The government is committed to entrenching the principle of gender equality and equity in all programmes of the country, to monitor its inclusion in budget planning for all organs as well as the implementation of all laws enhancing it.
During the elaboration process of the EDPRS II, the Gender Monitoring Office and other mechanisms to promote gender equity were created, and shared gender mainstreaming guidelines elaborated with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to include gender in all EDPRS II development sectors.
Gender-sensitive indicators have also been updated and aligned to the Gender Statistics Framework in order to facilitate institutions with specific data to ensure that planning is more gender sensitive. These same indicators have also been shared with the private sector for guidance in planning and reporting.
The government has also ensured that Gender Budget statements are assessed annually within Central and Local Government Institutions and the findings are shared with the parliamentary budget commission during the budget hearing session.
As a way of supporting women empowerment, approximately 143,289 illiterate women have been mobilized and linked to literacy centers, and 85,495 of them have already got their certificates – the current literacy rate for the people aged 15 and above is estimated at 68%, according to the 4th Population and Housing Census of 2012.
And in order to ensure incorporation of gender-equality principles into the legal mechanics, a majority of parliamentarians and other parliamentary staff have been trained on gender responsive budgeting and planning, and all chief budget managers in public institutions as well as key stakeholders, especially those from MINECOFIN, are trained annually to build their capacities for Gender-Responsive Budgeting.
Women have over the years been encouraged to become cooperative members, seek loans from lending agencies and to line up their activities to the market’s demands so that half of all loans from Umurenge SACCO and other microfinance institutions and banks go to women.
As of March 2014, 674,327 women out of 1,711,750 SACCO applicants had accessed SACCO loans, and women made up 26.9% of the total SACCO loan share. Though the number of women who secured loans from FMIs is still low compared to men, it is important to note that there has been a steady increase over the years – by 231% in 2012 compared to the previous year, and by 27.2% in 2013. This progress is mainly due to the fact that women were trained in entrepreneurship and encouraged to work with financial institutions;
Regarding women’s economic empowerment, in June 2013 the Cabinet approved the Women and Youth Access to Finance Strategy, a programme specifically aimed at reducing the burden of high interest rates through investment cost subsidy to eligible women and youth entrepreneurs through a Guarantee Fund, Credit Fund and a Capacity Building Fund.
Building capacity of gender-based violence (GBV) committees at all administrative levels has been carried out, in which 300,000 men and women from different sectors were sensitized on GBV, labour and organic land laws.
According to statistics from police, recorded GBV cases reduced by 3.9% in 2012 to 3,444 (against 3,585 in 2011) mainly because of the increased public awareness campaigns and law enforcement. They had shot up by 4.6% in 2011, from 3,427 reported cases in 2010.
By June 2014, there had been a further decline to 2,896 reported GBV cases.
This reduction is the result of continuous wide spread community campaigns across the country and sensitisation through radio talk-shows and other media.
A total of 21 (out of 38 planned) Isange One-Stop Centres, which deal specifically with victims of GBV, have been established in health facilities. The Isange centre in Kacyiru, Kigali, close to the police headquarters, was the first of its kind in Rwanda and has become a continental model. Every year, it receives numerous foreign delegations who come to study the model.
Mobilising non-governmental organisations to carry out development programmes based upon the government’s development agenda has been successfully done with NGOs and other development partners operating within Joint Action Development Forums (JADF) at the District level to align their activities with the government’s programmes.
The JADF annually account for their activities through accountability days.
A platform was also established to help NGOs become self-sustainable, while a new law regulating NGOs came into force. Registration of NGOs was relocated from MINALOC to the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) which offers financial support to NGOs and other civil society organisations with viable development projects.
The new law also provides for mechanisms of transparency in NGO management. RGB is entrusted with the monitoring of their activities and has helped different NGOs and faith-based organizations to overcome internal weaknesses that were hindering their missions.
Furthermore, modalities were established for NGOs to enter into MoUs with the Government for delivery of services beneficial to Rwandans, and government institutions have started outsourcing certain tasks and services to local NGOs. For example, the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) has signed contracts with local organisations to manage orphanages.
In agriculture, a plan has been finalized to delegate some extension roles to local NGOs operating in the sector, while in education, the government has signed different MoUs with private education institutions to host government-funded students.