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About Us

About Rwanda National Association of Deaf Women

Rwanda National Association of Deaf Women (RNADW) is an organization of people with disabilities (OPD) which is fully registered with Rwanda Governance Board (RGB). Founded in 2005 by a group of Deaf women human rights activist to advocate for the rights of women and girls, after realizing the gaps in service provision, insufficient advocacy efforts to fight for her rights and social integrations in the entire Rwandan community as whole. Overview of deafness and people who are deaf Deafness is one of the most common disability globally. There are contestations about the actual number of people with deaf or have a hearing loss. Conservative estimates suggest between 30 and 70 million people globally. Other researchers estimate over 460 million people have varying degrees of hearing loss. WHO predicts that by 2050 the number may possibly have reached over 900 million people with this condition. (Deafness and hearing loss, WHO, 2019). In Rwanda , a study under the Joshua Project of the Ministry of Frontier ventures, which looks at groups of people, (https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/19007/RW) established deaf population in Rwanda to be 133,000 people.   Our strategic goals include Capacity Building which entails sped up membership drive, staff doing exchange visits with sister agencies in the subregion, strategic use of volunteers, social media platform development and strategic deployment of staff. The other strategic goal is to advance rights of a Rwandan deaf woman/girl holistically. Rights range from property/land/inheritance rights, health rights, right to education, right to information/communication and access to justice. We have made efforts to draw strategies to promote and protect those rights for each and every deaf woman in the country. This will also involve benchmarking best practices from countries near and far. The other strategic goal is to economically empower a deaf woman in Rwanda. The strategic goals are interlinked and projects will naturally overlap in most cases.   Our Areas of work

  1. Ending violence again Deaf women and girls (GBV prevention, SGBV)
  2. Promotion of Reproductive health rights
  3. Education and skills training for Deaf women and girls
  4. Economic empowerment of deaf girls and women.

For instance, a deaf woman is vulnerable to abuse. International treaties aforementioned as well as CRPD and optional protocol all spell out the need to tackle gender injustice and inequalities. The SDG goals and targets likewise underscore the importance of “leaving no one behind” which is also the SDG running theme. SDG Goal # 5: reads “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” The targets under this goal are:

End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere. Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.

Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate.

Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life.

Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.

Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws.

Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women. Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

All these targets are applicable in tackling gender inequalities and injustices against women and for women who are deaf this is of double significance. This is because deaf women face discrimination first as women, and two-as people with disabilities (PWDs). SDG Africa Centre happens to be located in Rwanda and state and non-state actors, RNADW not least must demonstrate keenness to realize the SDG goals and targets.

Chellenges of RNADW


RNADW relies almost exclusively on external funding. We are extremely thankful to our partners funding our programs. The challenge is that with a shrinking donor base (affected mostly by the global financial crunch in the past and now the ravages of COVID, RNADW is increased faced with funding uncertainty.)

A related challenge is the limitation in manpower and infrastructural capacity. RNADW needs to build a robust pool of key staff at head offices and branches to deliver projects effectively. This calls for an increase in personnel costs and management is exploring multi-tasking as a viable option. We are intensifying our resource mobilization with support of a consultant.

While our self-mandate is to reach out to fellow deaf women and girls, other persons with disabilities increasingly approach us for support. This places a burden on our meagre resources. Related to this is the geographic scope. Deaf persons across the country constantly contact us to take services to them. While this is desirable, we are constrained in terms of funds and workforce. We also believe we must make a meaningful impact in one area before moving to the next. We shall meanwhile explore potential partners who can reach out or support us to do so in areas previously not served.

Finally, low literacy amongst members makes it cumbersome to educate them on various issues. Innovative approaches will become integral in our research design, training, M & E.


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