One of Rwanda’s principal goals of Vision 2020 is to decrease the population dependent on agricultural activities to about 50% by the year 2020. Taking into account the current population growth, this would mean creating 2.2 million jobs in the off-farm sector by 2020 as a means of reducing poverty and vulnerability of Rwanda’s population.
There is need to create more employment opportunities especially for those who are currently unemployed; those who are underemployed; and those who are classified as the working poor-the vulnerable groups.
Strive Foundation Rwanda’s flagship Women’s Economic Empowerment Program is a big focus of the organization’s programmatic activities that focus mainly on capacity building-allowing vulnerable women to help themselves out of poverty and extreme susceptibility. For Strive Foundation Rwanda, women empowerment is about making it possible for vulnerable women in the communities to participate fully in the society through creation of off-farm jobs to fight poverty.
Empowerment is important for every vulnerable woman regardless of age. They deserve to live a life that they choose and according to the terms that are right for them. Strive Foundation Rwanda believes that “When women are able to meaningfully participate in society their needs and rights will be heard and enforced. This means women’s safety and welfare will improve and their ability to be in control of their own lives will increase. This will have a flow on effect to children as their well-being is always naturally connected to the well-being of women.”
Program vision and mission statement
Our vision for women’s economic empowerment in Rwanda is to advance the lives of vulnerable women through improving access to equal economic opportunity. Our mission is to focus our efforts on promoting the social and economical development of Rwandan vulnerable women and girl’s to improve their rights protection, reduce gender based violence and advancing women’s economic status.
Program aims and objectives
Our aims for the women’s economic empowerment program are:
- To facilitate effective cooperative formation amongst vulnerable women through enhancing the skills and knowledge for cooperative management, sustainability, marketing and access to technology and services in order to enhance their economic opportunity
- To enhance the capacity of vulnerable women for entrepreneurship and the capitalization and management of income generating activities
- To improve access to business and financial services as well as SACCO for vulnerable women
- To improve the capabilities of vulnerable women to engage in formal cross border trade effectively within the East African Community market through training in business management, vocational skills and entrepreneurship.
Partners in virtue
Since 2010, SFR has partnered with Human Help Network (Germany) to provide income generating activities, cooperative management training, skills and educational support to some of the most vulnerable women.
Currently Strive Foundation Rwanda supports vulnerable women in cooperatives that range in their productive capacities from bricklaying to fish farming, beekeeping, weaving and rice growing.
We also support and encourage cooperatives to initiate rotating credit; saving and credit fund, and in some cases, create emergency support funds. This ultimately contributes to the creation of collective economic security for vulnerable women and their families.
Supported projects for Amahoro Cooperative in Huye district
Strive Foundation Rwanda supports Amahoro cooperative that rears fish and grows vegetables for their economic activity in Mukura sector, Huye district. The cooperative which also keeps cattle, among its activities, was established in 2009 and today has 36 members who have come together with a common goal of fighting poverty and improving their livelihood.
The fish project was initiated on the 25th October 2017. Strive Foundation Rwanda, in partnership with Human Help Network, supported the cooperative by constructing for them water reservoirs, bought 4000 fish fingerlings, and buys fish food.
When we took up the initiative to support Amahoro cooperative, we immediately started funding them in different activities like building a big canalization which reserves water for fish ponds, brought a social worker to supervise and follow up every activity supported by Strive Foundation Rwanda. We built the canal of 72 meters to serve 4 fish ponds.
Besides, Strive Foundation Rwanda has continuously provided capacity building to the cooperative members through trainings in fish farming techniques, cooperative management, literacy (reading and writing), financial management and marketing.
Here the cooperative members contribute by draining, rehabilitating the 4 fish ponds and paying the security guard. The land also belongs to the cooperative.
The project is still at its implementation stage as the fish are still growing until when impact and results will be realized in August 2018 when the cooperative expects to have its first harvest of about 60,000 grown fish.
Strive Foundation Rwanda still supported Amahoro cooperative diary activities by building kraals (cow sheds), provided a variety of agricultural materials and built a latrine at the cooperative head premises.
Supported projects for Ingoro Ihuje Ababyeyi Cooperative in Huye district
Ingoro Ihuza Ababyeyi cooperative in Tumba, sector in Huye district is comprised vulnerable single mothers. The cooperative has a variety of economic activities including brick laying, and farming where they grow rice and vegetables. The cooperative started in 2009 and today it comprises of 32 members.
SFR in partnership with Human Help Network supported the cooperative with startup capital which they have used very well and currently the cooperative proudly operates with a working capital worth Rfw 11 million.
Strive Foundation Rwanda has so far supported the cooperative with Financial assistance worth 80,000 Euros (RFW 80 million). The money has been used to purchase land, construct office and conference room (administration block), shade where bricks are made from, brick kiln for burning bricks, plus a road and a bridge leading to the cooperative premises. Other finances were used to buy equipments including a generator, office equipment and several brick laying materials.
Besides Financial support, Strive Foundation Rwanda provided capacity building through training to the cooperative members in bricklaying techniques, cooperative management, literacy (reading and writing), financial management and marketing.
The cooperative has grown into a big organization with a sound business that is growing progressively. The cooperative working has increased from RFW 7 million to RFW 11 million today. Strive Foundation Rwanda has helped the cooperative members to help themselves out of poverty and vulnerability.