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 Have Pity and Compassion has been doing to fight gender-based violence and women's rights to property within the family...
* * * * * * *
(1) In the last three months, we have served 80 more couples from four sectors Kigarama, Gishweru, Mutara, and Nyabibugu.
(2) As we have finished our training, we are in process of following up and finding out the impact of our training concerning conflicts related to refusing women to have access to family property:
- In Kigarama: We found out that 15 out of 20 trained couples have applied what they learnt from our training. We are still visiting and checking the challenges that they face in order to overcome them.
- In Gishweru: We found out that 16 out of 20 trained couples applied what they learnt from our training, and many have made remarkable positive change. We are still visiting and checking the challenges that they face in order to overcome them.
- In Mutara: Our volunteers in partnership with the National Women Council committee members visited 20 families and there is a great change except in one family.
- In Nyabibugu: all the trainees live in good relationship, except one family that is still having conflicts.
(3) We selected couples that experience domestic violence referring to recommendations from local leaders.
(4) In general, the law about having access to family property among couples, gifts, and succession is now well understood in our community. Now, people are approaching us whenever there is a misunderstanding or conflict in relation to this law in order to ask for our advice.
- There is an old widow in the Umudugudu (village) of Ntongwe in Nyabibugu cell whose brother was denying her to have the rights to their family’s land. The woman reported her case to local leaders, and asked for advice from some of our trainees about what the law says about that case. Finally she defended herself showing articles that allow her to access that land and she got it.
- Mostly, women come to us before going to the leaders in charge, whenever they think that their rights are being violated. We tell them what the law allows them or not. It helps them to understand well whether they need to report their case or not.
- This spring, our trained youth met and talked about the following two main topics:
- The impact of the training that they received
- How to help their families as well as their neighbors in case there is conflicts
That afternoon, youth gave testimonials about conflicts that they have noticed in their community. Then, they shared ideas on how they can proceed, in order to positively contribute to resolve conflicts in their communities. Some were thinking that it is inappropriate to advise their elders; but they all ended up by deciding that no matter how young they are, they should not stay inactive when there is a social issue in their neighborhood. Our trainees especially youth are working hard in advocacy for people whose rights are being violated in our community.
(5) In the next 3 months we are planning to do the following activities:
- To elect a core committee for households in an additional four sectors, so that we can easily conduct workshops with them.
- We are planning to hold trainings and debates in the children’ committee.
- We also plan to organize public discussions in cellules, before starting to perform sketches.
(6) Challenges and how to overcome them:
- When we visited our trainees some couples lied to us saying that they have changed, but when talking to one partner alone we would discover that there was no improvement.
- In some families, violence has strengthened its roots and it will take a long time to change. We have identified some of these families and sent the list to local authorities, so that we can work together to help and prevent those families from tragedies like killing each other, etc.
(7) Wishes and thanksgivings
- We need more instructional materials about reproductive health, because we figured out that youth want training about that topic
- In addition, we need instructional materials about counseling
- It is so difficult to reach our goal of 100% improvement, as women continue to face violence in our community. Today we would appreciate that in these families women's rights about family property access are being respected, and at the same time we would hear that in other new families conflicts are raised.
- We are still working together to face this issue in our community. Our trainees really appreciate your support, and we also thank you for continuing to help us in different ways.
May peace from God stay with you!
* * * * * * *
We at Global Grassroots extend our deepest gratitude for your support in enabling our graduates' venture, Have Pity and Compassion, 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 Have Pity and Compassion and other teams of women change agents throughout Rwanda. Thank you and warm wishes to your friends and families.