Documentary shows how local solutions can expand rural women’s employment opportunities in Rwanda

November 22, 2017

When Nyirangaruye Dancilla was widowed she turned to producing banana wine to avoid destitution. Now income from this business enables this Rwandan farmer to save money while contributing to her family’s living expenses.

The documentary Abagorè, which means “women” in Kinyarwanda (Rwanda’s primary language) tells Dancilla’s story and follows how she produces banana wine. It also describes other examples of successful indigenous technologies used by women such as vegetable production, traditionally fermented yogurt, and sorghum beer.

The documentary is part of IDRC-supported research in Rwanda and Tanzania that seeks to show how local solutions and technologies that use readily available resources and know-how can significantly expand rural women’s employment opportunities. The University of Dar es Salaam led research team studied these traditional industries, from producers to consumers, to identify effective ways of promoting indigenous technology.

Researchers found that indigenous production methods are often more nutritious than imported alternatives. Products are also generally of better quality, are less expensive, and appeal to local tastes. These findings demonstrate that tapping into women’s traditional knowledge has the potential to not only boost incomes but enhance the nutrition of rural communities.

The film was recently screened at the International Images Film Festival for Women in Harare, Zimbabwe, which highlights and promotes positive representations of women in film.

Listen to project leader Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu’s TED Talk about how Africa can use its traditional knowledge to drive progress .