AbanyamuravaEnding sexual exploitation of disabled, elderly, and pregnant women by providing clean, safe, local water access
Issue: It is a 3-4 hour long journey to collect water down a long hill to a dirty creek bed. In addition to the disease and lack of hygiene from the poor water access, many of those who were left physically disabled or HIV positive from the genocide are unable to collect for their daily needs. Instead, they are forced to turn to local men with bicycles for water delivery, many of whom exploit the women for sex in return for the water.
Mission: To end sexual exploitation of disabled, elderly, sick, and pregnant women related to water delivery by men.
Solution: Hard Workers' first venture through Global Grassroots in 2008 saw the construction of a water tank situated close to the center of their village, allowing them to collect rain water in the rainy season, taking delivery of water by truck during the dry seasons. This first venture provided clean water to 120 households (approximately 800 people). The project then expanded to another 3 sites to supply 6,000 people with fresh clean water. The second expansion for the project included installing large tanks to store water for the dry season, ensuring that their communities seldom run out of water.
12-Month Goals (in 2008):
- Within 1 year, donate 10 jerry cans of water per tank to five orphan headed households,
- In one year be able to provide free water to 64 households where women are handicapped or otherwise unable to carry water,
- In one year, pay the school fees for five children who are AIDS or genocide orphans,
- Within one year, buy annual health insurance for 15 women and their families
Impact: Second and third grants from Global Grassroots and partner organizations allowed for expansion of this venture which is now operating 3 clean water collection sites, with a 4th in development. The team now donates water to 64 households where there are handicapped women, or family members who are blind, elderly, or sick. Profits are also used to pay school fees for 30 local orphans and buy health insurance for 15 vulnerable women and their families. Global Grassroots funded each of their three projects which now serve approximately 9,000, with another project in development. The team is creating partnerships with district leaders, Coojade Bank, and the national water company (EWSA), all of whom want to work with the team towards greater expansion in the area. All team members have been able to open their own bank account, and they now each own a goat, which helps provide nutrition to their families. Additionally, profits from those who are able to pay for water have allowed the team to create a non-profit micro-finance fund for vulnerable women. To date Hard Workers has nearly eradicated both sexual violence and sexual exploitation related to water collection or delivery. Through their comprehensive community education program and by providing free or low-cost water filters to disabled households and training on how to use them, the team has also reduced water-borne illness by 98%.The team is creating partnerships with district leaders, Coojade Bank and the national water company (EWSA) who wants to work with them towards expansion in the area. All team members have been able to open their own bank account, and they now each own a goat, which helps provide nutrition to their families. Additionally, profits from those who are able to pay for water have allowed the team to create a non-profit micro-finance fund for vulnerable women.
TRAINING IN ACTION: BUILDING LEADERS
Seraphine Hacimana began working with Global Grassroots in 2007, when she was a 36 year old mother of 8, living on the edge of survival. Although she only had a 1st grade education, she possessed great wisdom about her community and the passion to make a lasting impact. In the six years that Hard Workers has been operational, Seraphine has become what some have called a "serial change agent": She started an agricultural training project, designed an HIV awareness program, and launched a brick-making venture. Many others from all around the area have sought her expertise and she has taught others to become local change agents.
Her leadership has been recognized both locally and internationally. She has been interviewed on Rwandan radio about water rights, nationally recognized for her work by president Kagame and asked to speak at a conference in Kenya about Conflict Management and HIV/AIDS. In 2010 she was nominated for a CNN Hero Award and in 2012 her team, Hard Workers, was given a prestigious district award in recognition of their spirit of teamwork.
Seraphine Hacimana serves as a shining example of what women at the grassroots level can accomplish when their innate wisdom is trusted and they have access to resources and opportunity. She is quoted as saying "We are not strong because of what we have in our pockets, but because of believing, trusting and having consciousness."
Location: Gahanga District, Kigali City
Team Members: 19 founding members
Beneficiaries: 9000 Launched: 2008
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