July 15, 2024

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Piloting Tools for Community Engagement: Advancing Gender Responsive WASH

The Rwanda Young Water Professional (RYWP), in partnership with WaterAid Rwanda and Bugesera District, organized a 3-day workshop for piloting tools for community engagement. Participants engaged in open discussions to address underlying WASH gender inequalities in their community.

The workshop was organized for capacity-building tools to bridge gender gaps in WASH developed by WaterAid, according to Rita NISHIMWE, the Climate Resilient WASH Hub lead, and specialist at Rwanda Young Water Professional.

She said, “The piloting of tools in Bugesera district, designed to facilitate dialogue, planning, decision-making, and solutions related to WASH and climate resilience, also focused on gender responsiveness.”

Gervais MASENGESHO, a teacher at G.S. Rilima Catholique, expressed his gratitude to the partners for organizing a three-day workshop, stating they learned a lot.

He said, “The workshop was conducted at different discussions, each designed to be beneficial for enhancing our lives in the upcoming period.”

He revealed that the first lesson discussed the diamond dream, focusing on the virtues of people’s praises and criticisms of purity and cleanliness.

The discussion on equality and harmony in sanitation and hygiene highlighted the responsibility of all individuals to maintain cleanliness and hygiene, emphasizing the importance of responsible home development.

MASENGESHO noted that they also looked at the role of climate change and the environment in general on hygiene and sanitation.

He said, “Before, no one used to connect the relationship between these two: equality, a clean environment, and hygiene, but we have come to see that there is a strong connection. We have come to realize that when there is no balance, there is no hygiene. When climate change occurs, it can affect sanitation and hygiene.”

He stressed that he gained a personal understanding of the importance of sanitation and the need for a plan, considering saving money to achieve this goal.

He highlighted the challenges faced by the student community, emphasizing the need for increased mobilization to preserve the environment and promote equality in sanitation and hygiene activities.

Donatilla MUKAMURIZA, residing in the Gashora sector of Bugesera district, highlighted that the workshop significantly altered her perception and provided new insights.

She said, “There was a lot I didn’t understand; I felt there was no problem in watering the dirty jerrycan in the lake. But now I have a different attitude; I am strict about sanitation and hygiene. Also, where I live in the neighborhood, I have been teaching them about sanitation and hygiene in their homes.”

She added that previously, she struggled with water, but after receiving workshop, she purchased a water tank to keep it close by.

She praised WaterAid Rwanda for their workshop and expressed her wish for the training to continue for her colleagues to change their attitudes.

MUKAMURIZA emphasized the importance of enhancing gender equality in clean water sanitation and environmental protection activities following her training.

“Before the workshop, I had a child sick from snakes due to drinking dirty water, but now he is fine. One thing I learned is that a woman should also take the lead in water conservation,” she said.

She stressed that the strategy involves being cleaner and avoiding environmental damage, such as damaging forests, while also encouraging colleagues to promote gender equality in WASH activities.

Julienne TUYIZERE, from the Ngeruka sector in Bugesera district, emphasized the importance of cleanliness starting during her workshop.

She said, “Before the workshop, I had the lowest attitude; now I share equality and harmony with others. I felt that it was the man who should do everything, but we as women also have money. I would buy a water tank and put it at home.”

She concluded by emphasizing the importance of cleanliness in her work, teaching young children, and encouraging their parents to clean their uniforms.

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