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Mission Note – Rwanda, July 2007

Policy Issues for Gender Mainstreaming in the EDPRS and PRSG 4

Deborah Davis

The EDPRS identifies gender as a cross-cutting issue that has to be mainstreamed in the planning
and budgeting of all sectors if Rwanda is to achieve its development goals. The EDPRS predicts
that 75 percent of districts will meet (yet to be) established benchmarks for mainstreaming gender
and other cross-cutting issues (environment, HIV/AIDS, social inclusion) by 2012. It then goes on
to say:

Implementation of an engendered EDPRS depends on several factors. The most


important is to ensure that gender issues are fully integrated into sector and district plans
from the start. Unless and until this is achieved, gender…risks being marginalized by
policymakers. Clear budget commitments must be made to promote gender as an issue
[so that] the Government and its citizens see where progress is being made and where
remedial support is required. Tracking gender-disaggregated data through the monitoring
system will allow policymakers to identify the differential impact of policies and service
delivery on men and women. Following a comprehensive needs assessment (emphasis
added), capacity must be strengthened to enable line ministries to…implement EDPRS
actions on all cross-cutting issues. (para. 5.69)

The concern expressed in the EDPRS about the possible marginalization of gender issues, and the
emphasis on integrating gender into sector planning and budgeting, is in direct response to negative
assessments of how gender was handled in Rwanda’s first PRSP. In particular, (1) a gender audit
carried out in 2003 found that gender was not integrated into the PRSP’s growth and economic
development components; (ii) ODI’s Independent Evaluation of Rwanda’s Poverty Reduction
Strategy 2002-2005, carried out in 2005, found that while gender was mentioned in the policy
matrix for education, it was not mentioned in the matrices for agriculture, economic infrastructure,
governance (including community development and justice), private sector development, social
capital for vulnerable groups, public expenditure management, or coordination and monitoring of
the PRSP; and (iii) the Government’s own self-evaluation of the PRSP, based on sector evaluations
carried out in 2006, found “a lack of evidence of progress” in gender and other cross-cutting issues.
“The particular concerns,” the self-evaluation noted, “are the absence of objectives, the weaknesses
of data and monitoring and the lack of empirical budget evidence.” It also reported that some of
the sector working groups did not consider gender issues to be relevant to their sector.
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To address these weaknesses, the self-evaluation recommended that the EDPRS provide a
compliance framework for integrating gender and other cross-cutting issues into every sector,
including “a baseline of minimum action” and “a way of checking and monitoring the targets.” It
also recommended that expert advice be provided in every sector over the next five years to manage
the mainstreaming of gender and other cross-cutting issues; and that MINECOFIN be responsible
for ensuring the delivery of progress reports and tracking budget allocations related to those issues.

How well have these recommendations, as they pertain to gender mainstreaming, been reflected in
the EDPRS? A gender analysis of the document reveals that while the EDPRS does note the
importance of integrating gender into sector plans and budgets and of tracking gender-
disaggregated data, it provides little guidance or support, and no specific mechanisms, for
operationalizing these recommendations. Further, the EDPRS Strategic Outcome Indicators make
no mention of gender (except for maternal mortality and the fertility rate). In addition, the summary
Strategy Policy Matrix combines gender with social inclusion, which diminishes its importance as
a distinct area of focus. The matrix sets 2007 as the baseline for annual gender reports, but the
EDPRS does not address the issue of how baseline data will be collected.

Gender appears in the EDPRS matrix section on education, but not until 2010, when the Girls
Education Policy and Strategy is due to be published. In 2008 and 2009, the sector will focus on
teacher development, finalizing the TVET policy, putting in place guidelines for means testing, and
finalizing the strategic plan for special needs education. Gender is not mentioned in the matrix
sections on agriculture, infrastructure, land, social protection, water and sanitation, justice, or
private sector development. The absence of gender in the agriculture section of the matrix is
particularly notable, give the fact that (i) the EDPRS clearly states that “livestock ownership varies
by the gender of the household head, with fewer female headed households owning livestock than
male headed households” (para. 2.17); and (ii) livestock is widely recognized, in Rwandan society,
as a way out of poverty. The matrix also does not mention gender in the sections on
decentralization, science and technology, environment, or HIV/AIDS. This lack of a specific focus
on gender in the EDPRS, despite its central importance to both economic and social development,
might be seen to validate the concern expressed in the ODI report that “placing gender as a cross-
cutting issue renders it vague, marginalizes it politically, and as a result increases the risk that it
will fall off everyone’s agenda.”

This Note focuses on the treatment of gender in the agriculture and education sectors, so the
strategies and action plans for education and agriculture are reviewed in the next section to see
whether they provide more detail about how gender is to be mainstreamed under the EDPRS. The
Ministry of Education’s Joint Review of the Education Sector and the draft TVET policy are
reviewed as well, to assess how they are reflected in the EDPRS. The Note then describes some of
the views, concerns, and ongoing efforts of women’s NGOs, the Forum of Women
Parliamentarians, and the National Women’s Council to improve the situation of women and girls
in Rwanda, and the needs of these organizations if they are to continue their work – and not only
in the education and agriculture sectors, but on a wide range of issues that affect women’s welfare,
including gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS, land rights, microenterprise, and political
participation. The Note also reports on discussions with officials at the Ministry of Gender and
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Family Promotion, the Ministry of Environment, the heads of the DFID and UNIFEM country
offices in Rwanda, and World Bank country staff concerned with gender issues in agriculture and
education. Finally, the Note offers recommendations for policy actions that could be carried out
during the period of the EDPRS.

Gender Strategy in the Agriculture Sector

The Strategic Plan for Agricultural Transformation (SPAT), published in October 2004 (two years
into the first PRSP), lists “promotion of the gender approach and reduction of vulnerability of
disadvantaged groups” as one of 10 strategic axes for 2005-2008; and it does a good job of
identifying some the main gender equity issues in agriculture. In particular, the document (section
3.2.4) makes the following observations: (i) “rural women work almost all the time except for
some hours of sleep”; (ii) “women take part in all forms of activity whereas men do not do certain
types of work reserved for women by nature (breastfeeding, childcare) or by tradition (grinding on
the traditional grinding stone)”; (iii) men tend to tender cash crops such as tobacco, coffee, banana
plantations and vegetables [while] women tend to be more involved in food crops (cereals, tubers,
beans, peas and maize)”; and (iv) “women in age groups 15-60 years spend one third of their time
in agriculture, while men work only 19.4 percent in agriculture; 54 percent of [men’s time is spent]
in diverse leisure activities and on paid work against 18 percent for women.” In terms of remedies,
however, the strategy says very little. One recommendation under the action plan is that “the
ministry ought to get a gender strategy” to guide sector actors (para. 3.81). The other
recommendation, under the section on promotion of the gender approach, is that “extension
systems…for many years have not taken women into account….Potentialities however exist for an
effective integration of gender in the process of agricultural development” (para. 2.37).

MINAGRI’s Strategy for Developing Fertilizer Distribution Systems in Rwanda, published in April
2007, does not mention gender at all, though it is well known that fertilizer is essential for
sustainable intensification of food crop production, that food crops are produced mainly by women,
and that women use far less fertilizer than men (either because they are not receiving adequate
information about its importance, or because they can’t afford the cost). Nor is gender mentioned
in the Assessment and Action Plan for Improving Agricultural Research and Technology, published
in June 2007. Nevertheless, the sector logframe, issued in June 2007, includes several important
gender indicators, including an increase in the number of women benefiting from energy saving
technologies; from training in farming as a business; from membership in farmers cooperatives,
associations, and supply chains; and from the One House One Cow program.

Thus, except for the logframe, the main strategy documents in the agriculture sector do little to
augment or compensate for the EDPRS’ weak approach to gender mainstreaming in the sector. The
logframe shows a high level of gender sensitivity, but its programs and goals for women are not
well reflected in the EDPRS.

Gender Strategy in the Education Sector


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The story is very different in the education sector, where the Millennium Development Goal of
universal primary education has brought the issue of girls’ education into sharp focus. The EDPRS
attributes the rise in net primary enrollment, from 74 percent in 2000-01 to 86 percent in 2005-06
(87 percent for girls, 85 percent for boys), to “an advanced strategic plan and strong donor
alignment.” However, there is no discussion of the girls’ much higher dropout rate in primary
education, or of why girls do not perform as well on exit exams. The EDPRS does emphasis the
importance of education for poverty reduction and gender parity, and notes that “districts will be
encouraged to develop education plans that specifically include strategies for nine-year basic
education, girls’ education, TVET, school management, adult literacy, and early childhood
development.” With educational standards, sufficient schools, and decentralized monitoring and
evaluation systems not yet in place, however, the EDPRS could include more concrete assistance
to the districts to help them meet these objectives.

Though the EDPRS is short on detail about girls’ education, it is underpinned by the Ministry of
Education’s Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP), published in October 2006, which proposes a
set of actions that would significantly improve the school experience for girls. These include, most
immediately, (i) providing adequate sanitation facilities and an environment free from abuse, to
make it easier for girls to study; and (ii) scaling up Tuseme (“Speak Out”) clubs in schools, to
empower girls by helping them analyze issues affecting their education and work out solutions –
though these clubs are proposed only for the secondary level. The Ministry also plans, over the
longer term, to (i) establish a task force for coordinating girls’ education in Rwanda; (ii) include
girls’ education in the MTEF; and (iii) train teachers in the importance of encouraging girls to study
math, science, and technology. The Ministry also plans to improve retention rates – again, only at
the secondary level and above – but does not mention any of the exogenous factors, such as girls’
family obligations, that would need to be addressed to make this possible. Like the EDPRS, the
ESSP also fails to address the high leaving rate of girls in primary education.

The Joint Review of the Education Sector (JRES), published in May 2007, reviews progress made
under the ESSP, and highlights some of the strategy’s shortcomings noted above. It came out in
time for its findings to be reflected in the EDPRS, but they are largely absent from that document.
In particular, the JRES acknowledges – contrary to statements in the EDPRS – that girls do not do
as well in school as boys, and have higher dropout rates. The JRES also discusses the positive
impact on dropout rates of capitation grants and of the World Food Programme’s school feeding
initiative. Further, it notes the important work being done in the sector by NGOs (see below), and
says that this work has not been adequately captured by policymakers.

Finally, the draft TVET policy, published in April 2007, discusses the importance of integrating
technical and vocational education into the general education system. The paper notes that girls
account for 17 percent of the students in technical schools and up to 68 percent of those students in
accountancy and secretarial/administration schools. There is no mention of girls in the sciences.
The policy includes the development of continuing TVET programs for women, to enable them to
execute income-generating activities or find higher-paying jobs. However, the policy notes that
TVET programs for girls and women, like all TVET programs, suffer from structural underfunding
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– a problem that the EDPRS proactively addresses by increasing TVET’s share of education
spending from 3 percent to 15 percent under the high-growth scenario.

In summary, the ESSP, JRES, and TVET policy are important components of the EDPRS approach
to mainstreaming gender in education, although it is of some concern that the EDPRS does not
explicitly take a number of the issues highlighted in the ESSP and the JRES into account. On the
other hand, the EDPRS puts significant resources into TVET, which is seen as an important tool
for gender parity and poverty reduction.

Women’s NGOs

Rwanda Women’s Network

The Rwandan Women’s Network works with the poorest and most vulnerable of rural women –
those who were raped and contracted AIDS during the genocide; those who have no rights to land
or to the profits from the crops they produce; those who routinely suffer from gender-based violence
in their homes. The Network takes a comprehensive approach to helping these women by
advocating for their rights and training them on their rights, including their rights to property under
the new Land Law. It also educates women about the importance of voting and electing women as
village leaders; that program, Women Can Do It, is supported by a Norwegian NGO called People’s
Aid.

The Network also works to sensitize leaders and local police to respond appropriately when women
report being beaten by their husbands. Until recently, UNIFEM was supporting the effort to
encourage women to utilize this reporting system to have their husbands arrested and sent to jail.
Though this involved breaking the twin taboos of losing one’s husband and revealing secrets, a
number of women did find the courage to have their husbands arrested. The program was
discontinued, however, when many of the women came back and complained that they were unable
to survive without their husbands and that their families would not help them. The Network’s
current approach is to train village leaders and police to intercede in any manner short of forcing
the husband to leave the home.

Another of the Network’s programs is to provide scholarships for girls who are taking care of
mothers with AIDS, and would otherwise not have the resources to attend secondary school or have
the time to study. The girls and their mothers are provided with housing near the school so that the
girls can go to school full time without worrying about their mothers. The Network follows up on
their grades, provides tutors for girls who are not doing well, and addresses any problems that the
girls may have at school, so that the mothers are not burdened. These interventions eliminate the
pressures on girls to drop out of school because of poverty, family obligations, or the pressure to
get married. The Rwanda Women’s Network says it will need significantly more funding to
continue and scale up its programs.

HAGURUKA
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HAGURUKA is a legal assistance organization that operates in all four provinces. It trains
community paralegals to defend the rights of women and children, particularly in cases of
traditional marriage, or “concubinage,” under which the woman has no legal rights and the father
can deny paternity of his children. The paralegals educate women and children about their rights
under the new Family Code, and if they decide to take their case to court, HAGURUKA pays for
an attorney. The privately owned national radio station gives HAGURUKA free time to broadcast
its message.

The organization recently conducted a study evaluating the impact of the Family Code on the rights
of women and children, and plans to monitor how those rights are being enforced through the M&E
system it has developed to monitor gender issues. HAGURUKA is also planning a large baseline
study to determine how many women are still living in concubinage, and how many have claimed
succession rights under the new Land Law. It is currently negotiating with Oxfam Netherlands
(NOVIB) to support the study, which will be carried out in 5 sectors and 5 cells in each of 12
districts. HAGURUKA plans to use its M&E system and gender-disaggregated data from its
baseline study to make gender issues an integral part of the community monitoring system.

Duterimbere

Duterimbere has developed programs in the areas of microfinance for poor rural women;
reconciliation and social integration of genocide survivors, demobilized soldiers, and ex-prisoners;
conflict resolution; and trauma counseling. Its strategic plan for 2007-2009 includes reinforcing
the financial capacity of local microenterprise initiatives by 1000 low-income women; and training
50 women in each district in peace and reconciliation, reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS.

Duterimbere’s microfinance program is supported by ICCO Netherlands and Trocare Ireland.


Duterimbere has its own microfinance bank, the Institute of Microfinance, which develops the
capacity of poor women to become entrepreneurs. The program is currently in the northern and
eastern provinces. The microfinance program has also received support from the Canadian
Cooperation to train 112 trainers, who are now working with women entrepreneurs in 30 districts.
Duterimbere plans to train these trainers further in 2008 to develop the literacy skills of visibly
active women whom they identify as unable to read or write. It does not yet have a donor for this
activity. Duterimbere is also looking for funding to develop women’s enterprise centers in every
region of the country.

In addition, Duterimbere carries out research to identify the needs of genocide survivors,
demobilized soldiers, and ex-prisoners, and to develop economic opportunities for them. This
program, supported by International Alert, targets not just women, but also their families. It is now
being piloted in two districts and eight sectors. The conflict resolution program is being developed
in collaboration with Profemme; and the trauma counseling is being developed with the Rwandan
Association of Christian Workers (ARTC).
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Forum for the Advancement of Women Educationists (FAWE)

FAWE focuses on eliminating the obstacles to secondary education faced by severely


disadvantaged girls in rural areas, including genocide survivors. It has identified a number of
factors that negatively affect girls’ participation in schooling, including costs (both direct costs and
opportunity costs to the family); the social and family environment, including genital mutilation
and early marriage); the school environment, including safety, distance to school, and sanitation
facilities; girls’ lack of confidence and self-esteem; lack of gender sensitivity on the part of teachers
and in the curriculum; and the lack of guidance and counseling. To demonstrate that girls can
remain in school and become high achievers with the proper enabling environment, FAWE started
a secondary school for girls, known as the Rwanda Girls School, in a rural area with low female
enrollment. The school provides a model environment for learning, including teachers trained in
girls’ empowerment; science and computer courses; development workshops in which girls
participate in identifying and solving their own problems; adequate sanitation facilities; a
counseling center; a reference library; and a database of student profiles to assist in monitoring
their performance and personal development. Disadvantaged girls are given full scholarships,
including funds to cover their personal needs. FAWE would like to open similar schools in other
parts of the country.

FAWE is also concerned with the barriers to tertiary education. Because secondary and tertiary
schools have never synchronized their school years, and because of a shortage of spaces, secondary
school graduates have to wait a full year before entering the university. With few jobs available,
many girls are pressured by their families to leave the education system and get married during this
period. FAWE’s director suggests that the hiatus year could be used for TVET or language classes,
or that secondary graduates could assist teachers or perform some kind of national service. The
director also proposes that there by a study on the capacity of Rwanda’s universities. One
university, the Université Libre de Kigali, had been providing evening classes to 4,000 students,
many of them married women, before it moved to a new location 20 km outside the city. The
university experimented with providing transportation for evening students, but poor roads and
longer travel time have made it difficult for many of them to continue their studies. FAWE sees a
need for a system of community colleges at which married women can take evening classes closer
to their homes.

Women in Government

Forum of Women Parliamentarians

The Forum of Women Parliamentarians (FFRP) is working to change the laws that disadvantage
women. It consists of the 48 women currently in Parliament, plus, as ex-officio members, seven
former women parliamentarians and 17 male parliamentarians who actively support FFRP’s
agenda. FFRP was the driving force behind the amendment of the Land Law to give women equal
inheritance rights with men, although, as HAGURUKA pointed out, most women do not have the
legal knowledge or support they need to demand their rights. FFRP is now focused on the enactment
of the Prohibition of Violence Against Women bill now pending in Parliament. Before drafting the
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bill, FFRP held country-wide consultations with women at the grassroots level to determine their
needs. Based on these consultations, and taking account of findings by the Rwanda Women’s
Network and UNIFEM that women who have their husbands arrested are unable to survive without
them, the GBV bill sets up a fund to support women whose husbands are in jail for violence. FFRP
also plans to establish shelters and training/counseling centers for battered women in every district,
modeled on those set up by the Chinese Women’s Federation in China. The Chinese Women’s
Federation is funding the construction of the first shelter and training/counseling center, in Kigali.
FFRP does not have funding for its other planned facilities.

FFRP is also focused on amending the provision of the Family Law that punishes women more
severely than men for engaging in sex outside of marriage; and on amending the Trade Law, which
forbids women to exercise business activities without the permission of her husband.

FFRP’s plan of action for the next three years consists of four pillars: (i) develop the capacity of its
members to analyze gender issues and identify actions to solve women’s problems; (ii) hold
consultations with local, regional, and international women’s organizations on how to conduct
electoral campaigns and mobilize women to participate in elections; (iii) engage a consultant to
identify all laws that are detrimental to women, and organize working groups to implement changes
to those laws; and (iv) train women parliamentarians to carry out a gender analysis of the budget
and influence decisions on the allocation of resources. FFRP considers the first and fourth pillars
to be particular priorities. FFRP is receiving support from UNDP and DFID for capacity building
for its members; but it needs additional support and technical assistance to train women at the
grassroots level in voting and standing for election; and to help them develop the skills they need
to get out of poverty.

National Women’s Council

The National Women’s Council is the primary vehicle for ensuring that women are part of the
governance structure at all levels and throughout the country. It consists of a Permanent Secretariat,
funded by the Ministry of Gender; as well as a General Assembly and Executive Committee in
every village, cell, sector, district, and province, staffed by volunteers. All women at the village
level are members of the village General Assembly; they elect representatives to serve in the cell-
level Assembly; the cell-level Assembly elects representatives to serve in the sector-level assembly,
and so on. The Executive Committee at each level has members who are an integral part of that
level of government. For example, the woman in charge of property matters on the Executive
Committee is also in charge of property matters for the district; the same is true for planning, health
affairs, water issues, economic affairs, education and training, legal and justice affairs, social
affairs, and culture and civic education. In this way, gender is thoroughly mainstreamed into the
sub-national governance structure of the country. However, many of these women are not as
effective as they could be, due to a lack of training and technical support.

The Secretariat of the National Women’s Council has overall responsibility for mobilizing and
preparing women to stand for election, manage political change, and be accountable to the women
they represent. In mobilizing women for public action, however, the Council has found it necessary
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to address their other needs, including health and family planning, education and training, and
income generation. Though these additional activities are supported by UNIFEM, the HIV/AIDS
Commission, UNFPA (family planning), and the Ministry of Commerce (rural microenterprises),
the Council’s operations are chronically underfunded. Created by the Transitional Assembly as a
financially autonomous organization, the Council still has no independent funding stream, and
every year must compete for its share of the Ministry of Gender’s budget. The Council lacks the
funding to carry out a survey of women’s needs; to develop monitoring and evaluation mechanisms;
to buy computers and hire professionals; and to provide needed training to staff and volunteers.
The Council also lacks sufficient funding to fully implement its action plan, which includes helping
families living with HIV/AIDS, working to stop violence against women and children, educating
and training young girls, and training women in environmental protection. The action plan also
proposes a guarantee fund to assist women in developing microenterprises.

The Council was recently named the implementing agency for the newly created Gender
Observatory, which is tasked with monitoring the gender mainstreaming activities of not only the
Ministry of Gender, but every other ministry as well. The president of the Women’s Council
expects that donor funding for the Gender Observatory will enable to the Council to collect some
of the data it needs for its baseline study.

Ministry of Gender

The Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion is responsible for overseeing implementation of the
National Gender Policy by multiple institutions, and for developing their capacity to carry out
gender-sensitive policies and actions. In implementing its programs, the Ministry works closely
with the National Council of Women and Forum for Women Parliamentarians. The Ministry
recently conducted a series of surveys to assess the policy’s impact since it was issued in 2004.
Those surveys found that inequities between men and women continue to exist, and that women
still have many of the same problems they had at the start of the first PRSP, including (i) higher
rates of poverty, mortality, illiteracy, and HIV/AIDS; (ii) violence at the hands of their husbands;
(iii) under-representation at higher levels of education; (iv) lack of credit for microenterprise
activities; and, in agriculture, (v) a much greater burden of manual labor, including carrying water
and wood from long distances, and working in fields without benefit of fertilizer or machinery. In
addition, the Ministry found (vi) continuing barriers to women participating in decisionmaking,
and in peace and reconciliation activities.

To increase its effectiveness in addressing these persistent problems, the Ministry of Gender issued
an Implementation Strategy for the National Gender Policy in April 2007. This three-year strategy
focuses on five main issues and sets of actions:

1. Resistance to the behavioral change. The Ministry plans to use media campaigns, national
conferences, public meetings, and social networks to educate the population about the laws on
gender equity and violence against women.
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2. Vulnerability of women due to extreme poverty. The Ministry plans to strengthen the economic
capacity of women, particularly widows and the illiterate, by (i) promoting the teaching of
reading and writing; developing credit mechanisms for women farmers and entrepreneurs; (ii)
building and equipping information/media centers for women in every district; (iii) advocating
for women to have an active role in rural development programs, such as the World Bank’s
Rural Sector Support Project (RSSP), and the Community Development Fund; (iv) advocating
for improved marketing of women’s products; and (v) identifying and disseminating suitable
technologies.

3. Incomplete integration of gender in all policies, programs, and projects at the national and local
levels. The Ministry plans to (i) set up a Gender Observatory; (ii) identify the requirements for
setting up Gender Focal Points in all government agencies and institutions; (iii) establish
mechanisms for collecting gender-disaggregated data; (iv) develop a policy for the education
of girls and women; (v) identify needs for more capacity building of key partners; (vi) and
strengthen the management information systems of the key institutions in charge of gender.

4. Lack of an effective strategy to coordinate gender interventions. The Ministry plans to (i)
develop structures to coordinate the gender activities of the different ministries; (ii) involve all
coordination structures in the approval of projects and action plans in different geographical
areas and sectors, and for key target groups; (iii) encourage partners to coordinate their actions;
(iv) create a committee to harmonize gender messages; (v) initiate installation of a virtual
library; and (vi) seek additional funding from donors to carry out these measures.

5. Excessive violence against women. The Ministry plans to (i) develop a national policy to stop
violence against women, and accelerate passage of the GBV bill; (ii) create a mechanism to
coordinate anti-violence interventions; (iii) set up a system to follow up on violence cases; and
(iv) initiate programs to assist women who are victims of violence.

The Ministry of Gender will continue to rely heavily on the Forum of Women Parliamentarians and
the National Women’s Council to help carry out its programs. The Ministry is also beginning to
coordinate with the Rwandan Association of Local Government (RALGA) to develop strategies to
implement the National Gender Policy at decentralized levels. In addition, the Ministry’s Gender
Coordinator has met with religious leaders in churches and mosques to discuss the role of religious
leaders in implementing gender reforms; most religious leaders, except for those in polygamous
communities, have agreed to cooperate.

The Gender Coordinator has also organized many meetings with sector working groups, in an effort
to ensure that gender is integrated into all sector logframes.

Donors

UNIFEM
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UNIFEM has supported the empowerment of women in Rwanda in the areas of gender-based
violence, rural income-generating activities, justice, and political participation. UNIFEM assisted
the Forum of Women Parliamentarians (FFRP) in carrying out a series of national-level and
grassroots consultations on gender-based violence; in compiling statistics on GBV based on those
consultations; and in drafting the Prohibition of Violence Against Women bill that was presented
to Parliament. The national program officer of UNIFEM Rwanda says, however, that the FFRP
needs capacity building in drafting and implementing legislation, political management, and
putting in place mechanisms for evaluating and coordinating activities that promote women’s
empowerment.

On the grassroots level, UNIFEM mobilizes and trains rural women to be Gacaca judges, and to
participate in political decisionmaking. UNIFEM also trains rural women in income-generating
activities. Its basket project for rural widows now supports more than 10,000 families. In
agriculture, however, UNIFEM is concerned that women, who comprise 80 percent of agricultural
workers, have not been well targeted; they need fertilizer in the southern and eastern provinces,
where the soil is poor; irrigation projects in the eastern province; and more direct interventions
against GBV in the north, where polygamy is associated with higher levels of family violence.
UNIFEM sees an urgent need for a study of women’s needs at all levels, in all sectors, and in all
regions of the country.

DFID

To promote gender equity in Rwanda, DFID is supporting three key accountability institutions: the
Forum of Women Parliamentarians, the National Women’s Council, and the Forum of Women
Ministers. DFID also supported a gender audit of institutions, and is considering a wider study to
develop good gender indicators. DFID, along with the World Bank, SIDA, and the EC, is also
supporting a Joint Governance Assessment being carried out by Governance Advisory Council.

The director of the DFID office in Rwanda is concerned about the impacts on women of the
villagization program, which in some cases has caused them to lose their land; and of performance
contracts, which in some cases have resulted in very poor families being fined for not sending their
children to school. DFID also sees the need for studies on how district education funds are used;
on the quality of private secondary schools, which are attended by girls who cannot get into public
schools; on local accountability mechanisms for education; and on the kinds of students being
targeted for TVET.
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World Bank

The World Bank has four main concerns in the area of girls’ education: (i) the need to connect
girls’ education with TVET; (ii) the underdevelopment of the secondary school system, which
limits the number of spaces available to girls and forces many of them into inferior private schools
(thus working against the MDGs); (iii) the lack of transparency about how district capitation grants
are used; and (iv) the lack of transparency about the criteria used to award district education grants
and Genocide Fund grants, which many girls use for education. The Bank and DFID have just
begun a joint study on the impact of these two types of grants and on the possibility of their being
used to strengthen secondary education. The Bank’s education specialist proposes that this study
be expanded to include a survey of all grants available at the district level that might be used for
education. A study is also needed on the link between the spaces available for girls in secondary
education and their performance on leaving exams.

In the agriculture sector, gender issues are well integrated in the Rural Sector Support Program
(RSSP), the Rural Credit Facility (RIF), and the Marshland Reclamation Project. However, the
Bank’s agriculture sector expert in Rwanda sees the need for a program that will specifically
address the issue of wage labor among the poorest rural women, particularly in the southern and
western provinces. There is also a need for a study on how privatization of the tea and coffee
enterprises is affecting the way agriculture workers are treated, and how the Commercial Law, now
in the process of being redrafted, will protect workers’ rights. Opportunities also exist to work with
the National Agricultural Research Institute (ISAR) to develop labor-saving technologies and
faster-maturing varieties of crops. On the issue of livestock, women would benefit from an
initiative to promote their ownership of small livestock, given the cultural resistance to their owning
cows. The impact on women of the One House One Cow program has not yet been determined.

Recommendations for Policy Actions

To achieve its objective of gender equity in the education and agriculture sectors, the Government
needs to take actions in the following areas during the period of the EDPRS. The Bank would be
well positioned, through the PRSG 4, to provide support and technical assistance for all of these
policy actions.

General

1. Implement the recommendations in the PRSP self-evaluation to:


 provide a compliance framework for integrating gender into every sector, including a
baseline of minimum action and an M&E system (Ministry of Gender);
 provide expert advice in every sector to manage gender mainstreaming over the next five
years (Ministry of Gender); and
 track gender-related budget allocations and ensure the delivery of progress reports
(Ministry of Finance).

2. Conduct a survey of all gender-related programs and services provided by Rwandan women’s
NGOs (Ministry of Gender), and provide adequate budget support for those NGOs to monitor,
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evaluate, and scale up their activities (ministries of Gender, Education, Agriculture, Finance,
with coordination by the Ministry of Gender).

3. Provide capacity building support for the Forum of Women Parliamentarians, to improve its
ability to manage the political process involved in ensure that gender issues are addressed by
the parliament.

Education

4. Tie capitation grants to district actions to address the factors that cause girls to leave school
early or do poorly on exit exams; actions could include providing care for sick parents during
school hours, providing families with cash reimbursements to compensate for lost labor, and
the like (Ministry of Finance, Rwanda Women’s Network, FAWE).

5. Give the Ministry of Gender authority to review the teacher training program and TVET policy
for gender sensitivity, and to work with the Ministry of Education to effect any changes that
the Ministry of Gender might deem necessary (Ministry of Gender, Ministry of Education).

6. Review the entire system of education grants from all sources, to determine whether funds are
being used fairly and effectively (National Women’s Council/Gender Observatory).

Agriculture

7. Carry out a comprehensive assessment of the needs of rural women by province, district, sector,
and village, as the basis for a comprehensive rural development program. The assessment
should look the full range of issues that keep rural women in poverty, including distance to
water and fuel sources; distance to school and health clinic; opportunities for literacy training
and continuing education; distance to a communication center; level of domestic violence and
availability of support to help women leave abusive husbands; opportunities for crop
intensification and for non-farm income; access to credit; access to technical support; and
education about saving and financial management (Ministry of Agriculture, National Women’s
Council/Gender Observatory, women’s NGOs).

8. Implement small livestock programs for groups of women, including expert assistance with
care, breeding, marketing, and connecting to a supply chain (Ministry of Agriculture,
Duterimbere, other women’s NGOs).

9. Review the impact of privatization of large plantations on wage laborers, and amend the
Commercial Code and other laws as necessary to ensure their fair treatment (Ministry of
Agriculture, Forum of Women Parliamentarians).

10. Assess the impact of the Land Law on women’s land ownership, and provide legal assistance
where necessary to help women take their land claims to court (National Women’s
Council/Gender Observatory, HAGURKUKA, Ministry of Justice).