Pathway 6 - Rights and protection

Pathway 6 - Rights and protection

This pathway contributes to change by:

Raising awareness among OVC, parents, community members and local authorities on child rights and protection mechanisms, and challenge negative intra-household and community perceptions about OVC.

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


  • Children without adult support, as they are unprotected and generally very vulnerable to rights violations.
  • Children affected by abuse, neglect and/or exploitation whose rights are systematically denied.
  • Historically Marginalized children who are often discriminated against, have low social status and low self-esteem.
  • The Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion plays a key role in the protection of vulnerable groups in society. It is expected to play an important role to replicate and scale-up CARE’s Child Mentorship Model.
  • The National Commission for Children (NCC), with the objective to coordinate interventions related to protection of children.
  • The National Police, who are an important actor in responding to child abuse.
  • Haguruka have a strong legal background, and have as such a specific added value to CARE’s work.
  • COPORWA is specialized on protecting the rights of historically marginalized people. CARE works with them to ensure having evidence on their specific situation, and taking these issues into account in our programming.

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

  • The National Policy for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children (MINALOC, 2003) has the protection of the rights of the child and the physical and psychosocial long term development of OVC as its objective.
  • The Integrated Child Rights Policy (MIGEPROF, 2011) identifies how the government protects children from child labor, trafficking, physical abuse, early marriage and discrimination.
  • The Law on the Rights and the Protection of the Child (2012) sets out the rights of the child (including the right to a name, freedom of expression, nationality, family, privacy, etc.). It specifies the responsibilities of the child’s parents or guardians and provides legislation for children in foster families. The last chapter specifically looks at OVC, their protection and social integration.
  • The National Policy Against Gender-Based Violence (MIGEPROF, 2011) shows how the GoR is engaged in prevention, response and evidence building of GBV.
  • The Strategy for National Child Care Reform (MIGEPROF, 2013) aims at transforming Rwanda’s  current child care and protection system into a family-based system and encourages communities to jointly take care of the vulnerable children living amongst them.
  • The Law on Matrimonial Regimes, Liberalities and Successions (1999) specifies that girls nowadays have the same rights to inheritance as boys. Although practices are slowly changing, a lack of awareness and cultural practices prevent the law from being fully implemented.

The focus of this pathway is at the combination of awareness raising on child rights (among OVC themselves, their parents and caretakers, wider community and local leaders), combined with approaches that challenge existing negative behavior towards OVC and allow OVC and/or community to prevent and respond to rights abuses. In order to achieve this, CARE Rwanda uses a combination of well-tested models and more innovative approaches, including the following:

  • The Child Mentorship Model. The Child Mentorship Model provides OVC with an adult mentor to help them in all kind of areas in their lives.
  • Early Childhood Development. CARE Rwanda is using a combination of Early Childhood Development (ECD) centers, home-based ECD and home visits to support the psychosocial, cognitive and physical development of children between 0 and 6 years old.
  • Awareness raising on child rights. Although awareness raising on child rights is part of the Child Mentorship and ECD Models, there is a need to raise awareness outside of these structures as well, to ensure that the community as a whole is reached.
  • Parent-child dialogue. The Ruhengeri Diocese has developed an approach to facilitate dialogue between parents and children. Parents and their children are brought together in groups of 20 families to discuss different themes, including child rights.
  • Advocacy for effective implementation of existing laws. Different laws and policies protecting child rights exist in Rwanda. Although there is room for improvement of some policies, the main issue lies around implementation of existing laws.
  • Social Analysis and Action (SAA). This approach is used to facilitate a participative process of analysis of existing norms and behaviors towards children in general and OVC in particular, and to challenge those norms and behaviors that are negatively affect them.

The following indicators are used to measure impact at the level of this pathway:

  • % of population aware that boys and girls are equal in terms of their rights
  • # of cases of child abuse reported to and supported by the police
  • CARE and its partners have provided several trainings on child rights and GBV to mentors, Anti-GBV/Child Protection Committees, and local leaders. In total approximately 1,200 volunteer mentors and local leaders of 31 sectors in 13 districts have been trained in the NIPS, COSMO and NISU projects.
  • Training on community health workers, mother leaders and parents involved in ECD has resulted in behavioral changes. For example, mothers have testified that they do no longer hit their children, understand that their children have a right to go to school, etc.
  • In the COSMO project, CARE and its partners raised awareness on child rights of the general community, placing a specific focus on placement and inheritance for children without families.
  • Kuraneza (Community-based ECD)
  • ECDRE (ECD in emergency response)
  • NISU (Nkundabana Initiative Scale-Up)
  • KGAS (Keeping Girls at School)
  • COSMO (Community Support and Mentoring for Orphans and Vulnerable Children)
  • NIPS (Nkundabana Initiative for Psychosocial Support)

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

  1. To what extent is community awareness raising on child rights sufficient to actually change perceptions and behavior, and how can we measure or collect evidence of this link?
  2. How can we assess and respond to particular needs of historically marginalized children?
  3. Can ECD centers be used as a entry point to increase awareness on child rights and promote behavior change among community members, including people who don’t have children attending the center?