIV/AIDS, preventing and eradicating HIV / AIDS. Those projects respectively named “Women’s Property and Inheritance Rights Project in the context of HIV/AIDS (WPIR)” and “Single Stream of Funding for HIV / AIDS (SSF / HIV)” were implemented in NYANZA, GASABO and Nyamagabe Districts. Their outcomes were that 66 cooperatives composed of 1,320 beneficiaries, of whom 56% were women, received training in cooperative management, income-generating activities, establishing kitchen garden in their houses, and have received 156 cows and 210 pigs to increase their social and economic living conditions.
- In the same period a new partnership with Nyamagabe District was initiated to increase the economic conditions of vulnerable caretakers of 167 orphan children. They have trained on income generating activities, financial education, project management, and they have also received 88 pigs from the project. This support encouraged the caretakers to continue to care for those orphans and provide them with their basic needs.
- From 2011 to 2013, through the UNWOMEN funded-project “Women’s Property and Inheritance Rights in the context of HIV / AIDS”, Réseau des Femmes advocated for women’s rights to property, and 96 cases related to violation of vulnerable women land rights were resolved. People living with HIV/AIDS who were initially discriminated were reintegrated in their respective communities, and received land to cultivate in cooperatives.
- From 2013 to 2015, the implementation of “Funding Leadership and Opportunity for Women’s (FLOW) Rights to Sustainable Livelihoods” project in Gisagara District funded by Action Aid International, improved economic capacity of 1,200 women grouped in 40 cooperatives. The trainings on income generating activities, best practices in modern agriculture and livestock rearing allowed women and men to increase their production, sell their surplus, and gain money. From the money they get, women have initiated and managed savings and credit groups which help them to increase and sustain their income generating activities.
- From 2015-2018, in partnership with International Alert, Réseau des Femmes and other regional stakeholders in the Great Lakes region (DRC and Burundi) implemented a project aimed at promoting peace consolidation through economic empowerment of women involved in small informal cross-border trade called to” TUSHIRIKI WOTE”: Let’s all participate. This project improved the security of women doing cross border trade not only in their business but also in their families. For example, they have learned their rights, acquired knowledge on customs’ regulations at the boarders and successfully apply them. They have also been organised in savings and credit groups and in different cooperatives which have increased their incomes and the culture of savings and Loans.
b) Women’s leadership and decision making
As the first women promotion organization in Rwanda, Réseau des Femmes has done great work in its advocacy for gender consideration and integration in District Action plans, women’s participation in leadership and decision making process.
- In partnership with Netherlands Development Organization (SNV), from 1997 to 2005, Reseau des femmes implemented the Training Program of PROFORGI and Gender Integration Program (GIP) in Ruhango, Muhanga and Nyanza Districts and those programs influenced the integration of gender in District’ development plans. The gender analysis tools “Guide to gender mainstreaming for planners” were developed and planners refer to it to develop gender sensitive programs.
- From 2003-2005, the “Women Can Do It” program was implemented with funding from Norwegian People Aid (NPA). Female leaders elected in local entities were equipped with skills and confidence in leadership and governance. Today we celebrate that women contribute effectively in leadership positions at all levels.
- The International Women’s Day, celebrated on October 15th each year, was celebrated for the first time in Rwanda in 1997 under the initiative of Réseau des Femmes. From 2009, the Government took over and started to lead the organisation of rural women’s day. Today, we are pleased that, its celebration became a space to recognize women’s achievements, and advocate for persistent issues.
c) Fighting against Gender Based Violence
Gender based violence is among key barriers that hinder women’s participation and development. Reseau des Femmes fights against GBV to improve women’s status.
- In 2006, the project aims at fighting domestic violence against women in Nyamyumba and Rutsiro Districts, in partnership with Norwegian People Aid (NPA) was implemented and involved 400 households. Couples trained were strongly characterized by violence and from their testimonies; the results were an increase of knowledge about GBV. This reduced domestic violence, polygamy and increased dialogue among family members.
- From 2007-2009, in partnership with Action Aid International; Reseau des Femmes implemented in 10 Districts of Rwanda a program “To fight against gender based violence in schools and communities”. The project contributed to the creation of 349 anti-GBV clubs in schools, and 133 clubs for adults in their communities.