Walking from my room along the beautiful Chez Lando’s fragrant paths, lined with neatly trimmed green hedges and what seemed like the aroma of honeysuckle, on my way to our morning gathering. Air shifting, not quite a breeze but enough to fill my ears with the sound of a certain humming of activity throughout the grounds, all a pleasant and soothing start to what would, in contrast, be one of the most emotionally intense days, for me, of our learning journey to this amazing small country in the middle of East Africa. We were off first to the deeply inspiring Nyamirambo Women’s Center, in one of the poorest traditional neighborhoods in Kigali, to learn how women have taken matters in their own hands, struggled to earn, to learn. In the afternoon, the Kigali Genocide Museum. After a delicious cup of coffee with hot milk and an omelette at our lovely hotel Chez Lando, I boarded our bus with incredible curiosity, excitement, along with a bit of jet lag. Soon, though, I was completely immersed in the incredible day that was to follow…..although a long-time advocate for women and children and a donor to women’s giving funds, I am entirely new to Dining for Women (DFW) and can’t wait to get out and see some of the projects that have been funded and learn what’s working, what’s not, and what information we might gather from the women in the community to take back to DFW. Details
On Day 3 of our amazing Dining for Women Rwanda trip, the major focus was gender equity. Some background: women are remarkably well-represented in the Rwandan government. When Rwanda ratified its constitution in 2003, they outlawed discrimination to prevent the ethnic persecution that resulted in the 1994 genocide. But beyond ethnic equality the constitution also established gender equality, and many new laws were enacted. The constitution requires that 30% of government decision-making positions be held by women. In fact, that target has been exceeded across the government: 64% of the parliament representatives are women – the highest percentage worldwide! Details
It was day 4 and after breakfast, we were off to visit one of the DFW grantees, SHE (Sustainable Health Enterprises). As we boarded the bus for our venture into the countryside, we were pleasantly surprised to be joined by Connie Lewin, Director of Strategy for SHE (and a DFW Board member) and Danielle Raso, Business Development Associate. Both work in the New York office, and it was an amazing coincidence that their trip to Rwanda overlapped with ours. We were also joined by Flora Ufitinema, Field Operations Associate, and Daria, Business Development Manager, who both reside in Rwanda. Details
Another beautiful African morning dawns as we sip our strong coffee and prepare to visit the facilities of Gardens for Health, just outside of Kigali. We have a full day’s visit planned with lots of interesting interactions along the way. It feels great to get off the bus and have an opportunity to walk around the farm where so many things are happening all at once. We are greeted first by Bailey who offers us an overview of the goals and objectives of this energetic non-profit. Details
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