During the last quarter of 2016, RWAMREC senior staff have been involved in the development of the terms of reference integrating the Rights Based Approach in a new strategic plan. Three Stones Consultants were selected to support in the development of the strategic plan, based on their experience. The Consultants organized workshops where RWAMREC staff were introduced to the rights based approach. The workshops were a good opportunity to set the priority objectives of this strategic plan based on the current country context, RWAMREC mission and vision as well as the new orientations of the Programme Based Approach integrating the Rights Based Approach alongside with the MenEngage approach.
While participants agreed on Rwanda’s high commitment, performance and progress in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment since 1994, they also acknowledged persisting disparities and key areas of concern the new strategic plan should focus on: gender based violence, violence against women, women’s limited access and control over productive means, limited access to decision making etc. The perceived gaps construct women as naturally inferior and men tend to control women (their wives, their daughters and their sisters). In some instances, they are even allowed physical force to do so. These gaps are perceived in families, schools, work place and other public places. The commitment of RWAMREC and its partners lies in changing the negative cultural and traditional norms that stand in the way for women’s empowerment, changing mindsets so that Rwandans can acknowledge and address gender disparities.
The new strategic plan has taken into consideration guiding documents including the Sustainable Development Goals, 2003 Constitution as revised to date of the Republic of Rwanda, EDPRS II, the National Gender Policy, various laws that address the traditional gender patterns, discrimination and GBV.
The new strategic plan also identifies a number of key partners including the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF), the National Women’s Council (NWC), the Gender Monitoring Office (GMO), the Gender Desk, FFRP (Forum of Women Parliamentarians), and male parliamentarians, civil society organizations (CSOs and units within the National Police and Army to ensure the successful implementation, effective coordination, monitoring and evaluation (M&E).
5 key result areas have been identified in the next 5 years:
1.Community empowerment: RWAMREC will design interventions that involve all members of the community to create conducive environments for gender equality and women’s empowerment. This will be achieved through engaging men as partners, beneficiaries and agents of change.
2. Healthy Families: Considering the fact that gender disparities pose significant barriers to health and nutrition outcomes of children, women and families, RWAMREC interventions will promote healthy and peaceful families through prevention of intimate partner violence as well as any other form of gender discrimination. RWAMREC will build on its previous experience in promoting positive gender relations, fatherhood and parenthood.
3. Child Support and Youth Mentorship: After realizing that Rwanda ‘s population is overwhelmingly young, and considering that children and youth are the future of the country, RWAMREC has adopted to actively deconstruct rigid gender norms, socialize the youth and children into healthy gender relations and values, engage them to adopt positive forms of masculinities/femininities and non-violent behaviors.
4. Gender Justice: Taking into account the gender gaps identified, RWAMREC will design interventions that engage men to recognize and create a space for women’s rights. These interventions will also advocate for accountable policies and institutions for effective gender responsive service delivery that restore the dignity of survivors of GBV. RWAMREC will contribute to creating gender just institutions and mechanisms based on gender focused policy and legal frameworks.
5. Institutional Capacity Development: For RWAMREC to deliver effectively, to expand and to network, it is imperative that its capacities are strengthened adequately. The capacity building and partnership of RWAMREC have to respond to the individual and institutional needs identified in the organizational assessment.
RWAMREC needs to strengthen its management systems so that it is enabled to manage human, financial and material resources in the context of the Programme Based Approach. Given the fact that RWAMREC seeks behavior change which is a long and slow process requiring a lot of resources, participants realized that RWAMREC need to strengthen its capacity for resilience.