Cartier Philanthropy - Building hope in Rwanda

Building hope in Rwanda


Working alongside ultra-poor and socially marginalised women in fragile and conflict-affected countries, Women for Women International implements a 12-month programme that invests in women’s social and economic power, to help advance women’s entrepreneurship, promote financial inclusion, increase wellbeing, and facilitate access to support networks. Between 2017 and 2020, 881 women in Rwanda gained access to the knowledge, skills and resources to transform their lives, moving from poverty and isolation to social inclusion and economic self-sufficiency.

Focus area
Women’s Social and Economic Development
Women for Women International

Results achieved

Every woman has the power to transform her world. Yet no matter where they are, women’s voices are silenced, ignored, undervalued, and excluded - even from decisions that affect them. In Rwanda, oppressive gender norms still limit women’s access to resources, skills, and opportunities despite substantial progress on women’s rights in recent decades. 

Building upon the successful results of our first 3 years of support, Women for Women International invested in the power of  881 ultra-poor women in Rwanda to positively transform their lives between 2017 and 2020, improving their agency, wellbeing and livelihoods.

900 women enrolled in the organisation’s Stronger Women, Stronger Nations training programme  and 881 successfully graduated (a remarkable retention rate of 98%!).

Programme graduates  improved their knowledge of basic legal and human rights and essential health practices, gained self-confidence, developed their leadership skills, increased their influence in household decision making and learned how to overcome and resolve interpersonal conflicts through negotiation. By end of the three-year project, an average of 57% of women report their ability to earn above the $1.90 threshold, and an average of 80% save a portion of their earnings. 855 women participated in 36 VSLA.855 of the women participated in 36 Village Savings and Loan Associations.

To further strengthen the women’s ability to earn sustainable livelihoods, 488 graduates were enrolled in an advanced economic training programme. They received inputs, micro-capital support and additional technical assistance and business mentoring, enabling them to move from subsistence to more substantial micro-enterprises, such as soap and lotion making, brickmaking and the production of leather shoes, bags or handicrafts. As a result of this advanced economic training, participants increased their incomes by a further 64% on average.

Our collaboration with Women for Women International continues with a field trial that is being conducted in Rwanda to put male engagement strategies to the test, incorporating them in the organisation’s Stronger Women, Stronger Nations signature training  programme.