Rwanda has made tremendous achievements in closing gender gaps in the areas of economic, health, education and political advancement when compared with 144 countries in the Global Economic Gender Gap Report. Rwanda’s position in this global ranking has risen from seventh in 2014 to sixth in 2015 to fifth in 2016. The report looks at how women are faring in comparison to men in economic, health, educational and political spheres. That Rwanda was in the top five countries globally is a major milestone as it signals that gender inequalities in these four areas have been significantly reduced and, in the case of education and representation of women in the national assembly and at the cabinet level, eliminated.
Rwanda is host to refugees and, in offering refugee protection services, it is crucial that all efforts are made to eliminate gender disparities and promote an understanding among refugees and humanitarian actors that in Rwanda the law entrenches equality between women and men, and the enjoyment of the broad range of rights equally applies to refugee women, girls, men and boys. Pre-existing gender inequalities in the countries where the refugees come from often find their way into refugee settings, and a new life in camp situations may either reduce or worsen gender inequalities. It is necessary that gender equality across all sectors in the refugee operation is brought to par with the high standards set by Rwanda and also globally. It is against this backdrop that humanitarian actors in Rwanda have sought to strengthen gender equality issues while working on the protection of refugees. Refugee protection is structured around the United Nations’ 1951 Refugee Convention and its protocols and the Rwanda Refugee Law.
An inter-agency gender assessment of the six refugee camps in Rwanda was launched in April 2016. The aim of the assessment was to provide a sound gender baseline that will inform gender equality programming in policy and operational decisions of the MIDIMAR, UNHCR, UN agencies, governmental institutions and non-governmental partners. A Refugee Technical Gender Working Group co-chaired by MIDIMAR and UNHCR was established to steer the assessment. Members of the TGWG are MIGEPROF, GMO, UN Women, MINELOC, RNP, RWN, NCC, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP, IOM, ADRA, ARC, Plan International, World Vision Rwanda, Save the Children, African Humanitarian Action, LAF and GHDF.
The 2016 assessment came as a result of a 2015 gender assessment of the Mahama refugee camp, which was conducted by UN Women and UNHCR in collaboration with the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR), the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion and Gender Monitoring Office. One of the outcomes of the assessment in Mahama was a recommendation by the Honourable Minister of MIDIMAR, Hon. Seraphine Mukantabana, that a similar exercise be conducted in all camps hosting Congolese refugees in Rwanda, which led to the 2016 assessment.
This report contains findings and recommendations of the assessment. The methodology of the assessment involved quantitative and qualitative data analysis from secondary data and primary data collected from six refugee camps, namely: Gihembe, Kigeme, Kiziba, Mahama, Mugombwa and Nyabiheke. Secondary data review involved examining reports by partners and online sources. Primary data collection involved gathering information through a survey targeting a representative sample of 1,989 (56 percent female and 44 percent male) individual interviews with refugees and 120 focus group discussions (FGDs) with refugee women, girls, men and boys of different age groups living in the six refugee camps. The parameters chosen for the survey are based on a 95 percent accuracy level and a margin of error defined at 5 percent.
In addition, Key Informant Interviews (KII) with local and international non-governmental humanitarian actors on-site, United Nations staff and governmental staff were conducted by a team of 13 independent assessors and 16 staff drawn from 13 different organizations working in the refugee camps in Rwanda. The primary data was complimented by desk review of secondary data and information from government, One UN and international NGO partners.
The assessment focused on four thematic areas:
- Camp Coordination and Camp Management(CCCM), including environment;
- Protection including child protection and gender-based violence (GBV);
- Education, health, cash and food assistance, livelihoods, shelter and non-food items (NFI);
- Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
All the camps were targeted for the assessment:
- Gihembe, established 1997 (19 years old)
- Kigeme, established 2012 (4 years old)
- Kiziba, established 1996 (20 years old)
- Mahama, established 2015 (1 year old)
- Mugombwa, established 2014 (2 years old)
- Nyabiheke, established 2005 (11 years old)