CARE Rwanda, together with the Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN) and Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC), have developed a project entitled Indashyikirwa, meaning “agents of change” to empower women and engage men in order to prevent violence against women (VAW) across Rwanda.
Indashyikirwa aims to bring sustainable social change through positively transforming attitudes, practices and social norms that perpetuate harmful gender norms and violence both among individual couples and in the wider communities in which they live. The intervention consists of multiple components.
- RWAMREC is currently implementing a training programme for heterosexual couples with 840 couples enrolled from CARE Rwanda’s village savings and loans (VSL) groups spread across 14 sectors. This training is built on principles from Journeys of Transformation+, SASA!, and best practice knowledge on intimate partner violence (IPV) prevention. Approximately one quarter of the individuals enrolled in this programme who demonstrate aptitude and interest will undergo further activism training built on the SASA! model and will be supported to implement ground-up activism in their communities.
- RWN is leading the creation of an “enabling environment” for community level transformation in each sector through training and advocacy with opinion leaders, the creation of drop-in women’s spaces to provide support, networking and resources to women, and additional coordinated advocacy and support for the activists. The intention is that having a core cadre of couples who have undergone a deep personal process of transformation and facilitated diffusion of innovation within a community-level enabling environment will change social norms around IPV and increase support for women experiencing such violence within targeted communities.
Indashyikirwa is currently undergoing an impact evaluation to assess its ability to reduce physical and sexual violence and controlling behaviours and lead to more equitable, violent free relationships among couples. The evaluation will also assess the degree to which community mobilisation at the village level by trained activists can decrease the acceptability of VAW, promote more equitable gender attitudes, increase women’s disclosure of violence, and encourage individual and community actions to prevent VAW.
The evaluation is part of the Global What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Programme and broadly consists of the following:
- a cluster randomised controlled trial to assess the impact of the intervention comprising:
- a panel survey (baseline, midline, end line) with a representative cohort of two groups of couples, one drawn from VSLs operating in intervention villages and a second drawn from similarly situated couples in control villages
- a before and after (baseline, endline) survey at the population level comparing outcomes among a representative sample of community members living in the intervention versus control villages
- a qualitative baseline study of social norms to document the beliefs, attitudes and norms that perpetuate unhealthy relationships and sustain violence and can also be marshaled to prevent VAW
- longitudinal research with couples and opinion leaders in three of the intervention sectors to explore processes, types and levels of change due to the intervention
- qualitative research to evaluate the ability of the women’s spaces to catalyze more supportive attitudes and actions toward victims and increase the support that women victims receive from friends, family and service providers and community responses to the activists’ mobilisation activities
- a process evaluation to assess implementation fidelity
- Principal Investigator (LSHTM): Dr Lori Heise
- Principal Investigator (Social Development Direct): Dr Lyndsay McLean
- Principal Investigator (South African Medical Research Council): Dr Kristin Dunkle
- Study Coordinator: Dr Erin Stern (LSHTM)
- Lead Quantitative Research Partner: Laterite
- Indashyikirwa Implementation Coordinator: Lea Niyibizi (CARE Rwanda)
DfiD (What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Programme)
Wellspring Foundation (to Lori Heise)
- Indashyikirwa Couples Curriculum
- Indashyikirwa: Agents of Change for GBV Prevention
- Indashyikirwa Project: Champions of Change
- Hundreds March for Hope on the Launch of New Violence Prevention Programme in Rwanda
- Pots and flags to prevent violence against women in Rwanda: What’s in a metaphor?
Image Credit: Franz Stapelberg