Women for Women International (WfWI) is a global NGO that has supported the construction of the Women’s Opportunity Center, to be opened shortly, in Kayonza Rwanda. The Center, design by Sharon Davis Design, is an environmentally friendly, multi-use facility that will become a support mechanism for the education of women and the support and advancement of the community in the region. The WOC is an element of WfWI’s mission to address poverty and the effects of genocide through education and self-empowerment. The facility is part community gathering space, part education center where women can attain job training and learn new skills, and use services to find employment or start their own businesses.
Join us after the break for more on this project.
The facility was designed with the implementation of standard, local materials utilized in an experimental way. The principal material is clay brick, crafted by women who will benefit from the WOC. The two-acre facility is designed with local sustainable functions, including solar power generation, rainwater harvesting, biogas fuel for cooking, and composting toilets. Sharon Davis Design notes, “we hope to encourage local experimentation, so that community restoration becomes more integrated, resourceful, and environmentally conscious”.
The WOC encourages self-sufficiency, self-employment and self-empowerment. Using education and community as a tool to develop this attitude is one of WfWI’s strategy for addressing poverty-stricken regions that may be recovering from political upheaval and genocides. It is a way to restabalize the lives of people and the region’s community. This particular facility, whose grand opening will be held in June, will affect over 28,000 women in the region.
The breadth of the WOC’s is anticipated to extend beyond its facility walls. WfWI has seen an economic ripple effect occur in the implementation of similar programs in Rwanda. Women who participate in the WOC spread their knew skills into the community, creating positive exponential effects on women’s self-empowerment and self-sufficiency in the region.
The model for the WOC is such that within the next five years, the facility will become financially independent through a multi-use approach: renting space to partner organizations, creating market and retail space for local small businesses, storage and workspace for lease, event space, demonstration farm, and lodging and restaurant services for tourists.