An international event for gender equality

Published on :

11 September 2023

Published in :

Gender Equality

The sixth-ever Women Deliver conference, one of the most important conferences on gender equality and the fight for women’s and girls’ rights, took place in sunny Kigali, Rwanda, from July 17 to 20, 2023. More than 6,000 people from all over the world came together for this event, and members of our team were in attendance to hear the many speakers and showcase SOCODEVI and its booth.


At the conference, attendees dug deep into issues of gender equality, women’s rights and international development, including a discussion on how to decolonize international aid through partnerships with local feminist organizations. Vibrant discussions, presentations and exchanges between attendees focused on the urgent need to tear down the systemic barriers to women’s empowerment and full participation in all industries, especially with the rising threat of climate change, which disproportionately affects women. Attendees discussed themes such as maternal health, education, economic opportunities and leadership, shedding light on their interconnectedness and impact on sustainable development goals.


Some of the main lessons from the conference included the importance of intersectionality in solving women’s issues the world over, the need to make allies of men and boys, and the necessity of ensuring that women’s voices are heard and integrated into the decision-making process. At the end of the day, the conference highlighted that gender equality isn’t just a moral imperative, but a key driver of social progress and prosperity for all.



Cooperatives for women

SOCODEVI, in collaboration with the Rwanda Institute of Cooperatives, Entrepreneurship and Microfinance (RICEM), organized a side event to the conference on July 18 on the theme of cooperatives for women. Around fifty people attended this panel featuring six women who are leaders in their fields:


  • Denise Murebwayire, advisor to RICEM management
  • Rachel Tchéma, SOCODEVI’s gender equality advisor in Côte d’Ivoire
  • Jennifer Bonilla, executive director of the National Council of Women Cooperators of Honduras
  • Kouao N’Guessan, chair of the gender committee of the Farmers Hope (FAHO) cooperative of cocoa growers in Côte d’Ivoire
  • Pacifique Mugwaneza, director general of the Rwanda Cooperative Agency
  • Alice Uwingabiye, financial management consultant for smallholder farmers for the World Food Program


With all of their experience and expertise in the world of cooperatives, these women were able to highlight the cooperative movement as a sustainable, independent and transformative model for advancing the rights of women and reducing poverty.


The event’s main goal was to demonstrate that by coming together in successful cooperatives, women can gain power and become agents of change in their community.


Panel members also took part in a series of inspiring exchanges with the public that could have lasted for hours!




“SOCODEVI’s training helped women understand that they are equal to men, that they can handle their money by themselves and that they are also members of the co-op. Whatever men can do, women can do too!”

– Kouao N’Guessan, chair of the gender community of the FAHO cooperative, supported by SOCODEVI in Côte d’Ivoire




“SOCODEVI and its partners implemented winning strategies and conditions favourable to the full participation of women as powerful agents of change.”

– Jean-Philippe Marcoux, CEO of SOCODEVI



“The association helped women rise to more important positions in their organization. Some women even ran for mayor, allowing them to promote women’s rights in their communities.”

– Jennifer Bonilla, executive director of the National Council of Women Cooperators of Honduras


Thank you to everyone who made this event such a resounding success!