The Pentecostal Church of Rwanda, ADEPR started raising awareness of its members about gender equity and equality in 2008. This program is intended to deter its members and Rwandans from a misunderstanding that boys and girls, men and women have not the same rights.
This has been confirmed by the officer in charge of gender and development Mrs Alice Bazaramba :"The idea of teaching ADEPR’s members about gender iquality within households started after discussions we had with ADEPR’s members. "
She said that in the past, women did not poesses any properties for their own and had no right to households’ properties because they belonged to men only. Hence, women could not empower due to lack of resources ; she could not access bank loans due to the lack of collaterals.
In a bid to address this problem, the Pentecostal Church of Rwanda, ADEPR proceeded to sensitizations in all ADEPR’s local churches. The leaders within these churches were trained first and were given a responsibility to train those under their leadership. This has been possible through evangelization campaign organized for women and youth in which messages about gender equality were conveyed.
The current stand of women’s empowerment.
The Pentecostal Church of ADEPR has associations designed to empower women from chapel level up to national level. Women’s empowerment activities within ADEPR benefits both the members of the Church and other women who are not members of the Church.
Bazaramba said :“ We grouped women into cooperatives and trained them in modern farming techniques. We have provided them with stock for them to get manure to be used in their plots. We have provided 10 cows to cooperatives operating in Nyabihu District and 12 cows to those based in Muhanga District . we provided small stock( pigs, goats) to other cooperatives . Moreover, we have facilitated some women who were street traders to get appropriate work places within markets where they do their business. The church has provided to business ladies a vehicle to facilitate them transport their crops from the countryside to Kigali town. Women who did not have a possibility group into associations were taught about saving and credit culture. Bazaramba said : “Theses were women who expected their husbands to buy every thing for the household, we have shown them that they are able to do something ; then , we taught them to save money . This has helped some of them to engage in development activities. They started saving activities from 100 Rfrs.”
Actually, this has contributed to the improvement of households livelihoods. Women realized that they are equal to men in terms opportunities. Women also help each other to find solutions to their problems. For instance, they help each other to get comfortable bed materials like mattresses for their homes under the program called “Dusasirane”, and this makes them feel proud.
Gender equality takes into account the culture and evolves in time
Mirs. Bazaramba said Pentecostal Church of Rwanda ADEPR has more female members than male ones. Women have been involved in administrative organs. But they are not ordained as pastors.
She said :“ The Church’s doctrine does not allow women to be ordained as pastors. This is part of the Church’s principles. In the same way, women are not allowed to wear trousers or make their hairs. We willingly comply with this discipline since we have accepted it.”
Bazaramba is self-confident that women will be ordained as pastors in the future if its is God’s will :“ Even if the Church doesn’t ordain women to be pastors, Church have strived for women’s dignity by hiring them as evangelists. Today, there are many female evangelists within the Church. Automatic word wrap
This shows that gender evolves in time and respects the culture. We are confident that we will achieve other things. When necessary, we will ask the Church’s leaders to ordain women as pastors.”