Enabling Gender-Based Policy Analysis: UNIFEM Supports Policy Seminar in Rwanda

Date: 2 October 2006

In collaboration with the Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, UNIFEM, UNDP, and SNV Rwanda held a "Seminar on Gender-Based Analysis for Constructing Policy in Rwanda" on 26-27 September 2006.

The seminar was organized to introduce gender advocates to the basics of policy analysis to empower them to better engage in policy discussions, including in the second phase of Rwanda's PRSP, known as the Economic Development for Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS). Specific objectives included: strengthening the capacities of key stakeholders in gender-based policy analysis to mainstream gender into the EDPRS process, promoting commitment to gender-based policy analysis, demonstrating the potential of gender-based policy analysis and gender mainstreaming in the EDPRS, and building capacities of key players in gender analysis, gender policy making, and implementation, gender budgeting and gender auditing.

In her opening remarks, Minister for Gender and Family Promotion Valerie Nyirahabineza expressed the view that the seminar was "appropriately contextualized within the country's macro-economic framework for poverty reduction, the EDPRS." As gender is one of the four cross-cutting issues in the EDPRS, she noted that it must be mainstreamed into all national policies and programmes. The minister highlighted the opportunity the seminar presented to review Rwanda's sectoral policies and use appropriate gender-based tools to analyse gender in the national budget, the use of disaggregated data and the implications of the new aid modalities for Africa in general, and Rwanda in particular.

UNIFEM and UNDP collaborated with MIGEPROF to mainstream gender into Rwanda's first PRSP, and in her remarks, UNIFEM's Regional Program Director for Central Africa, Josephine Odera, noted that the policy seminar "comes at a time when we pause to reflect on how, as gender advocates, we can effectively mainstream gender into EDPRS within a results-based approach aimed both at poverty reduction and gender equality."

The seminar responds to the identified need to build capacities to use gender-based analysis as a basis for promoting gender mainstreaming in the EDPRS. UNIFEM co-chairs the Gender Sub-Group of the EDPRS Cross-Cutting Issues Oversight Group, and together with other gender advocates has produced a well-received check-list of gender-responsive indicators for the Sector Working Groups preparing the EDPRS document.

Key presentations at the seminar included: an overview of the status of gender issues in the ongoing EDPRS, a session on the use of Statistical Data for Gender-Based Policy Formulation, an investigation of the critical issues regarding Engendered Policies, Poverty Reduction and Growth in Rwanda, as well as Tools for Gender Budgeting in Gender-Based Policy Analysis, Gender Mainstreaming in Project and Development Planning, and Gender Impact Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation. Participants, drawn from government, civil society and development partners, engaged in group work to develop action plans for using the gender-based policy analysis tools for the different Sector Working Groups they participate in.

Minister of State for Finance and Economic Planning Monique Nsanzabaganwa presided over the closing ceremony alongside Minister Valerie Nyirahabineza and UNDP Rwanda Resident Representative, a.i., John O. Kakonge. "UNDP is committed to the Millennium Development Goals, none of which can be achieved in a gender vacuum," said Kakonge, pointing out that proper gender-based analysis is crucial to ensuring that the EDPRS responds to national commitments on gender.

In her concluding remarks, Minister Nsanzabaganwa reiterated the government's commitment to gender equality, noting that although their policies are clear, they need adequate tools to implement them. She highlighted the need to make strategic linkages between political aspirations and budget preparation, particularly the incorporation of national policies into the budget preparation phase. She recommended that the tool kits and techniques shared during the seminar be used in the EDPRS logical framework workshops, which are currently underway. She also pleaded for further awareness raising and capacity building at provincial levels.

UNIFEM continues to partner with the national machineries charged with gender, as well as advocates at policy and grass-roots levels on building and reinforcing capacities to harness gender-based analysis for effective mainstreaming of gender into national policy.

For more information, please contact Irene Zirimwabagabo, irene.zirimwabagabo[at]