1995 - 1999
WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN RWANDA
Following Rwanda’s war and genocide in 1994, USAID/OTI funded a study in early 1995 of possible relief and rehabilitation interventions. With a program that began in 1995, USAID/OTI played a critical role by facilitating peace and reconciliation and by advancing the post-genocidal recovery process.
USAID/OTI'S ROLE IN RWANDA
To assist Rwanda’s transition to peace following the genocide, USAID/OTI’s programming sought to:
- Address the social justice concerns of surviving Rwandans;
- Promote self-help activities identified by rural women's associations; and
- Increase citizen participation in local government decision-making.
In three years, under the Women in Transition Program (WIT), USAID/OTI made 1,800 grants to women's associations in 11 out of 12 provinces to support self-help activities in areas such as agriculture, livestock, income generation and shelter. These grants directly assisted 40,922 women’s association members, including those in isolated and insecure areas. According to an evaluation of the program, WIT proved effective at strengthening the organizational capacities of different communities, responding to local power dynamics, identifying effective community leaders and workers, and increasing a community's willingness to invest in the peace process. USAID/OTI found that many women, especially heads of households that had benefited from WIT's assistance, were then able to make their own financial decisions and were no longer dependent on external aid.