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Highlighting Women Leaders in Rwanda’s NGOs

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

The inspirational stories of #WomenLeaders in Rwanda’s NGO are simply remarkable! Through their hard work, dedication and commitment to making a difference, these women have shown what great achievements can be made when we come together for the greater good.⁣

It’s time to recognize and celebrate the successes of these incredible women and learn from them an example of resilience, creativity and collaboration. We are honored to showcase their stories and empower more women to pursue meaningful careers in nonprofit sector on this day we celebrate #WorldNGODay.

Let’s join hands to create a world where everyone has equal opportunity #ForPeopleForPlanet.

Olivia Promise Kabatesi

Founder & Country Director of Empower Rwanda

I am an enthusiastic Rwandan Feminist whose Vision is to empower girls and women especially the less privileged, have their voices heard, their rights respected & their lives socio-economically transformed. I am a proficient Project Management Professional with over 9 years in program cycle management, Telecom business, Decent Work promotion, entrepreneurship, capacity building & gender mainstreaming. I am a seasoned advocate of Girls’ & Women’s Rights, a committed fighter of Gender Based Violence with exceptional negotiation & inter-personal communication skills in a multi-cultural environment all of which completes my professional cycle. I have exhibited professionalism and 9-year experience in working with Development Partners & Government counterparts to identify & analyze socio-economic development challenges, as well as facilitating them to design related programs to address such challenges so as to achieve sustainable development & gender equality across all sectors. I have proven maturity in quick learning, judgment, donor compliance & incline on impact & result –based reporting while observing organizational ethical standards & confidentiality.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Béatrice Biyoga

Executive Director of Women For Women - Rwanda

Béatrice Biyoga, serves as the Executive Director for Women for Women–Rwanda since March 2022. Trained in Rural Economy and Business Administration, she leads all programs and operations for Women for Women-Rwanda. Beatrice has more than twenty years of career experience in finance and administration; grant making and management, and institutional advancement.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Mary Balikungeri

Director and Founder of Rwanda Women's Network

Mary Balikungeri is the Founder and Director of Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to promoting a healthy, empowered, and peaceful Rwandan society all through the promotion and improvement of the socio-economic welfare of women in Rwanda through enhancing their efforts to meet their basic needs. Prior to this, Mary worked in Geneva for the UN with UNV, Economic Commission for Europe, WHO and later joined the World Council of Churches as the Liaison officer in the Program to Combat Racism (PCR), with a special focus then to South Africa and the Front Line States towards the release of Nelson Mandela. Linking Church Groups and Anti Apartheid Movements was the major focus.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Jeanne Mwiliriza

Founder & Program Coordinator of Rwandan Women Can

Jeanne Mwiliriza founded Tubahumurize Assocation and today she coordinates all of our programs. Jeanne has a degree in sociology from the University of Rwanda, a certificate in micro-finance from Bangladesh, and has earned several certificates in trauma counselling in Rwanda. She is passionate about the Association’s development and aspires to strengthen and diversify the types of vocational training that Tubahumurize provides. In 2015 Jeanne won the US Embassy’s Women of Courage Award. Jeanne’s ultimate dream is to create the first women’s shelter in Rwanda.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Ninette Umurerwa

National Executive Secretary of Haguruka

Haguruka means ‘stand up’ in Kinyarwanda. Haguruka’s mission is to promote and defend the rights of women and children. Our organization works towards improving access to justice and increased empowerment initiatives to ensure women and children may claim their rights throughout Rwanda. Haguruka continues at the forefront in the fight for women and children’s rights over the past three decades as a registered non-governmental organization under Rwanda law.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Marie Raissa Uwamungu

Executive Director of Impanuro Gils’ Initiative (IGI)

IMPA-NU-RO is a Kinyarwanda word that translates as “good advice”. Impanuro Girls’ Initiative (IGI) was founded by Marie Ange Raissa Uwamungu in 2017, in Kigali, Rwanda. The founder of the organisation was determined to address the teenage pregnancy issues as a result of poor or no access to Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) information and services among others. Inspired and committed to transforming the lives of vulnerable young girls in her own community, she was also joined by other young women, thus the foundation of Impanuro Girls’ Initiative (IGI).

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Peace Hillary Tumwesigire

Peace Hillary Tumwesigire, is a Rwandan woman journalist with 20 years of experience in the media profession. She has worked with various national and international media. She now manages her own famous media house branded Family Magazine, which operates in Rwanda, covering family stories, gender equality, family development, and combating sexual violence and Gender Based Violence through media. Besides, she is the Chairperson of Women Media Owners for Change (WMOC), a Network of Women owning media outlets in Rwanda, with the common goal to amplify woman voice through media. She is very committed to do the advocacy for gender equality and gender mainstreaming.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Dr. Eugenie Kayitesi

Health Equity and Rights Organization-Rwanda (HERO) is non-governmental, non-profit organization and independent based in Nyamata, Bugesera and with another Office in Kicukiro-Kigali Rwanda. HERO work to improve both the equity and accessibility of healthcare for all through education, social behavior change communications (SBCC) and other community based interventions. HERO was founded in 2014 by a committed and a dedicated group of Rwandan working in development sector, academics and different health sector across Rwanda and abroad.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Xaverine Uwimana

National Coordinator of Réseau des femmes

Réseau des femmes is improving socio-economic conditions of vulnerable rural woman; Fighting against Gender-Based Violence including Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), teenage pregnancies and preventing conflicts through peace building. By training on food Security and Nutrition education; Tackling woman’s unpaid care work ; Women’s leadership and decision making.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Felicité Rwemarika

Executive Director & Founder of Organization of Women in Sports (AKWOS)

AKWOS is an organization that was set up to remove stereotypes that held woman back from enjoying sports. In the aftermath of the genocide and deep cultural belief that only men should be involved in sports, female football was introduced by Akwos to encourage women to participate in order to break the cultural barrier, alleviate loneliness and depression. The organization later on grew to include other sports as a tool for women empowerment. 20 years down the road Akwos has been used as a unique platform for social change to address issues like unity and reconciliation, gender equality, GBV, HIV and women economic empowerment.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Juliette Karitanyi

Director of Communications of Health Development Initiative (HDI)

Health Development Initiative (HDI) is an independent, non-profit organization based in Kigali and registered with the Rwandan government. HDI strives to improve both the quality and accessibility of healthcare for all Rwandans. Health Development Initiative strives to improve both the quality and accessibility of healthcare for all Rwandans through advocacy, coalition building, capacity building, outreach, and training of beneficiaries and duty bearers. HDI was founded in 2005 by a dedicated group of Rwandan physicians working in health facilities and communities across the country. This diverse group of health professionals was united by a shared commitment to improve the health of disadvantaged communities within and outside of the healthcare system. When HDI was established, the founders knew that Rwanda’s most vulnerable populations were not being heard by their communities, duty bearers, and policy makers. Thus we began by listening and getting to know the people that HDI would strive to serve in order to learn how to design the programs and why those programs were so critical.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda


Founder & Executive Director of Save Generations Organization

Save Generations Organization (SGO), is a Rwandan developmental and women’s rights Non- Government Organization (NGO) dedicated to promote, protect and advocate for children, youth and women’s rights and works to prepare, empower and equip the future generations. It has been established in 2015 and is registered at Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) with legal personality number 008/ RGB /NGO/2016, issued in 2016. Save Generations Organization headquarters is based in Gasabo District. Save Generations Organization operates up to now in 4 districts of Rwanda, including Gasabo district in the City of Kigali, Kamonyi district in the southern province, Nyagatare and Bugesera Districts, both located in the Eastern province of Rwanda. In Gasabo District, it works in Rusororo and Ndera sectors; in Kamonyi District, it works in Rukoma and Ngamba Sectors. In Nyagatare it works in Rwimiyaga, Karangazi, Nyagatare , Tabagwe and Mimuri districts ; In the previous years, Save Generations Organization had interventions in Kicukiro District, in Masaka and Kigarama sectors in partnership with Hope and Homes for Children; and in Rwamagana District, for the girls funded from Muyumbu, Gahengeri and Nyakariro Sectors, in partnership with A Bridge for Girls Fund.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Dativah Mukamusonera

Founder & Executive Director of Girls Tech Ventures

Creating opportunities for girls through Technology, Health, and Education in rural areas.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Pelagie Muhorakeye

Rwanda National Association of Deaf Women (RNADW) is an organization of people with disabilities (OPD) that is fully registered with the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB). Founded in 2005 by a group of Deaf women human rights activists 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 a 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 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, ( established the deaf population in Rwanda to be 133,000 people. Our strategic goals include Capacity Building which entails a 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 the 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 deaf women in Rwanda. The strategic goals are interlinked and projects will naturally overlap in most cases.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Divine Ingabire

Executive Director of I Matter Initiative & LUNA

I Matter Initiative is a Non-Government Organisation registered under Rwanda Governance Board, was created in 2019 and was approved by Rwanda Government Board in 2020. We're here to create a world where all girls are empowered to be active changers of their future. I Matter was founded to help provide access to feminine hygiene products and reproductive justice education. We have a vision to create a world where girls are empowered to be active changers of their future.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Crescence Mukantabana

Founder and Executive Director of Reseau de Developpement des Femmes Pauvres (RDFP)

Crescence Mukantabana, Founder and Executive Director of Reseau de Developpement des Femmes Pauvres Champion, Activist, and Feminist on Gender Equality, Women Empowerment, and Human Rights said that parallel reports are fundamental to complement the government work in building the capacity of women and clearly advocate for existing issues that are still hindering women development.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Odette Musengimana

Legal Representative of Reseau Culturel Sangwa (R.C.S)

Réseau Culturel SANGWA is a Non-Govermental Organization, founded in 2006 by artist women to strengthen harmony in families. It was granted legal status in 2011. The Organization's vision is “To contribute to building a Rwandan society characterized by social justice, a culture of peace, unity, and reconciliation, gender, poverty reduction, and livelihood enhancement”. To support family members to build and sustain peaceful relationships, characterized by dialogue, peace, and equity, access to basic needs, as well as socio-economic and cultural self-fulfillment.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Claire Ketsia Kabanyana

Founder & President of Dorcas Consolation Family

Dorcas Consolation Family is a non-profit and humanitarian organization with a vision of equipping women for sustainable development in their communities in Rwanda, Africa, and across the world. Dorcas Consolation Family is a grass-root organization based in a rural area to witness the needs of beneficiaries and find a participative solution. Created in 2005, Dorcas Consolation Family has implemented life-changing programs ranging from climate-resilient agriculture in Bugesera District, contribution to the education of children from vulnerable families, and health access to deprived communities of Kicukiro and Rwamagana District.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Madine Mukandayisenga

RIFA is a non-government organization founded to work towards improved health, rights, and protection.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Esperance Kayirebe

Project Manager of ARTCF

Association Rwandaise des Travailleurs Chrétiens Féminins (ARTCF) is a Local non-governmental organization that is empowering vulnerable society in Rwanda.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Nooliet Kabanyana

Executive Secretary RNGOF on HIV/AIDS & HP of Rwanda NGOs Forum on HIV/AIDS and Health Promotion

Rwanda NGO Forum on HIV/AIDS and Health Promotion (RNGOF & HP) is an umbrella/network of local, national NGOs committed directly or indirectly to fighting against HIV/AIDS in Rwanda. It was created in 1999 and gathers more than 100 national NGO members whose activities in fighting against HIV/AIDS and the promotion of health in Rwanda are coordinated, monitored and evaluated. The Forum is a network of National NGOs decentralized up to the district level. It is also a member of the Rwanda Civil Society Platform (RCSP) at the National level, the Eastern Africa National Network on AIDS Service Organization (EANNASO) at the regional level, African Council on AIDS Service organization (AFRICASO), and International Council on AIDS Service Organization (ICASO) at international level. In its day-to-day activities, RNGOF on HIV/AIDS & HP deals with coordination, capacity building, advocacy, funds mobilization and Monitoring and Evaluation of activities of its members in collaboration with key partners, in particular, Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC).

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Chantal Benekigeri

Director of Clinics Systems of We Actx for Hope

Women’s Equity in Access to Care and Treatment is an international community-based HIV/AIDS initiative operating in the East African nation of Rwanda. Our two locally-staffed clinical sites offer highly-integrated medical and psycho-social services, free of charge, for 2,250 patients living with HIV. Since we began in 2003, our programs have expanded to include confidential testing, nutritional support, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission, as well as the administration of several ongoing research studies. In addition to providing individual counseling and cognitive-behavioral therapy, we offer specialized support groups for teens, young mothers, survivors of sexual and domestic violence, and men living with HIV. Our youth support groups, which serve 600 children and teens, are facilitated by indigenous young adult leaders from the WE-ACTx clinic. WE-ACTx has also organized four income-generation cooperatives, an annual youth summer camp, and yoga classes for children and adults. As of 2013, a dedicated team of Rwandan healthcare providers operates these programs as their own local NGO, WE-ACTx for Hope, with the support of WE-ACTx, grassroots community partners, and Rwandan government health agencies.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Nicole Nyiraneza

Guiding in Rwanda began in 1962 with the help of members of the Guides Catholiques de Belgique. However, due to the lack of support from local leaders, interest in the Movement dwindled after independence later that year. In 1967, Guiding was revived as a branch of the Scout Association. The Girl Guides set up their own organization, the Fédération des Guides du Rwanda in 1972 with a small team responsible for administration. The Federation was composed of two Associations, the Association des Guides Catholiques and the Association des Guides Protestantes. A proposal was made in 1974 to form a single association, and the first National Assembly accepted this idea two years later. In 1977, the Constitution was accepted at a general meeting, a permanent national team was appointed, and a work plan was drawn up. The Association des Guides du Rwanda (AGR) received official government recognition in 1980.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Nicolette Nsabimana

Executive Director of Centre Marembo

Centre Marembo is a national Non-Governmental Organization that was established in 2013 with a vision of restoring dignity and integration of girls who are victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Rose K. Gahire

The Palliative Care Association of Rwanda ensures the promotion and provision of support for quality palliative care throughout Rwanda, the Palliative Care Association of Rwanda (PCAR) focuses on three A’s: acceptable, accessible, and affordable. With its headquarters located in Kigali, the national association aims to integrate many palliative care services into already existing health systems by developing policies, training health professionals, and advocating for pain management medicine. Much of their work focuses on creating awareness and policy change for palliative care. Rather than focusing on care for patients, they focus on building the health system infrastructure needed to ensure palliative care is available to all in Rwanda. They hope that in entering a partnership, these initiatives will be carried out effectively and eventually lead to institutional capacity building.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Francine Ingabire

Executive Director at Women Gain Rwanda

Women GAIN Rwanda is a non-profit organization to promote women’s leadership and gender equality. The organization's mission is to promote women and girls' participation in leadership and decision-making processes and build networks and programs that connect them, to make their contribution and realize their dreams as women and girls on community challenges.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Emma Marie Bugingo

Executive Director at Pro-Femmes Twese Hamwe

Pro-Femmes/ Twese Hamwe (PFTH) is an Umbrella of Rwandan Civil Society Organizations aiming at advancement of women's status, peace and development in Rwanda.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Verdiane Nyiramana

Executive Secretary at Benimpuhwe Organization

BENIMPUHWE is a non-government organization legally registered and certified by Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) recognized by Rwandan whose mission is to conduct solidarity and support actions for the most vulnerable people, promote sustainable peace, uphold cultural values and peoples’ self-realization for a better and more sustainable socio-economic development at the local communities and to the Rwandan society at large. BENIMPUHWE started in 1988 and legally recognized in 1995. It is operating in 15 districts of Rwanda namely Nyarugenge, Bugesera, Gisagara, Huye, Muhanga, Kicukiro Nyamagabe, Nyagatare, Karongi, Ruhango, Rwamagana, Kirehe, Gicumbi, Nyanza and Kayonza. The organization provides assistance to vulnerable groups including women, orphans, and other vulnerable children so as to improve their livelihood and sustain adequate living conditions. The purpose of BENIMPUHWE is to bring response to the poorest and disadvantaged people in their fight against poverty.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Isabelle Kamariza

President and Founder at Solid Africa

Solid Africa aims to provide food, hygiene, and medical support to low-income patients in Rwandan public hospitals. Solid Africa has grown to provide support for different awareness programs. Solid Africa endeavors to gather members of the public; individuals and companies to create a system that thrives on intersectional help.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Chantal Umuhoza

Executive Director at Spectra

SPECTRA is a Rwandan young feminist non-governmental organization founded by and for young feminists in 2016. SPECTRA aims to build a strong and well-coordinated movement of empowered young feminist leaders who contribute meaningfully to social and gender justice and the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and young women. SPECTRA does this through movement and capacity building, mentorship/inter-generational learning, and advocacy.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Grace Uwizeye

Founder and Director at Nyampinga Ushoboye

Grace UWIZEYE is the Founder and Director of the Nyampinga Ushoboye Organization. she is a self-driven individual with a great passion for uplifting the lives of vulnerable families, especially children, young girls, teenagers mothers, women, and youth at large. Nyampinga Ushobye ( Miss Capable ) aimed at impacting the community positively through young girls’ talents like acting, fashion, design, painting, singing, and dancing, where she made young girls’ dreams come true, and been able to organize successful cultural fashion shows, community outreaches.

Executive Director- Women For Women - Rwanda

Denyse Mugabekazi

Founder & Executive Director at Grown To Help

Grown To Help is founded in 2020 by an avid young lady called Mugabekazi Denyse who envisions a world of justice and equal opportunities, Grown to Help (GTH) is an independent, non-governmental, non-profit organization based in Kigali; registered and operating in accordance with the Rwandan law. GTH endeavors for a country in which all children access quality education, and women have influence over decision-making and participate fully and effectively in society’s development. it carries activities in various sectors including poverty alleviation, women empowerment, education, and family welfare.

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