Like other millions of people across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted rural women in Rwanda. Some of their agricultural activities completely collapsed, others were damaged in the previous lockdowns, the condition that called for financial support for them to bounce back.
To support them, Bank of Kigali and Ndineza organization have entered a six-month long partnership to train vulnerable rural women located in the Kamonyi and Muhanga districts in entrepreneurship skills including savings, applying for small interest loans, book keeping, among others.
Founded by artiste Aline Gahongayire in 2016, Ndineza, is a Christian Non-governmental organization that seeks to empower people living with disabilities, sexually abused and other vulnerable groups of people.
The entrepreneurship training for vulnerable rural women started with 100 women located in Kamonyi district on Monday 22. Similar pieces of training will proceed in Muhanga district next week.
The training was established under the theme dubbed ‘make another stride.’
“The most important skills to teach them is applying for loans that don’t need security, teaching them how to manage their profits and paying back the loans. We shall not give them business ideas, our objective is to support them develop theirs,” Gahongayire said.
“We shall ask them to suggest business ideas, each of them. After the five days of training, the business ideas will be analyzed by business experts and supported accordingly. They are 100 women, and will have to pitch 100 business ideas, but they can also work in cooperatives by coming together to work on 5 jointly owned small businesses,” she added.
According to Gahongayire, the training has convened legal experts, bankers and gender equality experts to train these vulnerable rural women.
Bank of Kigali support finds several efforts by the government targeting to uplift vulnerable rural women in the country.
Agriculture being the backbone of Rwanda’s economy, women are great contributors to the growth of this sector especially in rural areas. In order to reach more development, the government suggests that women in agriculture should be placed at the centre of transformation.
“We are working with Ndineza Organization to provide financial inclusion and capacity building trainings to the women of Kamonyi and Muhanga. We will equip them with financial skills that will help them to support their small businesses accordingly” said Benjamin Gahuza, BK’s Branch Manager at Ruyenzi Branch.
According to Gahuza, Bank of Kigali committed financial support worth over Rw46milion for the capacity building and financial inclusion of 200 trainees in the districts of Kamonyi and Muhanga.
Rural women and girls are a powerful development force, who contribute to the growth of their regions and national economies. The United Nations estimates that women comprise 40% of the agricultural workforce globally, and as much as 60% in sub-Saharan Africa, including Rwanda.
“I am a small-scale agricultural farmer, I expect financial skills, most especially on how to apply for small interest loans, and in an easy way. I hope after acquiring these skills, my business will resume after it was damaged by the pandemic. I was devastated when the cassava I used to take to the market was halted because of the lockdown,” Theresia Mukamana, a beneficiary said.
“I am planning to resume my small shop that sells agricultural products,” Mukamana added.