It is a joy for at least 6,000 women grouped in credit and saving groups in Nyaruguru, Gisagara, Nyanza, Karongi and Musanze districts after saving Rwf152 million last year from a small start-up women empowerment project to build their farming resilience against climate.
These women have been practicing a climate resilient agriculture since 2016 that benefited them Rwf 108 million by then from the Rwf 3 billion five-year project to strengthen their agriculture.
The project was initiated by ActionAid under the theme “Promoting opportunities for women empowerment and rights” and has presented its two-year achievements on last Friday.
It will last until 2020 in four countries of Rwanda, Ghana, Bangladesh and Pakistan supporting 21,000 women in general.
The project which is expected to cost 3 million Euros (approx. Rwf3bn) in Rwanda is addressing unpaid care work and increasing productivity and is linking women farmers to markets through climate resilient sustainable agriculture according to Josephine Irene Uwamariya, the ActionAid country Director in Rwanda.
Women strive for the well-being of their communities/File.
“The project is very meaningful as it seeks to address issues that affect’s women’s efforts in dedicating their time to income generating activities,” Uwamariya noted, adding that It enhances interventions such as access to water at homes, using cooking gas, establishing early childhood development centers that reduce unpaid care works.
“These include spending long time in collecting firewood, searching for water, keeping after the children,” she said.
At least 6,000 women and 1,000 men grouped in 200 credit and saving groups got Rwf21 million credit since 2016 where savings have amounted to Rwf152 million so far as stated by a progressive report.
The project provided 566 rainwater harvesting tanks to women to help them access to water. It also gave biogas to 81 households, cooking gas to 36 households, child care services to 1,174 households, solar panels to 80 households, electricity supply to 208 households, water taps to 55 households while for resilient agriculture it provided seeds, 484 cows,211 goats and pigs.
These interventions scaled up women’s capacity to advance their communities and these women will never spend on unpaid care work as it reduced from 7 hours in 2016 to 5.3 hours in 2017 while time allocated to productive work increased from 5,7 hours to 7.7 hours .
Uwamariya said ,“the supporting activities continue where for instance in 2018 Rwf28 million will be spent on providing cooking stoves while training will be enhanced for women to develop business ideas, establish selling points for agriculture produce and make the groups into licensed cooperatives,”
Aliane Mukasine, one of the women caring for three children in Musanze district said her life has improved since 2016.
“I used to dig my land by mixing all crops and without fertilizing. Today agriculture has improved my life. I am fed on the practice and I bought two goats at Rwf60, 000 from the savings. I am also using cooking gas and have taken my kids to early childhood development center which allows me to run my activities well. I target to buy another cow soon,” she said.
Solange Umutesi, the Vice Mayor in charge of Social Affairs in Nyanza district said the group of supported women should be models for other farmers so as to sustain the projects results.
The Mayor of Karongi district, Francois Ndayisaba said the contribution of partners such the current project plays a significant role in filling districts’ budget gaps.
According to Aime Nshimiyimana, Director of Finance and Administration in Gisagara distric, the project’s action plans have been integrated into districts’ performance contracts calling for other stakeholders to target critical areas such as agriculture.
The five districts that benefitted from the project said the women’s life improvement has catalyzed their income generation for social security that includes health insurance, eradicating malnutrition eradication as well as hygiene and sanitation.
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