Rwandan women have been challenged to engage in cross border trade to benefit from East African integration.
Speaking during a one day workshop for government officials on gender dimensions of cross border trade, East African sub regional support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) project officer, Nivatiti Nandujja , called on governments to put in place policies that help women to engage in trade across borders.
"EASSI has focused on the needs of women in the areas of small scale trade across the common borders of the East Africa Community as well as the issues around migration and movement of women and girls across borders for economic reasons" said Nandujja.
She added the project has embarked on creating awareness on the EAC instruments to the different stakeholders to ensure greater understanding of the gender dimensions of regional trade.
"We call for eradication of all forms of discrimination towards women, and to enhance the institutional and organisational capacities through the promotion of sustainable human development based on gender equality and a culture of peace, justice and human rights" added Nandujja.
Citing insufficient funds for gender specific programmes, she explained that although regional integration has created a lot of opportunities economically, socially and politically, there are also elements and trends that have exacerbated inequalities between men and women due to a combination of factors.
Other challenges cited as a hindrance to women are lack of gender responsive budgets, ineffective institutional mechanism, poor public service infrastructure, discriminatory laws and the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS.
According Women Informal Cross Border Trade (WICBTS) project coordinator, Mupenzi EJid the workshop helped participants to get more knowledge on gender concepts and their link to cross border trade.