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    Most livelihood and ‘economic empowerment’ initiatives in the global South currently focus on women, and with good reason. At the global level, achieving income parity or women is one of the urgent, unachieved goals of gender equality. The recent World Development Report affirmed that women now represent 40 per cent of the world’s paid workforce, and 43 per cent of the agricultural labour force (World Bank 2012, 3). While there have been significant gains in women’s employment and earnings in the past 20 years, women’s income continues to lag behind those of men everywhere in the world, even when women perform the same tasks or functions. Numerous studies have shown that increased female control over income and spending decisions in the household translates into better outcomes for children and households (Bruce et al. 1995). Increased control over material resources can lead on to women having an enhanced ability to act and choose (Kabeer 2009). The idea is that greater female contribution to household income can result in women having stronger bargaining power within marital relationships and the family. In this way, ‘economic empowerment’ has been linked to women having a stronger voice in negotiating sexual relations and hence reducing their risk of HIV infection ; to reductions in violence from male partners ; and to increased social status and mobility outside the home. Awareness of these links has led development policymakers and practitioners to target women widely as beneficiaries of interventions including microfinance initiatives.


    Almost two years after participating in a MenCare+ fathers and couples programme in Rwanda, men are nearly half as likely to use violence against their female partners and spend almost one hour more per day doing household chores, revealed a randomised controlled trial. The evaluation, released by PLOS ONE journal was led by Promundo, Rwanda Biomedical Center and Rwanda Men’s Resource Center (RWAMREC). It is one of the studies, which show that engaging men as they become fathers and focusing on improving couple relationships can be an effective strategy to reduce men’s use of violence against women and improve relationships within the household.


    TEENAGE PREGNANCY IN HUYE AND KICUKIRO DISTRICTS The overall objective is to “conduct a participatory action research on attitudes, perceptions and needs of teenagers, teen mothers and community members, including people with disability, towards teenage pregnancy for effective implementation of the National Gender Policy and other policies and strategies that address teenage pregnancies, including the Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy”. From this main objective stem a series of thespecific objectives as detailed under the introductory chapter. The study used a qualitative approach and covered two districts purposively selected, namely Huye in Southern Province and Kicukiro in the City of Kigali. In addition to an extensive desk review, KIIs and FGDs were conducted with teenagers, teen mothers and parents of teen mothers. One overall finding is that teen mothers have huge needs, including limited access to SRH services, reintegration of schools and acceptance in the respective families and communities. Community attitudes and perceptions towards teen pregnancy are very negative. In relation to the specific objectives, the study shows that : Attitudes & perceptions : teenage pregnancy outside wedlock is a social deviance ; it is perceived as a sign of parental failure. Some parents feel like the affected girl would be sent away from the family. Due to social pressure, parents would stop the pregnant girl from school. The pregnant girl would be abandoned to the man/boy responsible for the pregnancy. In sum, the pregnant girl/teen mother suffer from social stigma, shame and dishonor (therefore hard education re-entry), and in the worst scenario discrimination, which would lead to deprivation from access to legal rights and services ; Needs : Access to service points, including information on sexual reproductive health and rights, family emotional support, vocational skills, school re-integration, family and community reintegration are the leading needs of teen mothers ; Barriers affecting access to knowledge and skills for girls : Social cultural expectations, household labor division, family poverty, low sex negotiation skills, and lack of dialogue with parents ; Challenges in accessing existing legal, health and psychosocial services are associated with low awareness about existing services, distance from home to the service point as compared to family resources, lack of family support, limited knowledge about sexual reproductive health rights ; misconception about the use of contraceptive methods and myths around sex Major policy gaps : The role of the family in sexual education and the prevention of GBV is unclear ; there is a discrepancy between the policy ambitions and the budget ; GBV and sexual reproductive health are superficially mainstreamed in local development plans ; and there is weak coordination of existing GBV prevention initiatives ; Long term strategies to prevent teen pregnancy and address the needs of teen mothers would include family and peer support and adolescent sex education right from the family.


    IN KICUKIRO AND HUYE DISTRICTS The study on attitude and perceptions on gender based violence towards men and boys in the districts of Kicukiro and Huye was conducted as an exploratory action research commissioned by the Rwanda Men Resource Center (RWAMREC), with a view to asses the extent of Sexual and Gender based violence against men and boys in the mentioned districts and to know the characteristics of SGBV against men and boys. The methodological approach used to achieve the above mentioned purpose of the study included review of existing literature and consultations with community members, including adult males and females and teens males and females as well. Consultations were conducted through focus group discussion with the mentioned categories of resource persons. Interviews with key informants were also conducted at the level of the selected sectors of Kigarama in Kicukiro District and Mukura in Huye District. Key findings were categorized under different aspects as unpacked below. General perceptions of GBV by consulted community members : it was found that there is very limited awareness among community members on what gender based violence means, its different forms (especially physical, psychological and economic) and how it differs from other forms of violence. Additionally, there is a misunderstanding that the GBV law is defending women’s rights only ignoring that it is at the same time defending men’s rights as well. Perceptions of community members on GBV issues against men and boys : the different resource persons highlighted that men are also victims of GBV even though there was recognition that women remain majority among the victims. Community attitudes on GBV against men and boys : although men and boys were found to be also victims of GBV but community members do not tolerate GBV against them. They would rather tolerate GBV as subjected to women but not to men. The explanation behind this stand was that are the heads of families and therefore GBV would attack the leadership of families which is unbearable. Identified particular GBV issues pertaining to men and boys : men and boys were found to be victims of the different forms of GBV including physical, sexual, economic and psychological violence. However, it was found that men and boys, especially boys between the age bracket of 13-17 years were more victims of physical violence compared to their female counterparts. In addition to physical violence, men were found to be victims of both economic violence and psychological violence. Barriers encountered by men and boys in disclosing and reporting abuse perpetrated against them : different factors were found to be contributing to the limited reporting among men and boys of their GBV cases but the most influential were : socio-cultural barriers dictating men to suffer in silence if they want to keep their manhood, poverty, fear of stigma and the need to keep the family together, limited knowledge on evidence for psychological and economic forms of GBV, limited functioning and limited trust in existing GBV structures and misinterpretation of GBV law. Structural and implementation gaps in government efforts to effectively involve men and boys in the promotion of gender equality and fight against GBV : a sizable number of structures addressing GBV, as efforts made by Government of Rwanda were identified. However, the limited coordination and capacity to handle GBV cases among the structures themselves and the lack of targeting men and boys as victims are the major gaps leading to the limited participation of men and boys in the promotion gender equality and fight against GBV. Based on the above the following were found to be the key challenges hampering promotion of gender equality in general and men and boys’ involvement in particular : 1) Misinterpretation of the concept of gender equality ; 2) Limited knowledge about the GBV Law ; 3) Limited government attention to men as beneficiaries and allies for gender equality ; 4) Limited trust by men in structures addressing GBV ; 5) Effects of negative masculinity around men as custodians of power over women. December 2019




    RULINDO DISTRICT This baseline is based on the principle of determining the extent to which citizens of Rulindo District participates in the decision-making, planning, budgeting, and evaluation processes of activities intended for the benefit for the activities intended to community interest. This is in line with the initial objectives of the project “Public Policy Information, Monitoring and Advocacy " (PPIMA) implemented by RWAMREC within the framework of the funding of Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) Starting with a desk review, SMART Consultancy Ltd realized that the project had been designed and implemented within the framework of complementary existing policies aimed at improving citizen participation to drive the entire development process in Rwanda. In such a perspective, the implementation of the project referred to the community scorecard (CSC) approach in supplement to the existing district’s performance contract (Imihigo) and village assemblies among others, for the acceleration of community development through citizen’s participation. The research methodology used was predominantly qualitative. During one week of data collection, the consultant assisted by 4 enumerators collected the intended data using Focus Group Discussions (FGD) with 37 citizens and opinion leaders and semi structured interviews with selected eight (8) local leaders at district, sector, cell and village level. PPIMA RWAMREC staff collaborated in the preparation of the inception report, as well as comments on the data collection tools and the preliminary report. The study found that although Rulindo District ranked among the top performing districts in terms of community engagement in decision making and implementation processes, this district still lags behind in the area of agriculture and land issues. It was also noted that citizen participation is real during community assemblies, with the appreciation of a significant and tangible presence of women. In general, participation is always at the level of information and consultation, with little or no feedback on certain questions or suggestions made by citizens. On the other hand, in some cells, citizens suggested issues that did not come from above and that were implemented at the local level. Regarding the role of women compared to men’s in citizen participation, three main views appeared in the findings : equal participation of women and men, traditional male supremacy and female domination. Regarding the participation of people with disabilities (PWD) compared to other citizens, it was noted that in principle, people with disabilities participate with their neighbors in all assemblies at the village level, but also have representatives in all councils ; however, in practice, participation of people with disabilities in decision making is still low, due to stigma and the lack of facilities suited to the types of disability. Regarding the participation of historically marginalized people (HMP) in relation to other citizens, according to various officials and authorities met, they participate with their neighbors in all community assemblies at the village level. However, the majority of citizens who participated in focus group discussions, including the HMP, revealed that participation is very low compared to other vulnerable people in the same Ubudehe categories. Most of HMP self-discriminate and/or are discriminated by their neighbors. About the participation of vulnerable people compared to other citizens, most of research participants think that vulnerable people can have good ideas as other citizens. However, some of them have lost their self-esteem, lack confidence and/or censor themselves to participate actively in community assemblies. Other vulnerable people think that their voices cannot be considered, due to the lack and/or delay of adequate responses on issues raised in the past. Regarding the capacity of youth in citizen participation, almost all respondents have expressed worries about the low participation of youth in community assemblies and other activities. According to the district, staff interviewed, there are a few structural gaps identified so far in terms of citizen participation. Citizens and opinion leaders mentioned some gaps at the implementation level, such as low feedback on issues collected during the consultation, but not considered, imposition of contributions by local leaders without and consultation or discussion with citizens, very weak participation in the selection of beneficiaries of some Government programs such as VUP, BDF (Business Development Fund) and Ubudehe categorization. Conclusively, findings have revealed a citizens’ satisfaction about their participation in areas of governance and security but gaps in terms of implementation, which implies a need to stimulate genuine citizen participation beyond information and consultation. Despite the effort of engaging both the people with disabilities (PWD) and the historically marginalized people (HMP), there are still signs of stigma and discrimination. Citizens are not systematically involved in decision making, monitoring, even though consulted and assumedly the fact that the community assemblies are chaired by the cell authorities, it does not allow the ordinary citizens to feel contributing freely to the decisions being made. The self-confidence of citizens and their ownership in monitoring the implementation of ‘imihigo’ in general and vulnerable categories, in particular, emerges also as an opportunity to improve. The currently widely used approach resembles the inclusion of citizens in the deliberative process. However, their participation in the decision-making process is not yet systematically sought, nor is appropriate feedback. The level of partnership is still low.


    During a recent policy dialogue related to gender rights in the workplace, it was unanimously admitted that paternity leave still faces a number of challenges and one concrete way to advance the leave for workers whose spouses have given birth is to dig deep into barriers, gaps and challenges hampering the paternity leave to be effective from all fronts including policy and community levels. In recognition of the potential for fathers to positively contribute to early childcare, Rwamrec and RCSP have commissioned this Rapid assessment to document legislative gaps and other factors, attitudes and behaviors inhibiting male engagement in early childhood care, on one hand and paternity leave, on the other hand. The assessment aims to study legislative gaps, barriers and challenges affecting father’s involvement in the childhood care from a perspective of experts, practitioners and other related grey literature. The ultimate objective was to formulate recommendations for an effective fatherhood in general and increased use of paternity leave in the best interest of children for healthy families in Rwanda. The ultimate ambition would be to helping the Government of Rwanda, Rwamrec and other gender actors to develop programs, strategies and interventions that better address certain potentially harmful social norms related to father involvement. In terms of methodology used so far, the rapid assessment adopted a largely qualitative approach using both primary and secondary data sources. It involved key informant interviews at national level, including with national authorities of gender machinery, gender practitioners, trade union leaders, opinion leaders, gender activists..... In terms of key findings, while recognizing exceptional cases of effective involvement of fathers in early steps of the child, it is obvious that certain cultural commonalities are evident as a result of prevailing gender norms, attitudes and behaviors in Rwanda. It is common in Rwandan culture to see women taking on the bulk of responsibility for parenting, especially in the early years. From conception onwards, mothers will take a lead in almost all aspects of childcare. The part played by fathers, however, is far less visible. The rapid assessment also shows that more often, Rwandan mothers maintain a proximate and hands-on relationship with babies throughout their infancy. Nevertheless, it seems from the findings that fathers are implicated in a wide range of ‘behind the scenes’ work to support the mother, especially when the child reaches the age of walking and talking and are less involved the first steps of the baby. Nevertheless, the lack of engagement by fathers is particularly prominent and is explained by several key factors : A limited policy and legislative environment that seems to deny to fathers the same amount of leave period to father workers as shown in this rapid assessment ; The primacy of a patriarchal culture that dictates the division of labor between mothers and fathers ; Maternal “Gatekeeping” as an additional barrier to the involvement of men in caregiving activities ; A lack of knowledge amongst both men and women about the potential benefits of father engagement ; The reinforcement of existing gender stereotypes through female dominated early childhood service provision ; Key Recommendations : Given the various individual, familial and societal benefits of increased father involvement in early childhood, several recommendations are put forth, some inspired by promising practices from the field. These include : Aggressive awareness-raising at national and local levels through all available and existing forums where community members meet and discuss community issues (Umugoroba w’umuryango, intego y’abaturage,….) ; The promotion of champions and ‘positive deviance’ role models to inspire young men and fathers ; Incentivizing father involvement and male engagement especially through the family performance contracts ; Investing in an evidence base to provide data on positive outcomes for children, families, and communities as a result of increased father involvement ; Evolving national policy including labor laws and policies and monitor their implementation ; POLICY BRIEF : Overcoming the barriers, filling the gaps and addressing challenges to make paternity leave a living reality in Rwanda. Décembre 2022


    A baseline study report This baseline study aimed at collecting data and information that would later help to measure the progress and impact of the RWAMREC Gender and Social inclusion Accountability project in increasing citizen participation in leadership process and setting up their priorities to influence the Imihigo and district planning, including the institutionalization of the gender-budgeting statement (GBS) in Imihigo performance contracts. This baseline study covered Nyaruguru and Gatsibo districts. The current baseline study focused on measuring the level of citizens participation, particularly members of the vulnerable groups (persons with disabilities, the elderly, the youth, and women) in the Imihigo, in district development plan, and budgeting processes with gender lens. The baseline further looked at the factors that hinder the effective participation of community members at the different stages of imihigo processes. February 2022


    Comprendre les perceptions, attitudes, pratiques liés à la masculinité et concevoir des stratégies qui s’attaquent à la violence sexiste, promouvoir l’égalité des sexes en impliquant les hommes. Cette recherche a pour objectif principal de comprendre les perceptions, les normes, les attitudes, les connaissances et pratiques liées à la masculinité en vue de concevoir des stratégies qui s’attaquent à la violence sexiste et promouvoir l’égalité de sexe dans l’Ombella M’Poko en impliquant les hommes. L’étude a été réalisée dans le cadre du Projet : « Services de réhabilitation physique, psychologique et réinsertion économique intégrés aux survivants des violences sexuelles et basées sur le genre et leurs familles liées aux conflits à l’Ombella M’Poko » mis en œuvre par l’Association des Femmes Juristes de Centrafrique(AFJC) et Rwanda Men’s Resource Center (RWAMREC) avec l’appui financier et technique de la Cour Pénale Internationale (CPI)/Fonds au profit des Victimes en République centrafricaine Mandat d’assistance. Le projet a pour but de contribuer à la réparation des préjudices sanitaires, psychologiques et matériels subits par les victimes des conflits ainsi qu’à la résilience des personnes vulnérables y compris femmes et filles victimes de VSBG et aux efforts de consolidation de la paix en République Centrafricaine en utilisant l’approche de masculinité positive. La perception de la masculinité demeure un domaine de recherche à comprendre et analyser les expériences des hommes et des garçons en tant qu’êtres sexués, incluant les notions rigides de la masculinité qui façonnent leurs attitudes et leurs comportements, ainsi que leurs rôles et responsabilités dans la promotion des droits des femmes et filles à travers la justice et l’égalité genre pour tous. Le défi majeur reste à influencer les rôles stéréotypés des hommes/garçons et les expressions patriarcales de la virilité, à soutenir les manifestations d’attitudes et de comportements non violents, équitables et inclusifs en transformant les normes sociales qui sont à l’origine des inégalités entre les sexes. Les résultats de cette étude visent à fournir à RWAMREC et ses partenaires un document de référence sur la masculinité en vue de concevoir des stratégies contextualisées pour impliquer les hommes dans des initiatives visant à mettre fin aux violences sexuelles et celles basées sur le genre(VSBG). Cette recherche constitue aussi un outil de plaidoyer en vue de concevoir des programmes efficaces permettant d’impliquer les hommes et les garçons, leur donner les moyens de promouvoir des relations équitables, bienveillantes et non-violentes et consolider la paix en République Centrafricaine(RCA). Bangui, Février 2022

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