Rebuilding Relationships in Rwanda

Eileen Babbit

Assistant Professor of International Politics, Fletcher School of Law, Tufts University

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

One of the wonderful projects in Rwanda was a women's project between Hutu and Tutsi women and the women themselves actually launched the project with the help of a local priest, against a lot of both spoken and unspoken resentment in their respective communities. Not only because it was a mixed project but because it was women this is a very patriarchal culture and the women were very much going against a lot of the norms of their villages as well as of the country. But incredible women, just amazing and very clear what it was that they wanted to do and they've now formed a network, this is in southwestern Rwanda, they've now formed a network of something like 4,800 women scattered around many villages and towns.

Not all of whom have contact with each other all the time but are part of sort of this larger web and they're amazing. They're really, really amazing and that was largely their own initiative they get a lot of sustenance not so much psychosocial, but spiritual. They're very much it's very much a religious sort of prayer group as well as an organization for social support.