In April 2014, the Oxford Human Rights Hub (OxHRH) with funding from The Law Foundation, in partnership with The Oxford Martin School programme on Human Rights for Future Generations, the University of Cape Town and with support from Oxford alum, the Chief Justice of Rwanda, Hon Sam Rugege hosted a global conference on women in poverty in Kigali, Rwanda. The conference brought together and created a network of leading actors in a variety of disciplines working on poverty, gender equality and human rights. The opening speech was delivered by the First Lady of Rwanda, Her Excellency Mrs Jeannette Kagame and the OxHRH was particularly delighted to have the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion Hon. Gasinzigwa and Dean Timothy Endicott participate in the conference.
Over the three days of the conference lasting connections were forged. There were lively and impassioned discussion on many complex and challenges issues that women’s poverty raises: the regulation of the informal labour market, the role of customary law and tradition, the impact of migration and displacement within East Africa and the promise of corporate social responsibility. At the conference world renowned experts from the United Nations, the World Bank and Oxford University were able to debate and discuss these issues with committed and energetic students from the University of Rwanda, leading government officials in Rwanda, civil society organisations based all over the world and academics from Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon and Burundi. The OxHRH was delighted that the conference was able to draw on expertise from around the globe and connect it to new and emerging voices in East Africa to explore the potential of human rights to solve women’s poverty.