Help Vulnerable Women Become Leaders of Change

by Global Grassroots
Jan 29, 2008

Project Leader HACIMANA Seraphine and team have reduced the vulnerability of their neighbors

HACIMANA Seraphine - ABANYAMURAVA's Team Leader

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.

Global Grassroots team members, Allison and Gyslaine learning ab
Global Grassroots team members, Allison and Gyslaine learning ab
  • eschnab
    eschnab Truly an amazing story.
    • 9 years ago
    •  · 
  • cath
    cath Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to help support these wonderful brave women. Giving financial help as a tool and respecting that these women truly are the experts in their community and do have the best ideas to make social change is in my opinion the best type of support . I have been looking for a way ... Read more »
    • 9 years ago
    •  · 
  • Tara
    Tara Too many people say there is nothing they can do to help anyone around the world. This story shows that donations DO add up and it is worthwhile to donate whatever you can. We are all in this togehter!
    • 9 years ago
    •  · 
  • Pamela
    Pamela Women in the world have a history of being abused. This includes the USA, but we are fortunate to live in a country that allows freedom of speech and, therefore, allows freedom of many of our women. If we, as women, do not try to help other women in countries less fortunate than ours, then we, as women, are not doing... Read more »
    • 9 years ago
    •  · 
  • Basak
    Basak It is just wonderful to get these updates from the field. Informing where the donations are used not only makes one realize it is possible to make a difference, but it also gives one reason to get more active in getting others involved. Thanks a lot!
    • 9 years ago
    •  · 
  • reishafryzer
    reishafryzer Having recently had the fortunate opportunity to see some of the projects in Rwanda, I can testify that each is remarkable and the difference in not only seen in the communities change but in the eyes and character of the empowered women leading the projects. It can be easy to make a donation but to follow where your money... Read more »
    • 9 years ago
    •  · 
  • Holli
    Holli Thank you for the updates, I am a construction project manager and it is wonderful to see empowered women making social change. Keep of the great work!Holli
    • 9 years ago
    •  · 
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Global Grassroots

Location: Portsmouth, NH - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Gretchen Wallace
President and Founder
Portsmouth, New Hampshire United States
$46,979 raised of $123,000 goal
977 donations
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