What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
SURF has been working with a group of women survivors, all members of AVEGA (Association of Widows of the Genocide). At present the group has no sustainable source of income. They are dependent on subsistence farming to survive. This project aims to empower them to rebuild their lives through secure employment through an association.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
There are 25,000 members of AVEGA - all widows of the genocide - though the number of genocide widows is estimated to be 50,000. The majority survive through subsistence farming. Many lost their homes and land in the genocide, as well as enduring psychological and physical injury.
What is your solution?
The project recognises the innate potential of the widows, in particular their ability and craftsmanship in producing artisan goods. The project brings the widows together in associations in order to develop the goods collectively, and in the process guarantees a market for them through the sourcing and securing of trade orders. The project not only enables the widows to generate an income, but also helps to provide psychosocial support through the groups which provide mutual solidarity.
How will you deliver this?
The association will produce an array of goods, including bags and baskets for export, as well as jewellery, school uniforms and womenswear for the domestic market. The training will ensure that the women have the skills to fulfil the orders, which will be sourced in partnership with them through a specialist IGA officer, based at AVEGA.