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Creating Safe Spaces for Girls and Women with Disabilities

UNABU will launch an improved scorecard on disability inclusion, which will enable proactive problem solving and collaboration.

Photo of Umuraza Mathilde
25 15

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What problem does your idea solve?

Being discriminated, isolated and invisible in community life leads to high poverty and GBV among disabled women. UNABU assessment revealed they never attend community meetings (32%), Umuganda (67%) where decisions discussed .79% of who attend never spoken due to lack of self-esteem, fear and less value given to their opinion. 47% reported SGBV cases. Stigmatized from early childhood, many grown up lacking sense of self-worth and dignity to demand their rights, raise voice against such abuse.

Explain your idea

Equipped with knowledge/skills on their rights, self-advocacy and engaged in economic activities with disability inclusion accountable community leaders, disabled women lead change towards inclusive community free of stigma, violence and poverty. UNABU builds their through training on their rights, advocacy and inclusion score card to effectively engage with community leaders to voice out discrimination and violence they face. Through disability inclusion score card they meet local leaders/service providers to discuss identified issues by disabled women themselves supported by trained mobilizers. They demand their rights and hold community leaders accountable to their inclusion, safety and protection from violence. It builds their sense of responsibility to participate in community life like meetings. By our experience, self-help groups are entry point for many interventions. Including none disabled women in groups creates supporting environment for them. It enhances their relationship while exercising leadership. They are trained on saving methodology. After 6 months using their savings in small business, they are trained on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. 2/3 of award will be invested in revolving loan for emerging entrepreneurs to grow their business. Loan is paid back with interest of 1% per month while preparing them to formal financial linkage. Generated interest will be used to scale up the idea, multiply impact by reaching out more disabled women.

Who benefits?

We directly targets all age 2,400 girls and disabled women from remote rural areas initially from the districts of Rutsiro, Gicumbi,Nyanza and Bugesera. Our current experience is that when disabled women organized in community groups they design themselves solutions to solve some of their pressing issues including poverty. Disabled women self-help groups will also welcome up to 20% (480) of the groups for none disabled women and disabled men for community engagement and supporting voices

How is your idea unique?

1) Women with disabilities are highly discriminated against and they are not currently reached by services offered by NGOs, government and development agencies. 2) This project uses a human centered design approach beginning with disabled women empowering disabled women. 3) We will pilot a “disability inclusion scorecard” which will strengthen the voices of the disabled women to ensure that the design of services incorporate their needs and assets 4) Use of an integrated cost effective, scalable disability inclusion model combining approaches to address environmental and psycho social barriers to inclusion.

Tell us more about you

UNABU is non- profit organization standing for Umuryango Nyarwanda w’Abagore Bafite Ubumuga and translated in English as the Rwandan Organization of Women with disabilities based in Kigali City. It was established in 2004 by and for women with disabilities with an overall vision of ensuring “Women with disabilities enjoy equal and equitable opportunities and actively participate in the country’s development”.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

The only most unanswered questions we still have is how the community engagement should be effectively operationalized to foster inclusion of women with disabilities in the community decision making processes.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Rwanda

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Idea Maturity

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

How has your idea changed based on feedback?

We organized groups’ discussions with disabled women. They welcome the idea and recommended some adjustment to respond to the needs of disabled women: • The interest charges for revolving loan should not lower than the interest in the groups to ensure disabled women do not tend to request revolving loan rather their group internal saving because of lower interest. Revolving should be requested by and disbursed to group rather individual to maintain group cohesion and facilitate repayment. • Linking disabled women members of self-help groups without business idea with existing business in their location that will contribute to fostering inclusion of disabled women in the community. • Participation of disabled women family members in some particular training sessions including disability rights and GBV law to address issue violence to disabled women by their family members highly recommended • Non-disabled women mother of disabled girls children given priority to join group

Who will implement this idea?

The implementation of this ideas involves the team of 5staff 100% allocated to the project including the Executive Director, Advocacy and disability inclusion advisor, revolving loan officer, 1 community mobilizer and accountant. There are also 5 part time support staff expert in some components of project including trainers . They are disabled women trained as trainers on these particular subjects. 60 community mobilizers and council of women and the council of disabled will be involved

Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?

General assembly is the supreme organ of UNABU with power to decide on strategic directions of organization : approve strategic plans, annual activities plans, budget, annual narrative and financial reports. It is made of all members and meet every year in their ordinary meeting. Prior to the implementation of the idea the general assembly is communicated and provided with information on new project . When they information it is up to the governing Board to oversee the project implementation and address all the issues arising from the implementation in their quarterly meeting and the Executive Secretary participate in the Governing Board meeting. While approving changes, the governing board requires feedback from staff and other stakeholders. Staff and beneficiaries are communicated

What is it that most attracted you to Amplify instead of a more traditional funding model?

Amplify provides learning opportunities form other change makers of the platform but also from beneficiaries and other stakeholders during the feedback phase in addition to the technical support Amplify plan to give to winners. We appreciate the feedback from the team which is not really the case for traditional model funding.

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

(1) The most individual challenges reported by disabled women during feedback phase include the lack of information on their rights, lack of self-esteem and poverty that lead to violence disabled women are facing in their community. (2) The biggest systems- level challenges are the blind gender laws and policies on disabled women issues as well the lack of representation of disabled women in decision making structure as a particular group of women with particular issues

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question you need to answer to get there?

Impact: We aim at reaching out 7200 disabled women and 1440 other community members by 2023 knowledgeable about disability rights, GBV and facilitated to access financial services to run small business and therefore lift out poverty to enjoy their human rights in a supporting environment free of violence and stigma. Question: How do we maintain cost effectiveness of the approach while delivering quality services and influence hey stakeholder to buy in disability inclusion score card

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this idea together?

  • Between 1 and 2 years

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed idea live?

  • Between 5-10 paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country you intend to implement your idea in?

  • We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Between $50,000 and $100,000 USD

If your team/idea/organization has a website, please share the URL below.
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Team (3)

Umuraza's profile
Yumi's profile
Yumi Sera

Role added on team:

"Yumi Sera is the Partnerships and communications Manager at Disability Rights Fund , one of UNABU donor for Voice out Project being implemented in 4 districts of the Country. Yumi will be supporting the team as an Advisor"

UMURAZA's profile
UMURAZA Mathilde

Role added on team:

"UNABU Legal Representative"


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