Journeys of Transformation

Journeys of Transformation

Publication info


CARE focuses on women and girls because we know that investments in women and girls can make huge changes in eradicating poverty.  We believe that women and girls face enormous obstacles, but with help and support, they can change the world.  But we also know that women and girls are only half the picture.  Women and girls can't advance alone.  They are part of families and communities that need to accept equality and women's rights to fully develop, and for all community members to be truly empowered.  In Rwanda, CARE has done significant research with Promundo to build programs that work with men and boys to support women's economic empowerment.  This program is called "Journeys of Transformation." 

In 2010, CARE Rwanda asked men about their attitudes about their female partners’ participation in microfinance groups, and found a mixture of responses from men. Some men supported their wives’ involvement, and appreciated the economic benefits to their wives and households. Some men apparently felt that there was less economic stress in the household, so reduced their use of gender-based violence.

However, other men continued to dominate household decision-making. Some responded to their wives earning more by keeping more of their own income for personal use, arguing that they were the boss of the family and that women have to obey them. A number of men actually increased the use of gender-based violence, as household dynamics and power balances shifted.

Both men and women said they wanted men to know more about the microfinance activities. Women also wanted men to know more about gender laws and gender equality.  So CARE designed a training manual with support from Promundo to address these concerns. After three years, what did we find?

  • Families had more income. In fact, they gained nearly twice as much as families who weren't in the program. Not only did they have more money, but they were more likely to share the income between family members, rather than just the husband making decisions or controlling finances.
  • Men were more likely to help out at home. The workload at home changed, so women no longer had to take care of all the household chores and caring for children.
  • Family life is better. Couples report less violence, better relationships, and more openness.  They can talk about how to take care of their children, when to use family planning, and what kinds of investments to make for their future. A woman commented:

My in-laws ask[ed],'what is happening in your house? Normally you always came to complain about violence and your husband, and now you don’t come any more’.

You can explore more with our published research "I Can do Women's Work", or look at the full training manual in Journey's of Transformation.