MSM supported training on gender and social inclusion for the agri-tourism value chain in Rwanda


From 24th to 28th May 2021, SEADWest conducted a five-days participative workshop on good practices in gender and social inclusion (GESI) to IPRC Karongi, Bumba TVET school, EAV Kivumu , Gisovu TVET including District Gender officers, to help them mainstream gender in TVET and to develop a road map that will improve the GESI indicators.

The Strategic Plan for the transformation of Agriculture identifies 3 categories of priority value chains: food crops, traditional export commodities and high impact commodities with a focus on animal resources and horticulture. As highlighted in the Gender and Youth Mainstreaming Strategy, these value chains tend to be male-dominated, while women are confined in marginal roles in mostly labour-intensive production within cooperatives, with limited value-adding activities.

Women and young people are further constrained by lower levels of education and limited access to knowledge and information; less access to equipment and transport facilities; skills and confidence gaps; low levels of influence within cooperatives; as well as limited control over production decisions, price negotiation and land use. Women also carry disproportionate responsibilities within the household which further constrains their participation in economically productive activities.

In order to address those challenges, particularly related to skills gaps among women and youth for effective participation in value chains, it is necessary that gender and inclusiveness issues are tackled through awareness creation, training and education programmes which are sensitive to their needs. 

It is in this regard that a training for gender focal persons on Gender and Inclusiveness in the agritourism value chain was held to build the capacity of Lecturers involved in outreach programs from partner education institutions. The participants started working on the development of with a GESI action plan, which will be further elaborated in September 2021. This action plan was developed through an interactive and consultative training.

Ndwaniye Francois from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of the University of Rwanda (UR-CAVM) was engaged in conducting the actual implementation with the help and support of Majoor Herma a gender expert from MSM.

The main objective of this training was to help participants; become acquainted with best practices and national and international frameworks that help making higher education gender sensitive, understand the content and objectives of the draft Rwanda Polytechnic’s Gender and Social Inclusion Policy, identify gaps, challenges and priorities to making their institutions more gender sensitive and Developed a gender roadmap, intended as a tool to mainstream a gender focus in the area of curriculum development, research and innovation, student welfare and career development, community outreach and entrepreneurship and incubation in IPRCs and TVET schools.

On the first day, the focus was on the introduction of the best practices and national and international frameworks on gender in higher education. The workshop started with an introduction into the proposed approach towards the expected product, namely the road map for achieving gender equality in selected TVET colleges in Rwanda. The interactive nature of the workshop was explained, and the role of the participants during and after the workshop.

A presentation was held on national and international policies, strategies and legislations related to gender balance in education, and more in particular in higher education with a focus on TVET. The importance of Rwanda having signed international frameworks like CEDAW and the Sustainable Development Goals was explained, and information was shared about the Constitution, gender related legislation, general gender policy and specific policy for education, and the agencies who are responsible for gender equality in and beyond TVET.

Thereupon, the structure, content and process of the draft RP GESI policy were presented, and the importance of this document for TVET colleges was explained. A number of points of the policy, such as on gender inequality in enrolment and attainment, gender-based violence, gender-sensitive curriculum development and outreach and entrepreneurship were presented, as well as the underrepresentation of women in science and technology subject areas and their weak link to the labour market.

During the second day, the known challenges of gender equality in TVET were categorised into system’s challenges, programme challenges and stakeholders’ challenges. This is the division that the RP used, and it was expected that the participants would do so as well in their tasks, so that they would be able to use a structured way of thinkingThis was followed by a presentation on gender stereotypes, for participants to understand what negative stereotypes are, what are the consequences, where do they come from and how they can recognise them.

After the presentations, the participants split themselves into groups and started identifying and discussing the main challenges and gaps related to gender equality in TVET. As per the explanation, they categorised these gaps and challenges in one of the three categories: systems, programme, and stakeholders’ challenges, to be able to continue the work along these lines.

Practical examples that participants came up with were lines of work that women and girls hardly or never engage in, such as masonry, electricity, plumbing, fishery, and forestry. Especially repairing of roofs was something that women would not do, whilst on the other hand, men would not be easily engaged in fashion. They all agreed that the reason was not that women or men would not both be physically and mentally able to do these jobs; after all, in other countries, the number of for instance female plumbers and electricians is gradually increasing. The participants found that it is about culture and expectation of the communities, the parents, and the students themselves.

‘’This is the first time for me to attend a workshop on gender issues in TVET; I am motivated to analyse gender issues; it is time to break silence (sinzaceceka) , I  have also learnt identifying, categorizing, and prioritizing gender issues in education.’’ MUNYANEZA Theophile, trainer Bumba TVET.

The fourth day was dedicated to the identification of objectives and priorities, to address the challenges and gaps that the participants had found to hamper achieving gender equality in IPRC/TVET education.Participants formulated objectives and strategies to challenges like women and men not being expected to select certain topics (systems challenge); also, the lack of gender disaggregated information was brought up.

Under programme challenges, access to sanitation facilities and accommodation for women was an issue, as well as the insufficiency of learning materials, coupled with boys often laying their hands on them first while girls remains passive observers.

Under stakeholders’ challenges, it was observed among others, that TVET has very few effective partnerships with the private sector, so that especially for women it is difficult to get an internship or job, since employers are not aware of the importance of inclusiveness and gender equality, and of their role in this.

The last day, the participants finalised and presented what they had set out to do, the road maps for their institutions with practical steps, timelines and responsibilities on how to address the identified challenges and achieve the objectives and priorities, to help achieve gender equality in their respective colleges.

‘’The need for a strategy to organize successful gender awareness campaigns among stakeholders has come out as important, I  acknowledge that a strategy must be developed to help girls/women and people with special education needs to participate in practical exercises and access learning materials.’’ HAKUZWIMANA Innocent, Director of Academic Services at IPRC Karongi.

Source: SEAD website

The SEAD-West project managed by MSM under the Nuffic Orange Knowledge Programme is strongly aligned to the running SEAD project under Nuffic NICHE. Where SEAD is focusing on the poultry, dairy, horticulture and potato value chains in the Northern, Eastern and Southern provinces, SEAD-West is contributing to food & nutrition security in Western province of Rwanda.

The projects will build new and strengthen existing partnerships to boost agricultural value chain development and ensures equal opportunities, labor market relevance and strengthening management of the chain actors for sustainability.

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