Less than two decades ago the world watched as genocide unfolded in Rwanda. In less than 100 days almost 800,000 thousand Tutsis and Hutu moderates were killed by the Rwandan Military and Hutu militia groups. Mass murders, as well as rape, were strategically used to devastate Rwandan society. It is estimated that almost all females who survived the genocide were victims of rape. Not only did the effects of this sexual violence impact individuals and communities directly, generations not present for the genocide now battle the indelible stigma of rape and mass murder.
In the wake of the atrocities that took place in 1994, Rwandans have found ways to cope with the all too recent violence, but there is still much healing to be done. As Spark Microgrants continues its projects and facilitates community building in Rwanda, it is confronted with the lasting effects the genocide has created in Rwandan society.
As a member of Spark, one of the issues I find important to address is the lack of women in leadership roles within their own communities. There are many factors that have led to a disparity, based on gender, of power in the public sphere; though this result is not simple to address, it is something that should be brought into balance.
For more information on the 1994 genocide and recent reports on Rwanda check out these links: