RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY
During this quarter, research and advocacy program conducted a study entitled ‘Governing with and for Citizens: Lessons from a Post-Genocide Rwanda.’ The study aimed at exploring citizen participation in governance from a post–genocide Rwanda perspective in order to facilitate evidence–based programming for the ‘Participatory Governance’ program and advocacy related matters emanating from the report. While this research had been on going from the previous quarter, the following activities were carried out in the 3rd quarter.
Validation of the research report in the national Stakeholders’ Meeting
The stakeholders meeting aimed at (i) reviewing and validating the research report entitled “Governing with and for citizens: lessons from a Post Genocide Rwanda”, (ii) seeking guidance from participants of the stakeholders meeting on prioritization of suggested policy recommendations, and (iii) suggesting and making priorities of future research themes. The meeting brought together high-level officials from central government and local leadership, citizens and representatives of the civil society. In all, 150 invitees attended at the Marriott Hotel on 24 August 2016.
This study reveals a manifest political will to make citizen participation a reality. It also emerged that various mechanisms and spaces meant to boost citizen participation are in place. In this regard, presidential outreach visits appears to be highly appreciated by citizens while mechanisms such as Njyanama and Parliamentarians are not perceived to active enough in enhancing indirect citizen participation. Citizen participation is increasingly becoming a reality in implementing public policies and programs, while it remains low in planning and evaluation phases. Long standing culture of political centralism, socialized culture of blind obedience and inadequate coordination and communication about central and local governments priorities emerged among major challenges to citizen participation in governance.
A synchronization of local government plans (as reflected in local citizens needs) and ministries plans reflected in national priorities stands among other key recommendations from this study.
Impact Assessment for the Promotion of Civic Participation and Peace Building in Southern Province, Rwanda
The research team led the impact assessment for the promotion of civic participation and peace building in the southern province. The project focuses on schooling youth in the southern province, with the aim of ensuring that young people are given the right guidance, opportunity, and platforms to participate in building a democratic, peaceful and prosperous nation that respects human rights and treats all its members as equal. The team conducted data collection using Focus Group Discussions with students from NAR clubs in secondary schools, and one-on-one interviews with teachers and or patrons.