We post here an update from the most recent quarter (from October to December 2012) of our Widowed Survivors Empowerment Project (WSEP), a three year grant funded by UKaid from the Department for International Development (DFID) for alleviating the poverty of genocide widows in Rwanda in partnership with AVEGA Agahozo.

The update focuses on just the outputs of the project this quarter. Later in the year, we will be undertaking our first midline survey to determine how we are progressing on delivering the outcomes of the project, which is ultimately to eradicate the extreme poverty and hunger of genocide widows in the Southern, Northern and Western Provinces of Rwanda through the development of viable livelihoods, land and property ownership, and access to health and education services.

Executive Summary

Between October 1st and December 31st, the following activities took place as part of the AVEGA’s WSEP in all concerned regions, notably AVEGA Western Region (AWR), AVEGA Southern Region (ASR) and AVEGA Northern Region (ANR).

Volunteers from each district of the Northern Province receive IGA training


Activities included the training of income-generating activities (IGA) groups and volunteers, individual and group counselling sessions, the distribution of hardship loans, awareness sessions on HIV and AIDS and testing, assisting with legal land cases, and training of paralegals. Some of the highlights of this project include:

  • 622 IGA group members were trained on the business plan designing, book keeping and conflict management;
  • 63 volunteers have been trained in IGAs and are ready to encourage others to join these groups;
  • 240 homes of vulnerable widows and orphans of the genocide were visited and educated on the IGA groups;
  • 560 members received hardship grants for basic needs including food, household goods, clothes, mattresses and seeds for their kitchen gardens;
  • 7,315 members have received education on trauma, and HIV and AIDS testing
  • 731 counselling sessions were conducted for those affected by the genocide;
  • 47 group counselling sessions made up of 707 members took place;
  • 183 members benefited from legal advice on land and property issues;
  • 860 members/paralegals were trained on Gacaca and gender based violence law.
An awareness session on trauma led by an AVEGA Counsellor


The most common issues within the different regions were difficulty in accessing services for beneficiaries who lived far away or suffered from ill health, and a lack of funds for sort after activities, along with:

  • Delays on loans;
  • Group counselling sessions were uncomfortable for some (preferring individual sessions);
  • Confronting confusion over trauma vs Satanism and sorcery;
  • Lack of budget to deal with land issues;
  • Follow up and awareness sessions are difficult to complete because of travel issues;
  • Supply does not meet the demand for a number of activities;
  • Lack of material support for paralegals.


Based on the regional report, compared to the project indicators, we can conclude that all activities are running well and are on course to achieve the project goals as predefined into its context. WSEP is facing its goals accordingly as well as enabling staff to reach out and fulfill all the duties aimed at empowering project beneficiaries.

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