Our Story


In 1991, ethnic tensions were flaring in Rwanda and this fuelled sociopolitical upheavals across the country. The multiparty political system had just been given authority that increased the existing political chaos. The RPA launched its liberation struggle, which gave a glimmer of hope, but the larger social, ethnic, economic and political dysfunctions had already negatively affected the family unit and were hardly felt by women and children. This is when Haguruka was born. At a time when women and children were facing social injustices all over the country there was a need to ‘stand up’, which is the meaning of Haguruka in Kinyarwanda.

Creation Phase (1991-1994):

During that time, there were rampant social injustices against women, with acute gender inequality prevalent in the country. Many women were disempowered and unable to engage in income-generating activities or secure regular work to support themselves. Moreover, they had no control over the money they earned. The situation was particularly dire for women in informal marriages as they lacked any rights or influence over family property. Women’s inclusion in state laws and other legal instruments remained significantly deficient. In such challenging circumstances, women required someone to stand up for them, fight on their behalf, and provide defense. This is precisely the role that Haguruka played, battling social injustices and patricidal systems.

Rebuilding Phase (1995-2001):

In 1994, during the genocide against the Tutsi, women were brutally killed and subjected to horrific acts of rape. After the genocide, many people lost their loved ones, including children, husbands, and other family members. In response, Haguruka partnered with other organizations to provide emergency aid to those who had been affected, especially women, children, and the elderly. Rebuilding the entire country seemed like a daunting task, but Haguruka remained committed to contributing in every way possible. The organization aimed to address social injustices, challenge patriarchal systems, and provide advocacy and psychosocial support.

Resilience Phase (2001-2021):

By 2001, Haguruka brought a fresh perspective to women’s empowerment by focusing on legal matters. Haguruka played a significant role in advocating for legal reforms and laws that empower women, contributing to amendments in discriminatory, citizenship, and family laws. Haguruka was one of the organizations that presented civil society positions on women-focused issues proposed to be included in the constitution, such as the 30 percent quota proposal. At the end of this process, 98 percent of their proposals were included in the constitution. Haguruka also successfully advocated for the reform of a law that granted Rwandan citizenship to children born to Rwandan women and foreign men.

Sustainability phase 2021- present:

Human problems persist across generations, but their complexity evolves over time. These problems are influenced by several factors such as technological advancements, social and cultural shifts, and other factors. Women’s full rights are hindered by significant barriers such as teen pregnancies, gender-based violence, and high divorce rates. The fragility of the family unit is also a challenge faced by modern society. Despite efforts to reform unfair laws, the patriarchal burden still persists in Rwandan society, posing ongoing challenges for women. In response to these issues, Haguruka has been conducting research and advocating for innovative approaches that prioritize the participation and ownership of rights holders in interventions. To guide and influence future actions, documenting success stories is also a pivotal strategy employed by Haguruka.