First Advisor

Emily Van Houweling


Fawsia Ahmad


Regis College

Degree Name

Master of Development Practice

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

47 pages


In Rwanda, 47% of pregnancies are unintended every year (Basinga et al., 2012). These pregnancies lead to problems such as children growing without fathers, single mothers, girls dropping out of school, stigmatisation in the community and consequently a cycle of poverty. My literature review revealed that single mothers become mothers in their teen years, while they are exercising experimental sex. In many cases, their partners are children themselves which might explain their lack of involvement in the child’s life. However, there are other cases where girls and women are raped or involved in transactional sex for survival. I conducted a literature review and talked to single mothers in Karongi district in the Western province of Rwanda, and after considering the findings of my research and my own observations and experience living in the community, I designed a project called: Single Mothers Empowerment Project (SMEP). SMEP will attempt to remove some challenges preventing women from being financially independent and contributing members of their community. Ideally, these women would be accepted and embraced in their own community, so that they didn’t have to carry such big responsibilities alone or be stripped of joys of becoming a mother. Unfortunately, change takes time, and that is the time these women or their babies do not have as while change is yet to happen, precious years of life are passing by. As a trained development practitioner, the next best thing is to equip them so that while the community is learning to accept and embrace them, and/or change some of their long held believes (like no sex talk with parents), single mothers can take proper care of themselves. This project’s goal is to equip single mothers with the necessary tools and support to care for themselves and their children. Through the provision of skills training, sex education, childcare, and advocacy within the community, the project will directly contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 1): ending poverty for all while indirectly affecting SDG 2,4 &8.

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

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