Women for Rwanda Supper Club

Women for Rwanda Supper Club
Women for Rwanda Supper Club


As part of Women for Rwanda‘s project One Woman, One Year, One house, the supper club initiative was born to increase awareness while enjoying a pleasurable experience such as eating. We realised how doing charity per se is a concept of the past century and people are fed up with pictures of misery and grievance, for this we believe that taking to a table the discussion around women empowerment and development is indeed a stronger motivator for change.
Indeed, our guests have found rather pleasurable to share their evening with a conscious audience and of course traditional Rwandese food. It is rather hard, even in a cosmopolite London, to find Rwandese dishes and delicatessen, hence we decided that we had the duty to share one of the million wonders of Rwanda. We decided to serve avocado on a bed of homemade croutons as starter together with homemade bread (all of course watered with the right dose of nectar). The meal proceeded with traditional grilled goat meat -locally sourced- together with plantain and spicy beans. We could not conclude better the dinner than with a plantain cake and Rwandese tea (some of us have spiced it up with a hint of honey rum, unfortunately could not make banana beer, a traditional Rwandese drink).

We hope that this initiative will be the beginning of a new chapter of Women for Rwanda‘s campaigns, fusing dining with awareness and empowerment. If you would like to take part in the sustainable supper club movement, we would be more than happy to welcome you and your friends or cater delicious Rwandese food at your front door andshare our story.

Women for Rwanda Supper Club Menu
Women for Rwanda Supper Club Menu

At Women for Rwanda we believe that just because you cannot do everything does not mean you should do nothing.


Rwandan elections are the next test for Rwandan women

Rwanda is gearing up for its parliamentary elections, scheduled for the 16th September. Rwanda shot to the top of the gender representation leader board at its last election when 56% of seats went to female candidates, far outstripping it’s African contemporaries and most European nations.

Now Rwanda’s population will decide how that percentage will change. These elections will determine the 80 seats in the Chamber of Deputies for the next five years.

In line with Rwanda’s constitution, 24 of the seats must go to women who stand independently from a party, directly representing women’s interests. These representatives are chosen by women committee members at all levels and district and sector council members.

At the previous election these seats were not the only seats to go to women as female candidates flourished in the political parties as well, gaining 20 seats on top of the allocation ‘women’ seats.

Election observers have begun arriving in the country, and will stay until the 19th when all voting is over to ensure the elections are free and fair.

On the 16th September 5,953,531 eligible Rwandans will vote for the 53 seats that have no specific qualifications. On the 17th women will vote to fulfil their 24 specifically female seats, followed by voting on the 18th by young people and disabled people to fill their respective seats.

Polling stations are expected to be open from 7am to 3pm to allow people to vote and provisional results are expected for the 20th with final results on the 25th.

There are currently 410 candidates standing for the 80 available seats, meaning competition is fierce. This election will be a test as to how committed Rwanda is to raising the status of women in its society and ensuring women get a fair say in their democracy.

I’ll keep you posted when the results are in.

Claire Smith

Claire is a supporter of Women for Rwanda currently staying in Kigali, Rwanda working at a women’s centre.

Peacebuilding in Rwanda

A few nights ago I attended a talk by Freddy Mutanguha at the Royal Commonwealth Society near Embankment in London. Freddy is the director of the Kigali Memorial Centre, and his speech was about Peacebuilding in Rwanda. Although there are no perfect solutions, I want to share with you what I gathered from Freddy’s talk.

Freddy, the director of the Kigali Memorial Centre, was visiting London this week.

The event began with a video clip that Aegis Trust, the charity that built the Kigali Memorial Centre, had put together. The clip, called Not On My Watch, was a touching overview of the genocide and its aftermath. I picked up the following, unsettling numbers to demonstrate the totality of the genocide: in 100 days 1,000,000 people were killed, mostly by using machetes. That means 10,000 people a day, 400 an hour, 7 people every minute.

Today 18 years have passed since the genocide. The Rwandan government has taken extensive measures to encourage unity (such as forbidding public use of the words ‘Hutu’ and ‘Tutsi’), but many still argue that these measures are ineffective, perhaps even counterproductive. Most of the audience questions had to do with how is Rwanda really coping today. One audience member raised his hand and said he had recently visited Northern Rwanda and attended a church service in a village. He pointed out that the church had consisted exclusively of Hutus, and implied that Rwandan society is still largely segregated. Freddy, who had talked a lot about unity, simply answered that a possible reason there weren’t any Tutsis in that church was because there are none left in the area. There are parts of Rwanda where the genocide was completed wholly and entirely.

Another audience member asked about the psychology of the perpetrators. She had difficulty grasping the brutality of the killings and she asked whether the perpetrators today are in denial or help in Peacebuilding.

“No one really thought about psychology at first,” Freddy said. Today, the perpetrators are divided: some help in Peacebuilding, some just want to forget. Freddy gave an example how on every last Saturday of every month people across Rwanda get together to clean roads of the villages and work together for a better community. This means both victims and perpetrators. Officially, no one is a Hutu or Tutsi anymore; all people are Rwandese.

The conversation then went on to discuss education. Freddy himself is a certified teacher at the National University of Rwanda. In his talk, he highlighted the importance of critical thinking. To demonstrate what he meant he used a light-hearted example of Omo, the detergent product. He said that everyone in Rwanda washes their clothes with Omo but if someone is to ask them ‘why Omo’ most people wouldn’t know what to say. He said that the most important thing in genocide education is to teach children to critically assess their personal beliefs and those of society, beliefs no matter how small, from ideas of washing detergent, to ideas of nationality, gender, ethnicity, and race.

Someone then asked, “But is it enough?”

Freddy smiled at the immensity of the question, and said “What we can do, lets do it.”

Freddy’s words go hand-in-hand with the quote Women for Rwanda runs by: Just because you can’t do everything, doesn’t mean you should do nothing. If you can do it, lets do it!

International Women’s Day

This spring, on International Women’s Day, March 8th, Women for Rwanda walked through London with Million Women Rise demanding to end male violence against women. Million Women Rise is a London-based coalition, which organized its first Women’s Day march in 2008. The theme this year was The Girl Child, and the featured color was purple. Purple is the color of mourning in Rwanda, thus, our group wore our purple t-shirts to bring recognition to Rwandan women, and to support all women around the world in their struggle against violence.

Together we can end male violence.
Together we can end male violence.
Marching to Trafalgar Square
Marching to Trafalgar Square

Next year’s theme is Womanist Revolution. The march will take place on March 8th in Central London. Save the date if you’d like to be involved!