The House of Peace and Reconciliation in Kigali: Support to Women’s Enterpreneurship

Project location: RWANDA, District of Kicukiro, Sectors of Busanza and Gatenga
Project start date: December 2013 - Project end date: December 2014
Project number: 2013-049
Beneficiary: Progetto Rwanda ONLUS

 

The House of Peace and Reconciliation is a training center and meeting point in Kicukiro, one of the poorest districts of Kigali, capital of Rwanda: the present project arises from the need to upgrade its activities.
The main purpose is to involve women coming from the districts of Busanza and Gatenga too in the training activities provided by the House of Peace and Reconciliation. Since these districts are in the surroundings of Kicukiro, many women have been compelled to renounce to the training courses because of the noticeable distance. Particularly, Progetto Rwanda Onlus is willing to provide training courses (which are actually held at the House of Peace and Reconciliation) directly in the sectors of Busanza and Gatenga. This way, the Organization will meet the needs of women who can't afford the cost of transports or can't reach the House.
The current project is aimed to the District of Kicukiro, in Kigali, Capital of Rwanda, small African State in the Great Lakes Region.
Extreme poverty still exists in this Country, besides the noticeable economic development supported by national strategies and international aids.
According to the last Human Development Report included in the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) Rwanda is ranked 166 out of 187 countries. Rwandan population reaches 11 milion, and women represent the majority of it (53%); the population density is 431/km2, ranks second in the African Population Density chart and 25th in the World one.

Under-5 mortality is 54 deaths per 1000 live births and life expectancy is short (55 years), mainly due to the hard social and health conditions.
In addition to that, there's the dramatic toll of genocide which wrecked the Country, in 1994: a 100-day conflict, one of the most violent in History.
About one million of Rwandan tutsi and moderate hutu were brutally murdered by machete and granades, or clubbed to death by the regular army and the pro-government troops interhamwe, composed by hutu willing to exterminate tutsi.
The 1996 United Nation Report points out the horrific circumstance of rape of women, mainly tutsi but also hutu, convicted of marrying tutsi or of not taking part to the genocide. It's estimate that about 250 to 500 thousands women were victims of rape. According to the report published in December 1999 by the Rwandan Association A.V.E.G.A (Association of the Widows of Genocide), about 70% of them contracted H.I.V. The report proves that rape was sistematically used as a weapon, and cruelly perpetrated in order to physically and psychologically defeat women, to umiliate and isolate them from their relatives and from the family and community context.
In spite of this, Rwandan women are today playing a key role both in rebuilding the country and in the painful process of national reconciliation and, in doing so, they are trying to piece together the remnants of a society which has been torn apart. Almost 19 years have passed since the genocide was perpetrated, but these processes are still hard to develop, also because of the poverty level; the dramatic socio-economic situation doesn't help women overcoming psychological and physical traumas.
Besides the Government policies supporting women's empowerment (after the genocide, women made up 70% of Rwanda's remaining total population) for which Rwanda is now ranked first in terms of women representation in Parliament (56% of seats are filled by women), women, particularly young mothers and widows, are often deprivated of any kind of education and are excluded from work.

Rwandan politicies developed too quickly and are not entrenched yet in Rwandan patrilineal society, where woman's role is inferior, both in the family and in society. Furthermore, war psychologically affected women, not only physically, and many of them suffer from post-traumatic disorders.
The project implies the upgrade of the House of Peace and Reconciliation's activities, aimed to intolve women from the District of Kicukiro too, who can't reach the House of Peace and Reconciliation because of their poor living conditions.
Specifically, training courses are going to be provided directly in the Areas of Gatenga and Busanza, where women showed particular interest in them. These women are in fact compelled to renounce course attendance, mainly because of their precarious economic situation.

In particular:
Transport prices are high and this expenditure item would have repercussions on the family on the long run;
It takes a long time to walk to the House of Peace (the Areas of Gatenga and Busanza are 10 kms far) and it would affect the time devoted to the housewoks and to the activities necessary to the women's families' sustenance.
We must draw attention on the fact that many women living in the Areas of Gatenga and Busanza are head of numerous families (the average number of children per woman is 5) and they often have problems bearing school and health costs for the whole family.
In light of what we have shown up to this point, the project means to improve the beneficiaries' socio-economic conditions, providing training courses and specialist seminars in order to offer concrete means to face and defeat poverty, as well as useful skills for the world of work.
The courses will deal with women's empowerment in Rwanda, women ‘senterpreneurship, and with the organization and management of a cooperative.
The Project is aimed to achieve the following results:
Specifically - increase of the socio-economic situation in women coming from the district of Gatenga and Busanza, and in their families; this condition is necessary to allow a sustainable development for the whole district of Kicukiro;
Generally - contribution to the decrease of poverty in the population of the District of Kicukiro;
Reinforcement of Rwandan women's empowerment;
Contribuite to the increase of training services provided to the communities of the District of Kicukiro;
Contribution to the local sustainable development.

The Nando Peretti Foundation has awarded a grant for this project.
The project includes training courses, divided in three consecutive phases:
- Seminar about Women Empowerment, dealing with gender rights, particularly with abuse at home, property and succession rights;
- Women's Enterpreneurship training course;
- Seminar about Organization and Management of a Cooperative.

The service will be provided in four versions (two for each field); 30 women will take part in each of them. The training course will be provided to 120 women, in total.
Furthermore, at the end of the training course, 20 women - the most deserving, 10 per field, will be chosen to start two cooperatives dealing with mushroom cultivation and pigs breeding respectively.
These activities are feasable in small spaces and generate convenient incomes - reasons why the Organization chose them.
The project implies 7 phases, explained hereafter.
1) Project start-up
2) Seminar about Women's Empowerment repeated for each
3) Women's Enterpreneurship training course group of women
4) Seminar about the Cooperative System
5) Evaluation and selection of the women who will realize
the cooperative
6) Cooperative start-up
7) Monitoring and evaluation

The three phases devoted to seminars and training courses will be repeated in 4 versions, one for each group.

Phase 1: Project Start up
The start-up phase will be devoted to select the trainers and to schedule the training courses. Specifically:
- Trainer selection for the Seminar about Women's Empowerment;
- Detailed schedule of the Seminar about Women's Empowerment;
- Trainer selection for the Women's Enterpreneurship training course;
- Detailed schedule of the Women's Enterpreneurship training course;
- Trainer selection for the Seminar about the Cooperative System;
- Detailed schedule of the Seminar about the Cooperative System;
- Selection of 60 beneficiaries of the project from the District of Busanza and partition in two groups of 30 each.
- Selection of 60 beneficiaries of the project from the District of Gatenga and partition in two groups of 30 each.
The start-up phase will last one month; the trainer selection will take place at the House of Peace and Reconciliation, in Kicukiro; beneficiaries selection will take place in the District bases of Busanza and Gatenga.

The selection board will be composed by:
- The coordinator of the House of Peace and Reconciliation
- The responsible for the project
- One representative for each District
- One representative for the District of Kicukiro

Phase 2: Seminar about Women's Empowerment
The seminar implies a series of meetings dealing with gender rights, particularly with abuse at home, property and succession rights, and Rwandan laws dealing with the above mentioned topics will be explained. The beneficiaries will be given useful aknowledgement to increase awarness of their rights.

The seminar will be repeated in 4 versions, one for each group. Each edition will last 18 hours and will take place in the base of the two sectors involved.

Phase 3: Women Enterpreneurship training course
The project is scheduled in two modules. The first one deals with theorethical notions about the meaning of enterprise and about being enterpreneuse in Rwanda. It will offer the beneficiaries the means to evaluate their competencences, and to understand chances and risks involved in starting business, both individual and collective.
A training module will follow: it will be aimed to point out useful modalities and techniques to realize a generating incomes activity, studying products and markets, establishing prices, promoting the products and chosing the selling place.
Moreover, the course will teach management of general tax accounting for enterpreneurial activities (issuing receipts and invoices, ordering goods, shipping notes, updating a cash journal, etc.).

The course will be repeated in 4 versions, one for each group. Each edition will last 3 months and will take place in the base of the two sectors involved.

Phase 4: Seminar about Cooperative System
The project is scheduled in two modules.
Module 1 - The Fundamental Law for Cooperatives in Rwanda: throughout the module, the trainer will explain the beneficiaries how to create and register a cooperative. He will describe the rules to adhere to it and to resign, through the applicable regulations of the Country.
Module 2 - Management of a Cooperative: throughout the module, themes dealing with management of financial and material resources will be debated. The use of cash journal, bank account , list of expenses and inventory will be explained as well as management of human resources.

The course will be repeated in 4 versions, one for each group. Each edition will last 3 days and will take place in the base of the two sectors involved.


Phase 5: Evaluation and selection of the women who will realize the cooperative
At the end of seminars and training courses, the beneficiaries will be evaluated through a specific worksheet aimed to evaluate the comprehension and learning of the course contents.
Trainer will be submitted evaluation sheets and will select 5 women per group (10 women per field), 20 women in total, who will take part to the opening of the two cooperatives implied.

Phase 6: Cooperatives start-up
At the end of the the courses, a specilist trainer will support the selectioned women throughout the realization of the cooperatives implied (mushroom colture and pigs breeding). The teacher will help the women doing practics and dealing with bureaucracy, in order to register and activate the cooperatives themselves.
The Cooperative start-up phase will last 2 months.

Phase 7: Monitoring and Evaluation
The responsible for the project will evaluate it in itinere and ex post, in order to monitor and verify the coherence of the expenses, the achievements and aims proposed, to guarantee the project's success.

The project's anticipated achievements can be summed up as follows:
- increase in awarness of legal rights in 120 women at risk for social vulnerability in districts of Busanza and Gatenga; acquisition of suitable means to claim their rights;
- 120 women trained about women's enterpreneurship and about work inclusion;
- 120 at risk for social vulnerability trained to organize and manage a cooperative;
Improving of the economic status in 20 women working in the two cooperatives, and in their families.


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