Nyamirambo Women’s Center (NWC), a Rwandan NGO, community based tourism, was launched at the end of 2007 by 18 Rwandese women living in Nyamirambo, Kigali. Together they created a project which aimed to address gender-based violence, gender inequality and discrimination. Today, NWC’s mission is to provide education and vocational training to women who do not have the means to pay for such training on their own, so that they can gain better opportunities for employment. You can decide to take a day tour before your gorilla safari or after your gorilla safari or after you’re your conference meeting in Kigali, you can take a visit to this amazing place, you will really be carried away by the insight of the Rwandan culture here.
In pursuing this mission, NWC has 3 overall objectives:
- To strengthen the institutional and organizational capacity of NWC
- To promote and empower women through capacity development and employment
- To promote women and community-based tourism
- To fulfill the mandate of these objectives, NWC offers free classes in literacy, English, basic
- computer skills, handicrafts and sewing, empowerment trainings on gender based violence and trainings on responsible community based tourism.
- At the end of 2013 NWC launched the product line “Umutima,” which means “heart” in Kinyarwanda. With this project, NWC trains and employs women from the community to create a large variety of women’s accessories, children’s clothing, and home decor products.
At the moment there are over 50 women employed by Umutima as seamstresses. Umutima and NWC have grown into a unique, self-sustaining model where the profits earned through Umutima are used to fund NWC initiatives, in addition to providing benefits and a fair wage to the seamstresses.
NWC is also sustained by income generated by the increasingly popular tourism offerings in Nyamirambo. Adhering to the principles of Responsible Community Based Tourism (CBT), these tours give tourists a uniquely personal insight into everyday life and local social culture. Also as a part of their CBT initiative, the Center offers basket weaving and traditional cooking workshops.
Finally, at the beginning of 2014 a small community library across the street from NWC was inaugurated, offering books in Kinyarwanda, English and French. The idea behind the library is to encourage reading among the youth in Rwanda and to promote the idea of “one child, one book” in a country where many children do not have the opportunity to read and discover the world through books.
Quite a number of tourist activities do take place here that has recently attracted number of tourist doing Kigali city tour and including a visit to this cultural center as one of their city tourism site, which quite amazing. The activities do include ;
The Walking tours
The walking tour begins with a traditional snack, a quick Kinyarwanda language lesson, and an introduction to the Women’s Center and its activities. It then weaves through the streets of Nyamirambo, where your guide will introduce you many friendly locals. You’ll visit a women’s hairdressing salon where the adventurous type can get a free braid ; go into a family compound to pound cassava leaves ; stroll by two mosques and a lookout view over Kigali ; and into a tailor shop to feel the fabrics you’ll otherwise see styled on the streets. The tour concludes with a traditional lunch made and served in the home of Aminatha, NWC’s best cook.
This walk can go as far as half day, for you to explore this area.
Sisal Basket Weaving Workshop
All around Rwanda one can see sisal basketry products. In this workshop, visitors are given a chance to try their own hand at the time-intensive and historically significant practice of basketry. The workshop begins with an overview of the cultural history of sisal, followed by an in-depth explanation of the process of from harvest to final product. Participants then get a needle and – under the guidance of the expert women of the Center – begin weaving a small token of their choice to take home. The workshop concludes with with a traditional lunch made and served in the home of Aminatha, NWC’s best cook.
Traditional Cooking Class with Aminatha
From market to meal, every step of the process of cooking is shared by Aminatha and participants in this tour. After buying produce and ingredients at several markets the group walks just around the corner from the Center to Aminatha’s home. There they get to work at a wooden table in her courtyard, chopping countless vegetables and starting the charcoal stoves. Under the guidance of Aminatha six traditional, delicious, and gratifying dishes are prepared and then shared by all involved.
Why Community Based Tourism (CBT) ?
- A unique type of tourism, CBT is created, owned and managed by local and indigenous peoples.This means that the majority of the benefits remain with the community. In our case, these tours provide an income for the Center, which is then allocated to sponsor NWC’s community activities. You can rest assured that your patronage genuinely supports and benefits your hosts.
- NWC employs only locals, empowering them with the knowledge and skills to provide you with an unforgettable experience. Using this concept, authentic tourism experiences evolve, which support community development while maintaining community identity, values, culture, and customs.
- Guided entirely by locals, you will learn from their anecdotes and be personally welcomed into their community in a way that can’t be found in conventional mainstream tourism.
By doing a Kigali cultural tour, Nyamirambo Women’s Center should not miss out on your safari planning to visit Kigali. You can include this as part of your gorilla safari to Volcanoes National Park or wildlife safari to Akagera National Park, or park of your leisure visit on having a successful business meeting conference in Kigali. You can get in touch with our reservation team at [email protected] for a safari visit to Nyamirambo Women’s Center.