Reducing our willingness to accept gender-based violence

CARE Rwanda has figured out how to drop social acceptance of gender-based violence by 83%. Let’s have them come teach the USA.

The US news cycle makes this project tragically timely. Among all of the information about women who have been abused at work that is coming to light, we have a lot we could learn from Umugore Arumvwa, a CARE Rwanda project that works to improve protection and services for survivors of violence. Among other results, the project reduced the number of people who thought gender-based violence (GBV) was acceptable by 83%.

The Umugore Arumvwa project “A woman is listened to” went from 2013-2015 in Rwanda with the generous funding of the European Union under CARE Netherlands. The project was for $500,000 and estimates that they benefited 74,000 people indirectly by working closely with 1,506 community decision-makers and service providers. CARE Rwanda has been working to ensure that the government can and does follow through on its legal commitments to protect women from GBV and ensure they get the support and services they need.

What did we accomplish?

  • Changed acceptance of violence: There was an 83% drop in the number of people who believe that gender-based violence is normal and acceptable.
  • Better treatment for survivors: There was a 71% in the number of cases of GBV that received treatment for the consequences. There was also a 52% increase in the number of people who were satisfied with GBV services, up to 93% satisfaction rate.
  • Clients were able to shape services: 85% of people surveyed said that all of the issues they raised to improve services were resolved.
  • Better accountability: 80% of people said that the local government was more accountable to citizens.

How did we get there?

  • Asked communities what they want: The project ran 105 Community Scorecard processes to help communities work with service providers to identify problems and make action plans to solve them.
  • Work in partnership: The project coordinated a civil-society platform with 59 NGOs who continue to advocate for including issues of GBV into district planning processes.
  • Build community solutions: After training more than 340 people at the community level on the impacts of GBV and the importance of services, the project helped communities set up clubs that could support survivors.
  • Link groups to national processes: 65% of civil society organizations participated in collecting evidence and creating reports on UN resolution 1325 on women in security.
  • Connect volunteers to income opportunities: The project linked community health workers with VSLAs so they could get additional income and have incentives to do the GBV-related work.