Pathway 10 - Advocacy

Pathway 10 - Advocacy

This pathway contributes to change by:

Advocating for favorable laws and policies on access to services, resources and inheritance for OVC. In its advocacy efforts, CARE will look both at the policies and laws themselves as well as at the level of their implementation.

  See below for the specific sections of this pathway. For further information on each section please refer to the attached document.

Sections:

This pathway aims to have an impact on all OVC. All different sub-groups of OVC need to a legal environment that supports their access to services, right to inheritance and access to resources.

  • The Ministries of Gender and Family Promotion, Education and Health, being the most important ministries to manage laws and policies affecting OVC. CARE Rwanda builds strategic partnerships with them to work together on improvement of (implementation of) these laws and policies. Within MIGEPROF, specific attention is given to the National Commission for Children (NCC).
  • UNICEF, who provides technical and financial support to line ministries that contribute to OVC well-being, and is engaged in advocacy with them to make budget available for OVC specifically.
  • HAGURUKA  promotes children’s rights and provides legal assistance. They are a partner in the collection of evidences and joint advocacy.
  • COPORWA is a strategic partner when it comes to advocacy for the rights of historically marginalized people, including OVC from this group.
  • Umwana ku Isonga, also known as the ‘Rwanda Civil Society Child Rights Coalition, bringing together Rwandan civil society organizations focusing on child rights, and playing an important role in advocacy, for example by producing alternative reports on the state of child rights in Rwanda.

CARE Rwanda’s work on this pathway is informed by the Government of Rwanda’s policy context. Of specific importance to this pathway are:

  • The National Policy for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children’s (MINALOC, 2003) objectives are “to protect of the rights of the child and to ensure the physical and psychosocial long term development of OVC” and provides a framework to advocate for measures that allow to do so.
  • The Integrated Child Rights Policy (MIGEPROF, 2011) identifies how the government protects children from child labor, trafficking, physical abuse, early marriage and discrimination.
  • MIGEPROF’s Minimum Package of Services for OVC (2009) offers a guide for service provision to OVC.
  • The Law on Child Protection (2012) says that every child has right to adoptive parents or an official guardian, that primary education is free and compulsory, and it prohibits hazardous child labour. The law however lacks to specify remedies for violations of right to education, the right not to be exploited as domestic servant and the right to own or inherit property.
  • The Organic Law Determining the Use and Management of Land in Rwanda (2005) fails to establish clear rights to disputed lands for children and fails to protect orphan’s land rights. Under the new law there is no protection for children of women in common law or informal marriages or cohabitation, nor is there any protection for orphans if the guardian does not protect their interests.
  • The Social Protection Strategy (MINALOC, 2011) aims at reducing vulnerability and helping the poor move out of poverty. OVC are not specifically targeted by the strategy.
  • The National Reproductive Health Policy (MINISANTE, 2003) specifies how youth’ access to SRH and FP services are guaranteed.
  • The National Financial Education Strategy (MINECOFIN, under development) and BNR regulations do not allow OVC under 18 age to manage a bank account or sign a credit contract with a financial institution, thus limited their access to financial services.

CARE Rwanda’s approach to advocacy relies heavily on the collection of evidence at the grassroots level. We believe that this evidence should be the basis of all our advocacy activities, whether they are aiming at the development, the review or the implementation of laws and policies. Within the OVC program, this evidence comes from among other from the following models and approaches:

  • The  Child Mentorship Model. This model provides OVC with a mentor, helping them to meet their rights and needs. While the mentors assist the OVC directly and advocate for OVC rights at the local level, they also provide evidence for advocacy at the national level.
  • Para-legal advisors. This is an approach used by HAGARUKA, whereby trained community volunteers provide people with legal assistance.
  • Early Childhood Development (ECD) centers and home-based ECD. This model is used by CARE to improve the psychosocial, cognitive and physical development of children between 18 months and 6 years old. Like the  Child Mentorship Model, it gives the individuals and local partners involved a good opportunity to see the effectiveness of the (implementation of) relevant laws and policies on the lives of OVC.

The following indicator is used to measure impact at the level of this pathway:

  • % of OVC reached through Government of Rwanda’s models for child protection including the Early Childhood Development Model and the Child Mentorship Model
  • CARE Rwanda is a member of the Ministry of Education’s technical working group. As such, we have been able to contribute to the design of the Ministry’s ECD policy and the related strategic plan.
  • In 2010, the Government of Rwanda approved a budget for 1 ECD center in each sector, with the aim to have realized this by 2015. The commitment exists to, as a next step, go further and ensure that an ECD center exists in each cell.
  • Based on CARE Rwanda’s experiences, the  Child Mentorship Model and its best practices are being integrated in the Strategy for National Child Care Reform (MIGEPROF, 2013). This allows scale-up of this model at the national level.
  • Kuraneza (Communitybased ECD)
  • KGAS (Keeping Girls at School)
  • NISU (Nkundabana Initiative for Scale Up)
  • COSMO (Community Support for Mentorship of OVC)

CARE Rwanda is committed to continuous learning with the aim to improve the quality of its work. In the context of this pathway, we focus on the following learning question:

  1. How can we do more with media in our advocacy work?
  2. How can we better understand how to target our advocacy efforts regarding local authorities’ performance contracts? Different power holders at different levels play a role in the decision-making on the content of these performance contracts. The aim of this question is to better understand this decision-making process, including formal and informal contributories, in order to be able to effectively advocate for OVC to be taken into account.