Monday, 14 November 2016

Group Reflection: Globalisation.

Our second Group Reflection session was held on 28th October and was delivered by Charlotte (UK Volunteer) and Leontine (Rwandan Volunteer), their topic of choice was Globalisation. As a team, the pair worked great and the amount of research put into creating an interesting presentation for the team to observe really did show; there was the perfect mix of fact, case study and difference of opinion from a cultural background.

The girls began the session by interacting with all team mates to gain an understanding of the word “Globalisation.” They chose to brainstorm words as a team we came up with phrases such as – “International business”, “technology”, “worldwide consumerism”, “McDonalds”, “good” and “bad”; it was interesting to spectate the difference in opinion from both Rwandan and UK Volunteers. Of course the two different cultures have grown up in completely different Worlds and have different experiences in witnessing Globalisation.

With our minds broadened by the group interaction, the girls went on to educate us on the actual definition of the word and the worldwide effects; it’s the process that the World is becoming increasingly interconnected, this is a result of the massively increased trade and cultural exchange. This happens when businesses of other organisations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale. Globalisation is a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies and governments of different nations, it is driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology.

Charlotte and Leontine then went on to advise the group that the process has effects on the environment, on culture and also on political systems. We learned from the girls that Globalisation is not new, for thousands of years people and their later corporations have been buying from and selling to each other in lands of great distance – such as through the Silk Road: an ancient network of trade routes that for centuries were central to cultural interaction, connecting the East and the West – from Asia to Europe.

With the knowledge that this process has been around for centuries, the girls gave some interesting facts and statistics on how Globalisation has grown over the last few years:

-           Since 1950 the volume of World trade has increased by 20 times, from just 1997 to 1999 flows of foreign investment nearly doubled from $468 billion to $827 billion.
-           Since WWII and especially in the last 2 decades, many governments have adopted free market economic systems, vastly increasing their own productive potential and creating a myriad of new opportunities for international trade and investment.
-           Taking advantage of new opportunities in foreign markets, corporations have built foreign factories and established production and marketing arrangements with foreign partners.

With these facts behind us, the group really had a split opinion of Globalisation – it appeared that the Rwandan side were still very for it and the side of the UK wary because of the negative effects they had seen and heard of through the Media around the World. From this split opinion across the office, presenters Charlotte and Leontine shed some light on the researched pro’s and con’s of Globalisation on the World. Some examples of these were:


-           It creates greater opportunities for firms in less industrialised countries to tap into more and larger markets around the World.
-           This can lead to more access to capital flows, technology, human capital, cheaper imports and larger export markets.
-           It allows businesses in less industrialised countries to become part of international production networks and supply chains.


-           The growth of international trade is exuberating income inequalities, both between and within industrialised and less so nations.
-           Global commerce is increasingly dominated by transnational corporations which seek to maximise profits without regard for the development needs of individual countries.
-           Competition among developing countries to attract foreign investment leads to a race to the bottom in which countries dangerously lower environmental standards.

With the facts laid out for the group to see, we all felt somewhat moved and a little helpless with the craze of Globalisation sweeping the World more so than it ever has before.

To conclude, the girls went into some negative case studies involving the likes of Nike and Shell; bringing the group together in similar opinion. that greed and over-consumption of unnecessary goods have a detrimental effect on the Natural World, but sadly the human race appear somewhat driven by these things to a certain degree; with exceptions now rising and speaking up in cases such as “fairtrade” being enforced, it’s just a shame not all corporations follow standards such as these.

The next group reflection will be taken by Sarah (UK Volunteer,) Arron (UK Volunteer) and Alice (Rwandan Volunteer) – they will interestingly cover the topic of “Positive impact of a post conflict society: A case study of Rwanda” – a topic close to the heart of all Rwandan Volunteers on our placement.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Group Reflection: Domestic Violence.

As part of our ICS placement, we’ve been asked to deliver fortnightly sessions within our groups on relevant development issues in the World. To carry out these sessions we’ve been placed into teams: there’s three duos, one trio and one solo. The aim of the team placement was to have a mix of UK and Rwandan Volunteers, this so far has made for very interesting sessions because of the different cultural views on topics. Both sides – Rwandan and UK - are learning a lot through these sessions, not only through the presentation of them but also through the research put into forming the sessions, as well as some Volunteer’s overcoming personal obstacles of public speaking. Everyone is winning!

Our first group reflection session was kicked off by Rebecca (UK Volunteer) and Rosette (Rwandan Volunteer), they chose the topic of “Domestic Violence” and delivered this on 14th October. Rebecca and Rosette worked great as a team and really *“penguined” the session.

*To “penguin” is to set a very high standard early on making is difficult to follow from and further maintain that same standard. – This is a phrase our group have been using between one another, we found ourselves adopting it in the first week of our placement from an entertaining story told by one of the UK Volunteers.

The session began with a Domestic Violence quiz, these statistics really got the group thinking and really did shock many of us into realising that this is still a big issue in the UK and Rwanda.

Some examples of these statistics were:

-          - 2 women are killed a week at the hands of a partner/ex-partner. (UK)

-         -  In Rwanda 1 out of 3 women are/have experienced Domestic Violence from their partner/ex-partner.

-          - 1 out of 4 women in the UK will experience Domestic Violence in their lifetime.

-          - It is estimated that approximately 25% of gay/lesbian/bi/trans people experience domestic violence/abuse during their lives. (UK)

-         - Although evidence suggests that men are much less likely to come forward as victims of domestic violence/abuse, it is still a common occurrence. (UK and Rwanda)

-          - 83% of the National territory are effected by Gender Based Violence. (Rwanda)

The girls then went on to state the official Government definition of Domestic Violence from both UK and Rwanda:

UK –
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over, who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical or sexual.

Rwanda –
Is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or nationality.

From the two definitions, although the UK and Rwanda are thousands of miles apart still paint a clear image of why Domestic Violence occurs; all forms, psychological, economic, emotional and physical – come from the abusers desire for power and control over other family members or intimate partners. Although every situation is unique, there are common factors involved in all.

The session came to a close after both Rebecca and Rosette gave accounts of Domestic Violence stories from the UK and Rwanda, leaving the group moved by the intensity the cases can get to and aware of the similarities anywhere in the world. Despite the culture differences of both nations we all came together to acknowledge that despite culture or class, anyone can experience Domestic Violence.

Coming next in our Group Reflection Session, we explore Globalisation with Charlotte (UK Volunteer) and Leontine (Rwandan Volunteer.)

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Cultural Exchange.

This weekend the UK volunteers participated in a cultural exchange whereby they rented traditional Rwandan attire and wore them to a dinner party hosted by one of the local families.

Here we can see the boys dressed in ‘ikote’ and the girls in ‘umushanana.

The umushanana has a special significance as it is regarded as one of Rwanda’s cultural symbols and has been around long before the colonialists came. Any woman wearing the umushanana is regarded as decent and pure and is very well respected.

Traditionally the umushanana was made from animal skin but more modern versions of the dress such as the ones worn by our volunteers are made from silk giving the piece it’s regal look. While the dress was traditionally worn by elder women, the piece has since been embraced by the youth and can be seen at formal events and ceremonies.

Kwigana Umuco.

Iki cyumweru, abakoranabushake bo mu bwongereza bagerageje kwambara imyambaro nyarwanda, aho bagiye gukodesha iyo myambaro bayambara mu birori bari batumiwemo numwe mumiryango babamo hano mu Rwanda.

Hano turareba igitsina gabo cyamabaye “amakote”, n’igitsina gore cyamabaye “umushanana”.
Umushanana ufite ubusobanuro bwihariye kandi ufatwa nka kimwe mu bimenyetso by’umuco nya Rwanda kandi wahozeho nambere y’ubu koroni. Igitsina gore cyose cyambaye umushanana bifatwa ko wambaye neza, ufite ubuziranenge kandi wubashywe.

Kera umushanana wakorwana mu ruhu rwinyamanswa ariko noneho ubu mu buryo bwa Kijyambere ukorwa mumwenda woroshye kandi mwiza nkuko mubona abo bakoranabushake bo mu bwongereza bawambaye. Uyu mwenda  wakundaga kwambarwa na babyeyi bakuze, ariko noneho ubu ninkumi nurubyiruko rurawambara mu buryo bwo kubahiriza umuco nyarwanda mubirori cyangwa se no mumakwe.

Planning and Preparation is the Key to Success!

Two weeks have passed since the ICS volunteers arrived in Gatsibo and initiated a working partnership with AJPRODHO. In order to facilitate this non-profit organisation to achieve their aims and objectives, the ICS team have devised a series of activities and events which they will hold over the duration of their stay.

The group has spent some time visiting local schools and conversing with the Head Masters to assess the needs of the youth in the area and to engage them in our activities. We have also been developing proposals which we will use to pitch our ideas to local village leaders who have shown a keen interest in supporting us.

From the information that we have gathered the ICS team have split themselves into three groups. These groups consist of a human rights club, presentation society and social media team. Each of the teams are working towards the promotion of human right and engaging the youth while raising an awareness for AJPRODHO.

In addition to the planning and delivery of these activities the team have also been attending training sessions provided by the staff at AJPRODHO where they are being educated on human rights policies and local laws. They will also be receiving training on the use of CSC cards and SPSS software in order to facilitate AJPRODHO in their activities.

We hope that these activities will be sustainable and have a long-lasting, positive impact on the community here in Gatsibo and across the youth of Rwanda.

Igenamigambi no Kwitegura n’Urufunguzo rw’Insinzi!

Hashize ibyumweru bibiri abakorana bushake ba ICS bageze mu karere ka Gatsibo kandi batangije ubufanyanyabikorwa n’ umuryango w’ AJPRODHO. Kugirango dufatanye nuyu muryango udaharanira inyungu kugera ku ntego ni ntumbero zayo, ikipe ya ICS yamaze kureba ibikorwa bitandukanye n’amahugurwa bizaba mu gihe cy’amezi atatu.

Itsinda rimaze igihe risura Ibigo by’amashuri banaganira n’abayobozi b’Ibigo kugirango barebe ibyo urubyiruko rwifuza muri aka gace kandi banabashishikarize gufatanya natwe mubikorwa byacu.Turimo turanategura inshamake yibikorwa byacu bizaba mumezi atatu kugirango tubihe abayobozi b’akarere ka Gatsibo nabo bamenye ibyo tuzaba dukora muri icyo gihe kandi biteguye kudushyigikira.

Mumakuru twakusanyije, ikipe ya ICS yiciyemo ibindi bice bitatu. Ibyo bice birimo club y’uburenganzira bw’umuntu, ikipe izajya itanga ibiganiro bitandukanye, niyindi izajya ikusanya amakuru ikayashyira kumbuga za Internet. Buri kipe ikora ifite umugambi wo guteza imbere uburenganzira bw’umuntu no gushishikariza urubyiruko gufatanya nayo mukwamamza ibikorwa by’AJPRODHO.

Ibindi byiyongera mwigenamigambi yacu nuko tuzayishyira mubikorwa, ikipe cyangwa itsinda ryacu rimaze igihe ryitabira amahugurwa atangwa nikigo cy’AJPRODHO aho twagiye twigishwa kumahame y’ Uburenganzira bw’Ikiremwamuntu n’Amategekeo akigenga.
Dufite ibyiringiro byuko ibi bkorwa bizaba bifite ireme kandi bizagumaho, bikazazana n’Impinduka nziza mu byaro byo muri Gatsibo no mur’ubyiruko rw’u Rwanda muri rusange.

ICS Volunteers arrive in Gatsibo!

Welcome to the start of our journey here in Rwanda, we’re all here through our own personal reasons, but all share the same goal; equal Human Rights and Social Justice for all.

We’ve been brought here on an ICS placement – ICS is a volunteering programme for 18-25 year olds funded by the UK governments department for International Development. The aim of this scheme is to fight poverty by bringing about three tangible outcomes: project impact, volunteer personal development and active citizenship.

We’re here in Rwanda as a team of 13, made up of 7 UK volunteers and 6 Rwandan volunteers. All similar in age – ranging from 21-25 and as previously mentioned, the same passion and enthusiasm to achieve our one goal, as well as a beautiful team dynamic; we are truly like a family.

Part of our project is to also integrate with the local community, we’ve been allocated host homes in which we have literally become part of their families; calling our host parents “Mum & Dad” and our fellow counterparts “Brother & Sister.” Our families ensure we’re always fed and have fresh water to shower with daily – although a shower here is a bucket of water on the floor, and in Rwandan culture you certainly aren’t just fed, we feast 3 times per day! Many of us UK volunteers have been shocked to find that we now eat more – which we really didn’t expect from a Volunteer trip to Africa!
From our homes, we all walk to work in the morning to meet at our base – the AJPRODHO office for 9am. Here we work on the project and build ideas until 5pm. After work many of us will stick together to socialise and unwind from the day of work. Curfew is 9pm, which is perfect because the sun sets at around 6.30pm and rises at 5am; we’re all enjoying our early nights through this!

Our project runs until late December – where we leave Gatsibo on the 19th and fly back to the UK on the 21st. I have no doubt that saying goodbye to the Village, community within and our counterparts will be an incredibly emotional time – given how friendly they’ve all been to us.

But for now, thank you for the warm welcome Kabarore!

Turabakiriye mwese mugutangira urugendo rwacu hano mu Rwanda, turi hano twese kubera impamvu zacu zumwihariko ariko twese duhuza intego; Uburenganzira bw’umuntu bungana nubutabera kuri bose.

Twazanywe hano muri program ya ICS­. ICS n’Umuryango ukorana nabakoranabushake bari hagati y’Imyaka 18-25 y’Ubukuru, ikaba ishyigikiwe n’Umuryango w’Ubwongereza bagamije kuzana amajyambere mu bihugu byose. Intego yayo nukurwanya ubukene binyuze mu mishanga itandukanaye, kwiteza imbere kumukorana bushake no kuba umuturage ushishikarira gukora.
Turi mu Rwanda turi ikipe yabantu 13, 7 bavuye mu Bwongereza na ba 6 bava mu Rwanda. Twese turasa nkaho tungana kuva ku myaka 21-25, nkuko twabivuze haruguru dufite intego imwe  kugirango tubashe kugera kubyo twifuza. Ikindi turi ikipe ikundana kandi tumeze nkumuryango mubyukuri.

Bimwe mumishinga yacu nukumenyana cyane nabo tubana. Twahawe amacumbi, mu byukuri tumeze nkaho turi umuryango, tubita ababyeyi “Mama & Papa” kandi nabandi bakoranabushatse twazanye twitana “ Bashiki bacu & Basaza bacu.” Imiryango turimo itwitaho ikamenyako twariye ndetse twanyweye namazi meza ndetse ko twaniyuhagiye – nubwo hano koga umuntu akoresha I basin y’amazi akayishyira hasi akoga, kandi mumuco nya Rwanda, ntabwo urya gusa ngo urangize, turya incuro 3 kumunsi. Benshi mubakoranabushatse babongereza twatangajwe ko dusigaye turya ibyokurya byinshi – kandi nikintu tutigeze twumva ko cyaba nitugera muri Africa.
Iyo tuvuye mumacumbi tubamo tuza kukazi namaguru tukajyera ku biro by’ AJPRODHO sa 9am. Iyo tujyezeyo dutangira gukora kumishinga yacu itandukanye y’Amajyambere n’Uburenganzira bw’Ikiremwamuntu, duhana ibitekerezo bitandukanaye maze akazi kacu kakaza kurangira sa 5pm. Twishimiye ukuntu tuzindukira mukazi kacu buri gihe.

Umushinga wacu uzarangira mu Kuboza aho tuzasezera Gatsibo ku wa 19 dusubire I wacu mubwongereza kuwa 21. Nizeye ntashidikanya ko gusezeranaho bibabaza, kubo twakoranaga, abaturage, abakozi ba AJPRODHO ndetse cyane cyane nabakoranabushatse twakoranaga baba Nyarwanda.  Bizaba  ari amarira  adasanzwe ndetse avanze nibyishimo kubyo tw
agezeho. Bagenzi bacu batubereye abana beza kandi buje urugwiro.

Tubaye tubashimiye ukuntu mwatwakiriye, Kabarore!