GENDER AND COMMUNITY AWARENESS
The gender and community awareness program focuses on empowering women and strengthening community ties for women. In Rwanda, historically gender inequality has been a problem as families would send boys to school before girls when funds were limited. Additionally, girls have to work much harder to have the same opportunities as boys. However, our organization strives to change the narrative about vulnerabilities and empower women and girls. Girls who cannot go to school and are on the street are exposed to gender violence and have a higher risk of teen pregnancy. This program promotes a community wide discussion about homosexuality, sexual violence, gender equality, and other topics that are considered taboo in Rwandan culture. The program also includes a collective fund that is created by the mothers of children who participate in the organization and each woman contributes 500 RWF (0.5 USD) each week which later helps them to resolve issues. For example, in emergencies mothers can take a certain amount from the collective fund. This teaches them financial skills and the importance of having a strong support network. Promoting women’s empowerment and teaching them leadership skills and giving them the tools and skills to succeed contributes to the overall strength of the family unit, resulting in a more stable life for children. Through this program we also plan to create public campaigns to raise community awareness about relevant issues. There will be visits to primary and secondary schools where discussions will be conducted about problems affecting women and children in order to introduce them to community issues. Through community awareness we hope to put an end to stigma and discrimination whether it be based on gender, sexuality or other differences.