Educate 500 On Women's Property Rights in Rwanda

by Global Grassroots

Dear Friends: 

We are pleased to provide you with a final update on APROFER.  Though this Venture's profile will be retired through Global Giving, it will continue to work to prevent violence against women specifically relating to the issue of property ownership. APROFER also remains focused on the issue women face in their households when they have no right to speak out about family issues and/or control of their family finances.

Currently the team reports that they faced two obstacles described below but nevertheless continue to make progress on their mission.

In their words, " we are running a workshop and public talk on violence with community members. We have helped 30 couples so far since last year, and 20 of them have decided to join land circles groups.  We always meet every the other week. We have a group of 21 women who formed a project that produce cheese. We have a promise of a fund that will help our project to keep running, however, we had a challenge of not given a standard of certificate to be able to supply our cheeses at the markets. That fund is still in process but once we got it will enable us to proceed with certificate and rehabilitate our center.  At the end, we want to recruit more members to expand our business project." 

The team members also reported that they visited the youth couples that they trained from previous training workshops and 4 couples are acting as good example in their communities.

The group reports that their achievements have been hampered not only by the certification issue for their cheese but also by challenges they have faced with their car. They are trying to raise money so that transportation no longer creates an obstacle to their progress.

To those of you who have provided financial support for this group's work, thank you so much. It has made a significant difference.  In spite of the obstacles they have faced ithey continue to implement impressive work in their community.  They will plan to focus on finding sustainable financial solutions that will help them to continue their work of reducing violence in their communities. 



Earlier this summer, APROFER's intensive training program helped 70 trainers train a broader group of 500 or more participants on women’s property rights.  In some cases women move when their husbands die because they lack the knowledge of the laws that educate them on their rights to the property that they have lived on for years. In other cases, property conflicts lead to violence as a way to resolve ownership.  These situations ripple down through families and tear them apart.  This summer, the large attendance of inhabitants from the rural district of Kibuye was so impressive that there has been a movement to take the training program from the village level to the district level in order to reach more people.  To better understand the impact of this work click here.  (

Your generous donation toward this venture allows this much sought after training to expand beyond its current reach. Thank you for your support!


Conflicts Over Property Often Triggers Violence
Conflicts Over Property Often Triggers Violence

In the rural district of Kibuye, the 16 members of APROFER noticed that conflict over property often escalated into violence and resulted in the disenfranchisement of women. Although there are laws in Rwanda regarding women’s property rights, too few people in this community were aware of them.

Through your generous donations, representatives of this team were able to attend the Academy for Conscious Change and receive high-engagement support to develop their social venture into a sustainable, locally owned organization to address this issue.

In the last quarter, this team provided training to 70 individuals on laws regarding property rights, and how to fight against the violence that often ensues from conflicts over property.  Of the 70 people who received this training, 54 of them reported that they had a new understanding of women’s rights to property and to be safe from violence. APROFER is also working at creating new expectations in the next generation, and worked with 20 local youth, engaging them in debate and discussion.

This team is continuing to make home visits to families struggling with conflicts over property. They are using their training to train others and have reached more than 500 to date. We applaud them and invite you to help support more locally-lead initiatives that are building peace and improving the lives of women in post-conflict Africa.  


APROFER has been actively working towards their mission in the last three months.  They provided intensive training on property law, domestic violence and women’s rights to 20 new couples and made multiple follow-up visits to each in order to change problematic behavior. Eight of the couples have been deeply affected by these efforts and are sharing their new knowledge and experiences with their neighbors. An additional six couples have also already shown a remarkable change in behavior but have not yet begun to train others. The remaining six couples who are still living with violence are continuing to receive visits and support from the team.

APROFER also held a public training session on women’s rights with regard to property management and made follow up visits to the homes of each family who attended. They also conducted a follow-up impact study to see where their goals have been achieved and what areas need more focus. According to that study, 60% of their trainees, and among them 80% of the widows, report that they now feel confident about their rights under the law and are ready to teach others in their neighborhood.

Always adapting to meet the needs of their target population, they also compiled a list of the most frequently mentioned obstacles that families are facing so that they can address them when providing future trainings. Among the issues mentioned are lack of health care and family planning, alcoholism and money mismanagement.




In Rwinkwavu, our 70- vulnerable high school girls who took part in the Girls Academy training last November are exceeding our greatest expectations with their passion, commitment and fearlessness. Although their projects were initially intended to take place as a one-time events during their holiday school break, the girls are motivated to develop long-term programs creating change in their communities as well as opportunities for themselves to grow as leaders.  For examples, one of the six teams, called Brave People, works on the issue of homeless youth. They have succeeded in reintegrating seven children back into their families as well as helping three children find families to adopt them.

To read more about these inspiring young women, you can take a look at their page on Global Giving



We believe that engaging women and girls in post-conflict reconstruction is crucial to changing the attitudes that created conflict in the first place. To that end, we’re happy to announce that in January, we initiated our first Academy for Conscious Change via a nine-day residential training program that was held in Gulu, Northern Uganda. We accepted eight venture teams represented by 40 change agents into our first cohort. 

Our participants are predominately vulnerable women affected by the reign of terror of the Lord's Resistance Army in their region. Working diligently, the teams have begun the design of their social ventures working on the following issues: HIV, Divorce, Household Conflict & Overwork, Women's Human Rights, Gender-based Violence, Illiteracy, Advancing Women in Leadership, and `Property Rights. They now are engaged in Phase 2 of our 18-month program to complete the development of their ventures. By building the capacity of women to heal from trauma and advance their own ideas, we hope to support empowerment, healing, and reconciliation. We look forward to learning from their insight and wisdom and helping them create conscious social change in their communities. 

We wish to thank you for your invaluable support this past year.  Following is a quarterly field report direct from the team on the work that the Association de la Promotion de la Femme et l'Enfant Rwandais (APROFER) has been doing to fight gender-based violence and women's rights to property within the family... 

(1) After conducting a baseline survey, we trained 70 people that included 25 couples, 5 widows, 5 future married couples, and 5 local leaders who would spread that knowledge in their neighborhood. 

(2) At the beginning of the training, trainees gave their suggestions about what they wanted to learn, which was incorporated into the training.  The following are the topics on the agenda of the training:

-          Human rights and women’s rights,  in particular

-          Gender equality and couples' relations

-          Responsibilities and rights of legally married partners

-          Domestic violence

 Below are the suggestions from trainees:

-          To talk about the relationship between couples that would prevent domestic violence

-          To have good relationships with neighbors and be patient

-          How a family can work together towards its economic development

-          How to manage family assets and what the law says about succession (property rights after death)

-          To prepare nutritious meals

Then, we met our trainees to see together how to approach families that have experienced violence related to family asset management.

(3) We picked our beneficiaries under recommendations from focal points, local leaders, and churches.


(4) Trained families are being visited by our focal points to measure the impact of the training. Every six months our focal points make a report evaluating how our trainees are implementing what they learnt.


We hold public debates and discussions that lead our communities to work together to improve the well-being of a family. We have in total 60 families that conduct these public debates and discussions, including 30 families that serve as focal points. Focal points are the best couples that have received training. These families train other people in their Umudugudu (village) and cells (neighborhood). There are some who train future married couples in partnership with Nyange Catholic parish.  

(5) The challenges we have faced this quarter include:


-  We did not find all the needed instructional books about family law, but we got six books from “Reseaux de femme”. We are planning to apply for additional books from a local organization called Haguruka.

-  Local people as well as local leaders have asked us to expand our training program in the community; up to the district level, in order to reach more people. We have limited financial means though, but continue to work to raise funds locally.

(6) We are designing a proposal to apply for a grant from INGOBOKA Fund, so that we can continue our work of fighting violence in our community.  INGOBOKA Fund intervenes with fast aid to victims of violence in an emergency, while victims are waiting for other assistance.


We at Global Grassroots extend our deepest gratitude for your support in enabling our graduate's venture, APROFER, to do this important work in educating families, couples and the local community on women's rights to ownership and decision-making over family property, including land, homes and household resources.  This work enables women to care for themselves and protect themselves and their children from vulnerability and violence. 

We invite you to continue to support our work for the benefit of APROFER and other teams of women change agents throughout Rwanda.  Thank you and warm wishes to your friends and families. 


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Organization Information

Global Grassroots

Location: Portsmouth, NH - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Gretchen Wallace
President and Founder
Hanover, New Hampshire United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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