ACORD Rwanda’s strategy focuses on strengthening the livelihoods of vulnerable rural populations and their capacity to advocate for their rights and achieve food sovereignty. ACORD Rwanda puts gender equality and women’s economic empowerment at the centre of efforts to achieve sustainable development and food sovereignty.
With support from the Dutch Government’s FLOW programme, rural women have accessed land based economic opportunities increasing incomes and food security.
One successful case is that of Mukamugema from Kamonyi district, a member of a social forum supported by ACORD through the FLOW programme. Through the support, her group has been able to increase production, sell at scale and find better prices and markets for their produce.
“The market for the red onions is very critical for us. Since ACORD gave us the improved onion seeds, we now work to reach bigger markets. The first harvest of 600kg was sold at 332,000 Frw. We are now planning to buy more land to respond to the demand for red onions. We put our savings in a SACCO which enabled us to get a loan of 1,300,000 Frw. With this loan, each member of our ihuriro could get a mattress. We are almost at the completion of the reimbursement of the loan and we will continue to collaborate with the SACCO. For us rural women, we could not dream of sleeping on a mattress, but now it is a reality in our families. We can now produce, sell and save seeds for the next planting season. We now understand that the red onion is a sustainable source of income and wealth for our families.”
Rural women are engaged in value chain production of Irish potatoes, pineapples, red onions, banana and cassava.
The project has reached 140 women through technical training and provision of improved agriculture inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and small livestock.
“I used to produce only five tonnes on my land, but with the provision of improved seeds and the training, today I get 20 tonnes per hectare of Irish potatoes on my land,” says Nyirabasirimu Consolée from Musanze district, Busogo sector. “Today I have no problem to pay school fees for my children and I pay the health insurance for my family on time. We have enough food for the family and the neighbours respect me for what I have achieved.”
A group for rural women was initiated to tackle sexual and gender-based violence.
The project was successful in setting up and training a team of women in the four districts of Musanze, Bugesera, Ngororero and Kamonyi. This group is helping in the fight against domestic violence and economic injustices. They are also engaged in debates on agricultural and land policies and practices, reflecting on how rural women can access land-based economic opportunities. They have attended meetings with the decision makers at district level and were also able to meet women parliamentarians from their district to discuss the support needed and how to enhance their voices on sexual and gender-based issues.
Rural women have participated in national debates on land and agriculture policies The FLOW programme has helped rural women to analyse how their needs are addressed in agriculture and land policies and identify opportunities for improvement. This is done through capacity building and familiarisation with land and agricultural policies and the stakes for rural women. As a result, these women are calling for land tenure security and access to, control over and ownership of resources, including credit, natural resources, information and technology that can improve productivity.
Rural women have been consulted and engaged in the post-2015 development agenda and the Beijing + 20 review process.
The 140 women actors of change participated in the citizen-driven workshops organized by ACORD in four districts where they raised their voice on issues of priorities to include in the post 2015 agenda. Their priorities, aspirations and hopes are captured in the report “African Women and Girls at the Grassroots – Their say on their world post-2015”. The women were also involved in the consultation and review of the Beijing +20 workshops in Rwanda.