- Trained 620 Rwandan women with life skills
- On average the women quadrupled their income
- Created mutual support networks and business cooperatives
We supported a women’s education programme in Kigali, Rwanda which, through a combination of education and vocational training, increased the income and reduced the poverty of 620 vulnerable women over a period of 8 years. Aspire pioneered an intensive three-year programme, taking 50 new women each year. In their first year the women attended full-time and were taught a range of vocational skills e.g. cookery, hairdressing – skills that could easily be adapted for working alone and/or fitting in with the women’s family commitments. In addition to the vocational training, the women were taught literacy and numeracy skills, were educated about their rights, including their legal rights and about sexual and reproductive health including HIV awareness. They were also provided with support for their mental health. Many of the women had led lonely and isolated lives, and the value of bonding with like-minded women was immeasurable. They created a valuable support network which endured beyond the lifetime of the programme. In their second and third years the women formed cooperatives and were helped as they set up their businesses. By the end of the three-year programme the women, on average had quadrupled their income, were healthier, understood the importance of family planning, had strong friendships and felt empowered to have a voice in their communities and within their families. A key part of the project was always engaging men through a carefully tailored programme, which yielded great results in terms of buy-in and support for the women’s attendance.