Women taking care of children alone are overworked.

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A Friend Indeed

Inshuti Nyanshuti

Combating Violence and Stigma Against Unwed Mothers & Their Children

Ten women compose A Friend Indeed, which works in the Ruhango sector of Byimana. They seek to combat violence against unwed single mothers and their children. Fatherless children are believed to be abnormal, and the mothers are targets because they are not married. The women even face discrimination and abuse from their own parents and siblings who beat them, reject them, and deny them and their child shelter and support. Members of society view single mothers as a burden and resource drain: a woman with an infant cannot easily find work and often turns to prostitution; prostitution contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS; if the woman cannot find work, she may beg or steal; and when the child is older, he or she may get into trouble on the street while left unsupervised as the mother works.

A Friend Indeed turned to Global Grassroots to learn the skills necessary to run a social venture. They formed small neighborhood associations for a total of 80 pregnant mothers and 120 illegitimate children to help the women find sources of income. After the Global Grassroots training, they modified their solution to focus on changing the conservative mindset that leads community members to ostracize single mothers. They have since created a multi-pronged approach to address this issue at several levels of society. They now will:

  • Provide reproductive health training to youth, to help them avoid unwanted pregnancies
  • Provide training to single mothers about their legal rights and skill training to help them earn a living
  • Host 8 theatre performances per year as well as open discussions to educate the public about the violence single mothers often face
  • Ask local leaders to understand and address this issue more seriously
  • Create strategic partnerships with local health clinics and social workers to help them measure their impact

In the first year of operations, A Friend Indeed aims to:

  • Decrease unwanted pregnancies by 30%
  • Reduce rejection of single mothers and their children by 50%
  • Reduce the number of single mothers and their children who drop out of school by 40% and 50%, respectively
  • Increase the number of single mothers and their children who have access to health insurance by 60%
  • Increase the understanding by the community of the rights of single mothers and their children by 60%

Project Details

Grant Amount: $4073
Team Size: 7
Launched: 2013

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