Pathway 10 - Grassroots activism

Pathway 10 - Grassroots activism

This pathway contributes to change by:

Promoting grassroots activism that will advocate for policy and law implementation and increased accountability among law enforcers. This will result in strengthened community-level protection and representation mechanisms for VW.

 See below for the specific sections of this pathway. For further information on each section please refer to the attached document.


This pathway aims to have an impact on all vulnerable women. All vulnerable women without exception need the protection of a gender-sensitive legal environment, that takes their challenges into account and is implemented effectively.

CARE Rwanda is committed to work in partnership. In this pathway, our strategic partners are:

  • The National Women’s Council at the decentralized levels, uniting women’s voices at different scale levels.
  • Local authorities at district and sector level, in order to gain their support for the initiatives of grassroots activists.
  • JADF, where we can find allies when it comes to advocacy at the local level.

CARE Rwanda’s work on this pathway is informed by the Government of Rwanda’s policy context. Of specific importance to this pathway are:

  • The Constitution (2003) is highly gender-sensitive and is the basis for gender-equality in other laws and policies. The EDPRS II (2013) includes ‘family and gender’ as one of its cross-cutting themes.
  • The National Decentralization Policy (MINALOC, 2000) is the basis for making the lower scale levels a solid level of service delivery, and as such potentially contributes to an important extent to the effective implementation of many other laws and policies.
  • The following laws and policies are all subject of currently ongoing advocacy efforts, and as such also relevant for possible initiatives local activism to complement advocacy by CARE Rwanda and its partners:
    • The National Social Security Policy (MINECOFIN, 2009), including the regulations on U-SACCOs;
    • The National Law on Prevention and Punishment of Gender Based Violence (MINIJUST, 2009 )
    • The National Policy Against Gender-Based Violence (MIGEPROF, 2011)
    • The National Gender Policy (MIGEPROF, 2011)
    • The Law on Matrimonial regimes, Liberalities and Successions (1999);
    • The Organic Law Determining the Use and Management of Land in Rwanda (2005);
    • The Reproductive Health Policy (MINISANTE, 2003), which is targeted specifically with the objective to improve its implementation for Historically Marginalized people.

In order to promote grassroots activism in favor of VW, CARE Rwanda and its partners use a combination of welltested models and innovative approaches, including the following:

  • Community Scorecard. CSC is an approach that facilitates dialogue between citizens and duty bearers. It allows citizens to monitor and give feedback on the quality of a certain service provided. Through the process, they are enabled to advocate with the duty bearers (typically including service providers and local authorities) to solve certain problems or prioritize specific areas of service delivery.
  • GBV activists, peer educators and case managers. GBV activists are community volunteers that fight against GBV in their community. They do so by advocating with local authorities and service providers to act against GBV, for example for punishment of those who commit GBV.
  • Facilitation of communities´ participation in the Sixteen Days of Activism. The Sixteen Days of Activism is an international campaign that is organized each year and that asks attention for GBV, aiming to promote behavioral change and political commitment. Around the world, activities are organized at national and local level.
  • Facilitation of inclusive committees for increased participation of the most marginalized. CARE Rwanda recognizes that sometimes, certain groups need extra stimulus to engage with duty bearers. In such cases, the set-up of committees that containing marginalized citizens as well as duty bearers, is facilitated.
  • Involvement in national budgeting & alternative budgeting. The Government of Rwanda provides its citizens the opportunity to attend certain key meetings where the national budget is explained, discussed, and voted for. CARE Rwanda raises awareness on this possibility and encourage citizens as well as civil society organizations to participate during these meetings, with a specific focus on the participation and representation of vulnerable women.

CARE expects this pathway to contribute to an improvement in vulnerable women’s lives in combination with the other pathways of Domain of Change 3. Therefore, impact is measured at the level of the Domain of Change (DoC) rather than at the level of this pathway. This pathway contributes to change on the following DoC-level indicator:

  • % of population who feel that local authorities use community feedback and demands to improve quality of services
  • In Gisagara and Nyaruguru Districts, women have provided feedback to and influenced decision making of their local authorities through their participation in the Community Scorecard. This has for example resulted in the decision to put in place a health clinic in Nyaruguru, as was recommended during the CSC process.
  • 92 CSC animators (elected community volunteers) in 6 sectors have been trained in the facilitation of the Community Scorecard. With support from CARE and its partner organizations, they are responsible for the organization and facilitation of ongoing cycles of the CSC. In time, they will be able to do so independently.
  • CARE Rwanda and its partners’ participation in the ’16 Days of Activism Against GBV’ in November/December 2012 focused on awareness raising on illegal marriages. Women in non-legalized marriages are considered vulnerable, because she has no right to any of the household’s property if her husband decides to leave her.
  • As a result of the set up of inclusive committees in Njyanama and Nyaruguru Districts, bringing together HMP and duty bearers in the field of health, disaggregated data are now collected at the level of health centers, showing the use of health services by HMP.
  • Policy Advocacy and Learning Initiative (PALI)
  • Policy Engagement for Marginalized Inclusion (PEMI) Project
  • Great Lakes Advocacy Initiative (GLAI)
  • Results Initiative (RI)
  • Umugore Arumvwa (Kinyarwanda for ‘A woman should be listened to’)
  • Isaro (Kinyarwanda for ‘pearl’)

CARE Rwanda is committed to learning, to continuously improve the relevance and quality of its work. In relation to this pathway, it poses itself the following questions:

  1. What are existing and potential untapped entry points (local associations, network, CBOS, Church groups, community events, other initiatives etc.) for grassroots activists to influence formal (government) and non-formal (e.g. customary) policy formulation and implementation at the local level?
  2. How can we ensure that data, evidence and lessons learnt from the grassroots level is used to influence decisions at different scale levels, for effective social and policy change?