Home Institution

Elon University

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Program Name

Rwanda: Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding


This project is an assessment of the effectiveness of storytelling as a mechanism of self-empowerment in the context of post-genocide Rwanda. It concentrates on the effects of the storytelling that is done by female survivors of the 1994 genocide within one Rwandan organization, AVEGA Agahozo.[1] The research project aim is to understand how these women in contemporary Rwanda try to counter their oppression through the stories they tell others about themselves and reclaim agency over their own lives. I examine the possibilities for, and limitations of, storytelling as a means of self-empowerment for these women to counter the unjust circumstances they still face in the aftermath of 1994. Using interviews along with secondary research, this study concludes that these women of AVEGA were able to use storytelling as an effective means of self-empowerment in certain respects. However, I contend that storytelling’s effectiveness in this case is partially due to circumstantial factors that should be considered when examining other instances of storytelling as a means of empowerment in post-conflict contexts.

[1] AVEGA serves mostly widowed genocide survivors, although it also caters to some elderly male survivors and orphans.


African History | African Studies | Communication | Community-Based Research | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Pain Management | Women's Studies


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