Many of Global Grassroots' ventures are tackling difficult societal quandries with the courage and conviction that they can change their communities for the better. This quarter, we are focusing on United People, a team of 7 Rwandan women.
Global Grassroots' venture team, United People, seeks to reduce domestic violence by providing home visits and legal training to both men and women in their rural community or Byimana. They will personally visit, monitor and evaluate the homes of troubled couples and talk to them about peaceful conflict resolution. To change cultural norms in the next generation they will also provide training to couples preparing for marriage. United People will also foster strategic partnerships with legal experts to aid them in the creation of a curriculum on family law, health, reproduction and family planning. Finally, they will provide sewing lessons to women to help them earn their own income, reduce economic vulnerability and increase the level of respect they receive from their husbands.
United People hopes to decrease spousal abuse, lead more women to utilize family planning, and give women more power in their own households. They launched their venture in January and over 12 months, they aim to:
- Train 210 married couples in gender equity, reproductive health, family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention
- Reduce domestic violence community wide from 50 to 25%
- Reduce the amount of women who leave their families due to physical and emotional abuse from 50 to 25%
Initial results are encouraging. They report that over the past 3 months they worked closely with thirty-two people. They selected these individuals based on their income capacity and the amount of domestic violence they knew was taking place. Specifically they:
- Visited two families in conflict to help them solve their domestic disputes.
- Followed up with seven families who received training in domestic violence issues to see how they were progressing.
- Recruited 5 women to participate in a tailoring program to help them generate income to lesson their economic vulnerability and thus, risk of violence.
- Worked with 9 families to help launch income generating projects raising pigs with a plan of sharing piglets with other community members once they reproduce.
The challenges the team has faced have pushed the members of United People to utilize their training in creative problem solving and local resourcing. Some visits with families in conflict were initially unsuccessful because men were unwilling to meet them. They resolved this challenge by recruiting friends of these particular men to serve as liaisons in getting the men to rejoin their families. They also worked to pool resources for unanticipated medical expenses for their piggery project. Members of the team have already trained others in tailoring and are now filling orders and earning income to support their mission of reducing domestic violence from the neighborhood community.
Not only has this venture begun to transform domestic violence for dozens of families in the community of Byimana, but it has given its members their first opportunity to act as change leaders in their community. Your support enables Global Grassroots to provide the training and resources to catalzye these grassroots change agents. We extend our deepest gratitude and invite you to continue to support our work with women and girls in Rwanda.