April 19, 2024

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Bugesera Women Equipped to Champion WASH Governance and Climate Resilience

The Rwanda Young Water Professional (RYWP), in partnership with WaterAid Rwanda and Bugesera District, organized the two-day training of women on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) governance and climate resilience in Bugesera District.

The trainees were women representing others in the fifteen sectors that make up Bugesera district. The goal of the training was to enhance women’s participation in decision-making in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) governance, striving for gender equality and harmony, and climate resilience. The workshop took place from February 22nd and 23rd, 2024, Bugesera, Eastern Rwanda.

Viateur NDAYISABYE, Bugesera District’s representative, returned to the participants of this training and what it will do for them, saying that women should be empowered in the management of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene.

He said, “In this training, we have a group of women from different sectors and those from the district level who are in the decision-making bodies, we invited the district council, but we also included those from sectors that include family friends, women who lead households, and even teenagers who have given birth while still at home.”

“We especially want to see their role in WASH management, because even in Rwandan culture it is considered that a woman is responsible for sanitation and hygiene, but we will also see how we can raise her awareness so that she can rise to decision-making levels in that way of management of water, sanitation, and hygiene.” He added.

Mr. Viateur revealed that the intention is to give knowledge to women and help them raise their awareness and understand that they can also make important decisions on the management of WASH and deal with climate change.

He said, “When they receive training as women who represent others, we want them to go and tell others, so that they will be involved in all the decisions that will be made, such as how water is managed and how sanitation is improved, but also they should focus on climate change. especially in the Bugesera region, when we talk about climate change, everyone immediately hears it.”

He continued that it is very important on the part of the current administration that women go to decision-making bodies, based on the fact that their role will be visible in all the activities of the region, given that the politics of the country of Rwanda supports the role of women in national development.

He concluded by saying that, as a district, they will be very happy to have a WASH committee that includes women, which would make it easier for leadership to strengthen equality and harmony in the district.

Ritha NISHIMWE, the Climate Resilient WASH Hub lead, Rwanda Young Water Professionals, coming back to why they decided to train women, said that women need to be empowered to take the lead in managing WASH infrastructure and make it their own, and also learn to advocate for themselves.

She highlighted the importance of adopting gender-inclusive policies and empowering women through equal participation and leadership in water management bodies, recognizing women’s unique knowledge about water resources.

She said, “There is a big problem that, when it comes to governance and advocacy, women need to be empowered and treat it as their property. The fact that we have helped these women today, and we have taken three different angles, is to help others who are more affected by the effects of the lack of WASH, but often they do not have a voice when it comes to the people who are in need.”

Mrs. Ritha continued that after the training, they want women to act as catalysts, to understand that they also have a role in the WASH activities given to them. If it is a water pipe, they have to be able to maintain it properly and feel that they have a role in making all decisions related to WASH.

She noted that women’s voices should be heard more, either in their activities in the community, in parents’ evenings, or in community meetings where women will talk about their problems and give their opinions.

She concluded returning to the reasons for working with Bugesera district, that it’s because the district has the determined goal with WaterAid of reaching to universal WASH access in 2028.

Donatilla MUKAMURIGO, one of the trainees from the Gashora sector and the president of the committee responsible for charging all the water pipe owners, said that this training would help her to increase her knowledge of what she was doing.

She said, “Now I will no longer make anyone use an unsanitary device, and I am also going to strengthen the management of water, sanitation, and hygiene.”

Sandrine AYISHAKIYE, another trainee from the Mwogo sector who is in charge of teenage girls who have given birth at home, thanked Water Aid and the Bugesera region for providing them with water, and now they have provided them with training on how to conserve it.

She said, “In the past, we used Nyabarongo water, and it was difficult during the rainy season, but now everything has been solved, and that’s why we will put more effort into maintaining it.”

She revealed that in terms of water, sanitation, and hygiene in their homes, they were not in good condition, but with the training they received, it would change later.

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