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The role of the Rwandan Presbyterian Church in women's empowerment : a case study of the Agaseke Project in Ruyumba parish.

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This study is designed to assess the role of the Rwandan Presbyterian Church in women’s empowerment using a case study of the Agaseke Project in Ruyumba Parish. Women in Ruyumba area, like other parts of the country, have been affected by the genocide which happened in Rwanda in 1994. The country lost human and material resources. Today Rwanda is in the process of rebuilding. The majority of the population are women and more that 34 percent of families are headed by women. It is a challenge to the church that carries out God’s mission in the world. The Presbyterian Church as God’s agent had to take initiatives to empower women who live in vulnerable contexts due to the consequences of genocide. They are also oppressed by patriarchal culture. Through training in various seminars and workshops the Church has contributed to the social transformation of Ruyumba Parish in Rwanda. The research question of this study was to assess in what ways the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda has responded to women’s empowerment through the Agaseke Project in Ruyumba Parish. The methodology used in order to attempt to answer this question was sharing stories with women involved in Agaseke Project. Through discussions, it was discovered that women have the potential to improve their livelihoods. From what the study show, it can be said that women have natural gifts imparted to them by God. The gifts that women have can change the Church and society’s attitudes bounded by patriarchal biases against women, which considers women as second-class citizens in participating fully in developmental agendas of the society. In the conclusion of this study, it was argued that the Church needs to renew and transform its mission toward gender equality in order to change the hierarchy. This would lead to the formation of partnership between men and women as women are perceived as created equally in the image of God.


Thesis (M.Th.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2009.