Last weekend, millions of people gathered around the world to march for equality, diversity, inclusion and respect for women’s rights as human rights. The goal of the women’s march, was to “build and empower a persistent global network that will organize future campaigns and actions in support of progressive values including women’s rights.” The march was not a US election-specific protest, but rather was meant to galvanize people to defend women’s rights around the world.
At Gardens for Health, empowering women is at the core of our work. Events like the Global Women’s March remind us exactly how important those efforts are. We’re reminded how much work there is to be done for women across the world and for all traditionally marginalized groups. Now, more than ever, there is a need to recognize the difference in opportunities afforded to men and women and push for equality.
Imbalances in opportunities for men and women is a problem in Rwanda and many other developing countries, but it is certainly not limited to the developing world. This is a pervasive problem that effects every society and each one of us. As a result, we all have a responsibility to address it head on and use the overflow of energy spurred by these incredible marches to affect real change.
Our model at GHI is specifically tailored to address the constraints that Rwandan women face, many of which are gendered. “The barriers we see are information and resources and the themes we use to address them are support and partnership,” says GHI Country Director, Anne Wanlund in a speech given at the Belgian Ambassador’s residence. Each of those themes are addressed more in depth below.
In Rwanda, both formal and informal channels of information are less available to women than to their male counterparts. Across the country, women are achieving lower levels of education. As a result, we’re conducting rigorous trainings for women and investing in their education heavily. For 14 weeks we train women in a broad range of topics that affect their health and the health of their families. We give them this information to make better choices for themselves and their children. In addition to nutrition-specific topics, we train the women in our program on a host topics that relate to the complex and multifaceted factors that might make it difficult for families to feed their children. “We train them on gender-based violence and family planning to protect their rights,” Anne notes. “We also train them on listening and communications to be able to better discuss challenges with their partners and neighbors.”
In many homes men often make the decisions about how to allocate resources. Because women are typically the primary caregivers for their children, if they do not have the freedom to make household decisions, their child’s health will be negatively impacted. A number of studies have demonstrated that when women have the authority and ability to make decisions in the household, a higher proportion of family income will go to food, nutrition supplements, and health care. By encouraging a healthy dialogue with their partners, women are empowered to make more decisions in their homes. Anne explains, “We also recognize that access to resources in itself is a serious barrier to women making good decisions about what to feed their families and how to care for them.” So as a result, “we complement the information we give them with the essential resources they need to get on a healthier path.” We provide them with livestock and two seasons of seeds for their home gardens, sur’eau to purify water (contaminated water is a big contributor to malnutrition), soap to promote good hygiene, and a small financial contribution at graduation to give families a boost and encourage good saving practices.
We know that our family’s lives are complicated and the issues women face are often burdened with stigma, affecting their entire family. Our Field Educators are work intimately with each of our partner communities and are “on call” for the women we work with when they need additional assistance. GHI staff also launched a fund that is matched by the organization to provide additional support to families who face challenges outside our organizational scope, like when disaster strikes a family. We also provide child-care support and early childhood development programs during our trainings to ensure that children have a stimulating environment to learn and grow as their mothers do the same, free from distractions.
The women we work with are partners and equal decision makers in our program. “They are treated with respect and dignity, their voices are heard throughout our program and after,” says Anne. She describes how they are the ones who designed and shaped GHI’s method of instruction. They told us what is important for them to know. They’re the ones who help us continue to improve on our model and training materials. And perhaps most importantly, they’re the ones making changes in their homes and communities. Anne adds, “it is our commitment to each other, and our recognition of our unique capabilities and challenges that make this partnership work.”
As we move forward from these Global Women’s Events with a new vigor and hope for the future, let us come together and channel that energy to direct action and continue to support the women and communities that are affecting change across the world. Donate now to support GHI and our work!
Mu cyumweru gishize, ama miliyoni y’abantu kwisi hose barakoraniye mugikorwa cy’urugendo rugamije guharanira uburinganire, guhurira hamwe mumatsinda, no kwubaha uberenganzira bw’umugore nkuko abyemererwa nitegeko rirengera ’ikiremwa muntu. Intego nyamukuru y’urwo rugendo, kwari, “kwubaka no gukomeza umubano kwisi hose uzafasha gutegura ibikorwa byo kwamamaza no kuzamura imyotozo ngorora mubiri, no kuzamura uburenganzira bw’umugore.” Urwo rugendo ntabwo rwari rwateguwe murwego rwo kutavuga rumwe na leta zunze ubumwe z’America, ahubwo kwari ugushishikariza abantu kurengera uburenganzira bw’umugore ku isi hose.
Mu murima w’ubuzima, kuzamura abagore ni ikintu ki turi kumutima mukazi kacu. Ibikorwa bimwe na bimwe nka “Global Women’s March” cyangwa se urugendo mpuzamahanga rw’abagore rutwibutsa uburyo kuzamura umugore ari ingira kamaro. Twibutswa na none akazi kagomba gukorwa kugirango hazamurwe abagore bo ku isi hose na babandi bo muri gakondo bateshejwe agaciro. Bitandukanye na hahise, ubu hakenewe kwibandwa kukinyuranyo cyamahirwe agenerwa abagabo n’abagore mu rwego rwo kurandura ikibazo cy’ubusumbane.
Ubusumbane mu mahirwe agenerwa igitsina gabo n’igitsina goreni ikibazo kigaragara mu Rwanda, ibihugu biri munzira yamajyambere, ariko bitavuzeko kitagaragara no mubihugu byateye imbere. Iki ni ikibazo kibangamira buri sosiyete na buri umwe mu gihugu cya Leta zunze ubumwe z’America. Niyo mpavu twese dufite inshingano mu gukomeza kurandura iki kibazo no gukoresha imbaraga zacu murwego rwo gutuma habaho impinduka ifatika kandi igaragarira buri umwe wese.
Imikorere y’ umurima w’ubuzima (GHI) ifite umwihariko mu kurandura imbogamizi abanyarwandakazi bahura nazo, ahanini ziba zishingiye kugitsina. Umuyobozi w’umurima w’ubuzima kurwego rw’igihugu, Anne Wanlund mu ijambo yavugiye munzi ituwe mo nu mu ambasaderi w’ububiligi yagize ati, “Imbogamizi tubona ni isoko y’ amakuru kandi n’umutungo. Nanone, insanganyatsiko dukoresha mukurandura izo mbogamizi ni ubufasha n’ubufatanyabikorwa.” Buri nsanganyamatsiko yavuzweho muburyo burambuye aha munsi.
Mu Rwanda, igitsina gabo cyitabira gukoresha imiyoboro ijyana amakuru yaba aya gicuti cyangwa aya kiyobozi kurusha igitisina gore. Ahenshi mugihugu usanga urwego rw’uburezi bw’ igitsina gore ruri hasi kurusha igitsina gabo. Niyo mpamvu dutanga amahugurwa ku bagore tukanashyira imbaraga nyinshi mu iterambere ry’uburezi bwabo. Mu byumweru 14 duhugura abagore kunsanganyamatsiko zibafasha kugira ubuzima bwiza n’imiryango yabo. Tubagezaho aya makuru kugirango tubatere ingabo mubitugu mugufata imyanzuro bo ubwabo n’abana babo.
Icyiyongera kunyigisho zijyanye nimirire, duhugura abagore bari muri porogaramu yacu kubijyanye nizindi nsanganyamatsiko zitandukanye zibafasha muguhangana n’imbogamizi bahura nazo bagaburira abana babo. Anne yagize ati, “Na none, turabahugura mu buryo bujyanye no gutega amatwi n’ itumanaho kugirango bashobore kuganira nabafasha ndeste nabaturanyi babo ku bibazo bitandukanye bahura nabyo.”
Mu miryango myinshi, usanga abagabo aribo bafata ibyemezo kubijyanye no gukoresha umutungo w’urugo. Usanga umugore afatwa nk’umubyeyi ushinzwe kwita kumwana. Niba abagore badahawe uburenganzira buhagije mugufata imyanzuro, ibi bizagira ingaruka mbi cyane kubuzima bw’abana babo. Ubushakashatsi bwerekanyeko abagore baramutse bahawe uburenganzira mugufata ibyemezo, ushobora gusanga umubare w’amafaranga menshi akoreshwa kubijyanye nibiryo, ibyunganira ibyo krya, ni bijyanye no kwita kubuzima. Mukuzamura ibiganiro byerekeranye n’ ubuzima mu ngo, abagore bahabwa ubushobozi kuburyo bashobora gufata ibyemezo mungo zabo. Mubusobanuro bwe, Anne yagize ati, “Twabonye ko ikibazo cyo kugira uburenganzira buke kumutungo nacyo ari ikibazo mu kudindiza ubushobozi bw’ umugore mugufata ibyemezo kubijyanye no kugaburira umuryango we ndetse nuburyo a witaho.” Niyo mpamvu, “twongereye inyigisho duhereza abagore dukurikije ibyo bakeneye kugira ngo bajye munzira nziza ijyanye n’ubuzima bwiza.” Tubaha amatungo yo kworora n’ ingemwe mu bihembwe bibiri by’ihinga kugira ngo bakore utirima tw’igikoni mungo zabo, siro yo gutunganya amazi (arimo umwanda ugira urahare mu mirire mibi), isabune kugira ngo bagire isuku n’ umusanzu wamafaranga make mugihe cy’isozwa cy’amahugurwa ku miryango kugirango tubatere umuhati wo kwitabira no kubigisha kwizigamira.
Tuzi neza ko imiryango yacu ibaye ho mu buzima bugoranye kandi n’ibibazo abagore bahura nabyo bibadindizamu iterambere ryabo kandi bikanagira ingaruka ku miryango yabo. Abigisha bacu bo kuri tere bakorana na buri umwe wese mu miryango dufasha kandi bakomeza bahamagara kugirango bumve niba hari ikibazo bafite cyangwa ubufasha bakeneye. Umurima w’ ubuzima washize hanze ikigega gikoranira hafi nikigo kugirango gitange ubufasha bw’ inyongera ku miryango dukorana mugihe bahuye nikibazo hanze, hanze y’ imbibi z’ikigo cyacu. Urugero, nk’igihe umuryango runaka wahuye nikiza. Mu mahugurwa yacu dutanga ubufasha bujyanye no kwita ku abana kugirango babe ahantu heza habafasha no gukura neza nkuko akenshi na kenshi bikorwa nababyeyi babo babarinda ibibarangaza.
Abagore dukorana, nibo bafatanya bikorwa bacu kandi bafite uburenganzira bungana mugufata ibyemezo muri porogaramu yacu. Anne yagize ati, “Barubahwa kandi bahabwa agaciro. Ibyifuzo byabo byitabwaho haba ari muri porogaramu na nyuma yayo.” Anne yasobanuye ko aribo bategura bakanatunganya uburyo bwi myigishirize y’ umurima wubuzima. Nibo batubwira ibibafitiye akamaro bakenye kumenya. Nibo badufasha kuzamura imyigishirize yacu nimitegurire y’ imfasha nyigisho dutanga mugihe cy’ amahugurwa. Kandi icyingezi, nibo bahindura ingo zabo na naho batuye hose. Anne yongeye agira ati, “dushishikajwe na buri umwe wese, kandi no kuzirikana umwahiriko wacu nimbogamizi zituma ubu bufatanyabikorwa bukomeza kubaho.”
Uko tujya imbere, tuva mu myirekeno yabagore, nicyizere cyinshi cyejo hazaza, mureke dushyire hamwe, dushyire ho uwo muyoboro, kandi dushyiremo imbaraga dukora ibikorwa bifatika dufasha abagore bahura nimbogamizi kwisi hose. Ushobora gutanga ubufasha bwawe none aha ufasha umurima wubuzima nimirimo yacu.