Women’s Self Help Groups in Rwanda

Empowering women to take control of their lives and build each other up through woman to woman community support.


Through the African Enterprise Rwanda self-help group model, women in Rwanda are being reached with the message of unity. Often, in difficult circumstances, these women remain isolated and struggle alone. With the self-help group model the voiceless are given voices, the powerless empowered and the vulnerable are strengthened.

A self-help group typically has around 20 members and currently there are over 9,500 self-help groups in Rwanda – that means 200,000 women are meeting weekly to build new futures for themselves!

10 self-help groups form a cluster (CLA), and cluster groups can band together to form federations (FED). These FED groups are particularly powerful, because they lobby the government for social reforms, on behalf of their groups.

“We were a poor family and our house was too small for our family. When I became a member of a self-help group, first of all I could no longer depend on my husband’s income, I started contributing significantly towards the welfare of my family. I started borrowing some money in phases and used it to improve our livelihoods. I began by increasing the size of our house, which was initially too small for a family of our size. Now after working on it, there is enough space for us and our four children and so [we are] no longer squeezed up. I borrowed more money and came up with another project through which we were able to electrify our house. At another phase, I managed to make provision for running water in our house. It’s a great joy in our home because we used to travel around five or so kilometres for water, and so the tap water has reduced our workload so much so that we have room for other things including rest, a necessity much ignored by many.” – Redempta