Help us fund our next social project in Rwanda and save 635 girls from rape in a rural primary school's unisex latrine.
Issue: In most primary and secondary schools, there are only unisex latrines. Not only are many girls embarrassed to use the toilet due to insufficient privacy and sanitation, but many are also targets for sexual assault. As a result, girls suffer from poor academic performance and high drop-out rates.
Solution: This 35 member team, Think About the Young Girls, in rural Byimana will build separate sanitation facilities for girls and educate the community about girl's biological needs.
Impact: Once the separate sanitation facilities are built, 635 girls in the Byimana primary school will no longer be targets for sexual assault while going to the bathroom, nor will they be too embarrassed to go to school once they begin menstruation.
We just learned that two of our women project leaders have decided to run for Parliament in the upcoming elections! One of these women is leading a project involving expanding knowledge of property rights among rural women, and the other is working on raising awareness of the rights of women so as to combat domestic violence. Their engagement in national government will help ensure that these same concerns will have consideration among lawmakers and further encourage women’s participation in decision-making at all levels. We anticipate that several more of our women changemakers will decide to participate more actively in local and national government over the next year, as they experience the possibility of creating meaningful social change in their communities.
We have 14 more preparing their project plans for seed funding and implementation, and six more teams in the training we are leading this month. We expect all social ventures will be ready to launch by year end.
We are delighted to share the first project to be launched as part of our 2008 Rwanda Social Project Portfolio. Before year end we anticipate 19 to 24 more social issue organizations will be ready for implementation.
MEG FOUNDATION SCHOOL
THE PROBLEM: A team of 45 men and women have identified women’s involvement in sex work, and in turn exposure to and lack of knowledge about HIV/AIDS as one of the greatest problems facing their community. In Kinamba, Kigali, many women and girls have been left widowed or orphaned from the genocide and have felt forced into prostitution with little to no education and skills to secure other jobs. One team-member states, “After talking to the women, we have helped them to decide to leave prostitution and change their lives, but they need skills training in order to be able to earn a living without prostitution.”
THE SOLUTION: To help vulnerable women earn a sustainable living without exposing themselves to HIV/AIDS through prostitution, the MEG Foundation School plans to offer training in tailoring, workshops on HIV/AIDS prevention and reproductive health as well as literacy and English classes.
THE IMPACT: In year one, the MEG Foundation School will provide 60 prostitutes a sustainable and healthy alternative for themselves and their families.
Please make a donation today in support of our 2008 Rwanda Social Project Portfolio and Conscious Social Change Program.
During Global Grassroots' most recent trip to Rwanda in January, we visited Gahanga, a community on the outskirts of mountainous Kigali where project leader HACIMANA Seraphine and the ABANYAMURAVA team gathered their neighbors to speak with us about their first water delivery earlier that week.
Gahanga was formerly forced to rely upon a dirty water source located at the bottom of the valley. Before attending Global Grassroots training, Seraphine noticed that not only was the two-hour water collection too time intensive for her busy community, it often left those physically disabled or infected with HIV from the genocide relying on men with bicycles to collect water in exchange for money or sex. After graduating from our training, Serpahine and her fellow team members realized that they had the power to combat this issue head-on.
This dedicated group of 17 women decided to design a water tank project that could reach over 60 households, including Gahanga’s most vulnerable neighbors by providing clean, reliable and affordable water. However, the quickly-rising price of cement and professional labor meant that our original Global Grassroots grant would no longer cover the construction of the tank foundation. Instead of abandoning their project, ABANYAMURAVA put their newly-learned creative resourcing skills to work and decided to sacrifice their time and wages to come together and build the foundation themselves. They were then able to rely upon the newly designed rain-water collectors during rainy season, and saved what was necessary so that they could ensure their first water delivery once dry season began.
During our visit, community members shared with us that they were incredibly grateful for the water tank. It meant that they no longer had to forfeit part of their busy day to make the arduous journey down the valley to only return with dirty water. Children were now on-time for school and mothers had enough water to cook for their families throughout the day. We also learned that people were now able to clean their houses and themselves much more often, which they told us greatly improved their quality of everyday life. We were especially pleased to hear that with the new tank, many women were no longer sexually exploited because of their need for water.
What was most thrilling to see, was the pride exhibited by these women. With the help of Global Grassroots, these community members learned to properly diagnose an issue and found the solution to promote social change on their own. Seraphine, who is married with seven children at the age of 38, has been approached by several individuals requesting that she share her skills and guidance so that they too may combat issues within their own communities.
We are incredibly proud of the ABANYAMURAVA team who has proven the validity of their project name in Kinyarwanda. These “hard workers” have truly shown us that they are willing to sacrifice in the spirit of improving their community.
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President and Founder