GENDER RESPONSIVE BUDGETING, A KEY PRIORITY TO ACHEVE GENDER EQUALITY
Since 2011 Pro-Femmes/Twese Hamwe (PF/TH)in partnership with the Norwegian People’s Aid Rwanda, has implemented a gender component to the Public Policy, Information, Monitoring and Advocacy (PPIMA) program aimed at promoting gender equality responsiveness in public policies, plans, and monitoring the Government of Rwanda’s gender commitments at a local and national level.
The project was implemented at the national level and in 8 Districts to date, namely ; Gatsibo- Nyagatare in the East,Gakenke- Burera in the North, Ngororero- Nyabihu in the West, andNyaruguru- Nyamagabe in the South. The project aims to improve and strengthen citizen’s participation and influence in governance and in the decision making processes, in order to improve public policies and pro-poor services.
As the project comes to its end, PFTH highlights key achievements along the implementation of the project towards the promotion of gender equality in service delivery, public policies, plans and budgets. Itreflects upon future perspectives towards gender responsive budgeting.
In consolidating efforts to effectively eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, ensure socio-economic justice and gender equality, Pro-Femmes /Twese Hamwe (PFTH) organized dissemination workshops with many stakeholders on different laws ; law no. n°59/2008 of 10/09/2008 on the prevention and punishment of Gender Based Violence, law no 16/06/2013 Governing land in Rwanda and other related laws with a focus on gender, National Gender Policy and law nº27/2016 of 08/07/2016 governing matrimonial regimes, donations, and successions.
These efforts were aimed to raise awareness and to build the capacity of stakeholders on the national level from Government, CSOs, FBOS, PSF and local leaders in Districts and Sectors of PPIMA intervention areas on the above laws. They also aimed to provide simplified information materials for everyday use and hence to ensure that citizens are enjoying the rights provided by the laws without gender discrimination. Almost 1500 leaders were reached at the national and local level, and more than 40,000 copies of simplified manuals and posters were distributed.
In the dissemination of GBV law in 2017, The Vice Mayor Social Affairs of Nyabihu mentioned that,“We are thankful to Pro- Femmes/ Twese Hamwe and its partners for equipping local leaders in gender related issues. GBV is still a problem, it is not solely domestic violence occurring between spouses at home but now we understand that we used to fight consequences instead of tackling real causes lying in everyday interactions : the persistence of the cultural practice of concubine relationship and resulting disorders, violence, an negative masculinity, all require strong commitments for positive changes in our families. This must start with us leaders !”
Analyzing plans and budgets from a gender perspective was paramount to understand the extent of gender mainstreaming within projects and policies, how women and men engage in substantial resource allocation, and how to enhance their empowerment. The analysis revealed that plans and budgets were gender neutral ; the assumption was that both men and women benefit equally from planned interventions in agriculture, education, and health. There was no gender analysis across sectors to identify existing gender gaps in terms of gender equality or women empowerment issues. Therefore the implementation and reporting lacked information on the impact of interventions in addressing gender inequalities and women’s limited access to services and participation observed in those sectors.
In the dialogue with national stakeholders including institutions of national gender machinery, Pro- Femmes/ Twese Hamwe advocated for more capacity building in gender policy analysis and programming, and accountability in mainstreaming gender in public sector planning and budgeting to address the above gap.
Under PPIMA, Pro- femmes continued to work with the Gender Monitoring Office (GMO) mandated to oversee the mainstreaming and implementation of gender commitments. This is in orderto monitor and evaluate the GBS implementation to determine the effectiveuse of the tools for gender equality improvements.
Challenges related to limited skills in gender situation analysis and programming, ownership of GBS by district authorities and staff, availability of gender indicators and sex dis aggregated data affecting the planning and reporting across sectors in Districts was identified. In Dialogues at District and National level, Pro- Femmes advocated for actions to improve and address the challenges. The advocacy undertaken contributed to actions including but not limited to regular training for director of planning, budget officers and gender officers on GBS preparation and reporting and other gender issues. At least once year capacity development plans by MIGEPROF and MINECOFIN include refresher training to the Districts staff on Gender responsive planning and budgeting.
This has contributed to improved GBS preparation and reporting to some extent : gender situation analysis today shows some awareness on gender specific issues, causes, increase in interventions and related budgets.
As confirmed by the Director of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and Gender Officers in Ngororero District during the last monitoring of GBS 2018-2019 :
” Thanks to the training by MINECOFIN and MIGEPROF on gender mainstreaming and regular visits of Pro- Femmes/ Twese Hamwe in monitoring GBS implementation, we got deep understanding on gender responsive planning and budgeting. Before we thought that gender needs considerations should be the responsibility of gender officer only. Today all staff is engaged to discuss gender needs to be captured in each fiscal year, and priorities are included in IMIHIGO documents and GBS.
National policy dialogue on gender responsive budgeting organized by Pro- Femmes
MIGEPROF committed to continue supporting sectors to develop gender mainstreaming strategies for all sectors,( so far 10 sectors out of 16 sectors developed their strategies and gender equality seal ) and to advocate for integration of gender and GRB/GBS in sector planning capacity building.
The ambitious agenda by the state to promote gender equality and eradicate gender based violence in the country can visibly be felt in the strong gender responsive policy and legal frameworks as well as the relevant institutional arrangements put in place. Pro- Femmes/ Twese Hamwe and other stakeholders are committed to ensure that these instruments are serving the purpose of transforming lives of Rwandans as expected.
In implementing PPIMA program with gender perspective, it was found that efforts from different actors are still desired so as to materialize commitments into actions to achieve gender equality and women agency.
Pro- Femmes/ Twese Hamwe expresses her gratitude to the Norwegian People’s Aid Rwanda and other stakeholders for long and good cooperation along PPIMA program implementation for almost 10 years and what we achieved together. The funding has been of great support in achieving the project goal and Pro- Femmes/Twese Hamwe, very important in contributing to the improvement of women status, gender equality and sustainable development. Gender equality and women empowerment commitments are successful and relevant when integrated in plans, budgets and accountability mechanisms.