The ActionAid country director Josephine Uwamariya has said that they will continue to support activities that empower women economically through a five-year project.
ActionAid’s POWER project is working with local partners to mobilize and organize rural women to raise awareness of and claim their rights, as farmers and carers. Unpaid Care Work, for instance, helps women to have care for families when they are away which is increasing time they spend on work an and productivity. It also addresses Violence Against Women as a cross-cutting issue.
“It is a 5-year project, it has been implemented for two years now and remains for three years to end its work with local women. Funded by the Holland government with aim to empower women especially by rendering them chances to have a role in the development of the country. It is a project that is also aiming at elaborating the inputs of women in development. When women have a role in any development there is always no doubt that they will make achievements,” said Uwamariya, the ActionAid country director.
The POWER project also supports women with tools and knowledge to practice Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture which is ensuring them with longer-term achievements.
In agriculture, women are supplemented with fertilizers to increase their household harvest but also to have a surplus for the market.
“We are also sensitizing them to be able to have a say in the national budget planning and to make analysis of their own activities and impact on what they benefit from. You know that in 2003 African leaders signed an agreement to promote agricultural development and in the last three years we made analysis and realized in the districts we work in, women have role in decision making below 10%, they are at 6%,” she said.
In other activities executed by the central government like facilitation of the locals including women in agriculture, they have a say in the drafting of the agriculture budget.
“We are supporting agriculture and reducing dependence on invaluable work. All women are free to switch to other valuable work like agriculture.We are also supporting women to have rights in the agriculture and domestic development.”
“It is a project that will help women challenge what is not progressing. It is a project that has been implemented for two years and remains with three.”
“From the day ActionAid started working in our district, has done much supportive work like empowering women that have since felt confident to engage in activities that develop them and also has seen children being sent to school,” Francois Ndayisaba, Karongi district mayor said.
ActionAid built schools and agricultural infrastructure. But there are challenges, however, which partners are helping resolve.
“The national budget for agriculture reduced but the district leadership also helps in terracing and the budget is increasing through different partners whose pools of money are used to buy agriculture machines.”
A local woman, Ariane Mukasine in Musanze district said that ActionAid is helpful because she can now have funds to buy livestock and make improvements in her household.
“The money I received from the cooperative saving accounts I bought a livestock and I will buy a second one they give us. The project helped me learn to cook on gas which reduced time wasted on fetching firewood. I also learned to do crop rotation, I used to do mixed farming. We now have early childhood development ECD where the children get appropriate care that they need while at the centre, unlike before when I dug with her on the back.” she said.
Through their saving cooperative, ActionAid helped local women in the district to improve care and to have access to domestic basics like clothing. Every year she gets an estimated Rwf450000 from which she can buy a cow of Rwf70000.
The POWER project also ensures the recognition, redistribution, and reduction of Unpaid Care Work. And sensitizes women, men, and boys about Unpaid Care Work cultural norms, policy,decision makers for increased focus and funding. It is also testing and scaling up interventions to reduce the time spent on Unpaid Care Work e.g energy saving stoves and community childcare.