Gender Consultancies 1 for the National University of Rwanda 1

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Gender Consultancies

for the National University of Rwanda

Part 2: NUR Gender Equality Policy

Professor Shirley K Randell AO, PhD

December 2010


Gender Consultancies 1

for the National University of Rwanda 1


Contents 2

Acknowledgements 3

Acronyms 4

Introduction: An Overview 5

Background: National Context 5

Definitions of Gender Concepts 7

Rationale for Gender Policy 10

Goal and Objectives 11

Vision and Mission 11

Methodology 12

Analysis Frameworks used for the Gender Consultancies 12

Major Policy Areas and Strategies 13

Governing Structure to implement Gender Equality Policy 24

Conclusion 26

Bibliography 27

Appendix 32


This National University of Rwanda (NUR) Gender Equality Policy is based on the findings of the NUR Gender Consultancies provided by the Kigali Institute of Education’s (KIE) Centre for Gender, Culture and Development (CGCD) consultancy team from October to December 2010. The team conducted a Gender Baseline Survey and Gender Audit, and developed a Gender Strategic Plan and Gender Action Plan that are the basis for the development of a NUR Gender Policy. The team included members of the NUR Gender Committee (GC), some NUR staff, private consultants and researchers whose names are given below. Their contributions are gratefully acknowledged.
Consultants, KIE

  • Dr Kathleen MALU, Associate Professor, Fulbright Scholar, KIE

  • Ms Immaculée HABIYAMBERE, BSc, International Development Consultant

Researchers, KIE

  • Dr Ben Kalui, Associate Professor, KIE

  • Dr Darlene RUSSELL, Associate Professor, William Paterson University of New Jersey, USA

  • Dr Olukemi ASEMOTA, SABPP, Senior Lecturer, Consultant

  • Dr Cyprien NIYOMUGABO, PGCLTHE, Lecturer, KIE.

  • Dr Beatrice YANZIGIYE, Lecturer, KIE

  • Dr Gaspard GAPARYI, Lecturer, KIE

  • Mr Jean Leonard BUHIGIRO, MA, Lecturer, KIE

  • Ms Rachel MAHUKU, MEd, Assistant Lecturer, KIE

  • Mr Aloys MAHWA, MSc, Director, Interdisciplinary Genocide Studies Centre

Supervisor, NUR

  • Professor Verdiana Grace Masanja, PhD, NUR Director of Research and Chairperson, NUR GC

Researchers, NUR

  • Ms Mediatrice MUKAKABANA, MSS, Lecturer and NUR Gender Focal Point

  • Mr Celestin BIGIRIMANA, Assistant Lecturer, NUR

  • Mr Jean Paul HABINEZA, Assistant Lecturer, NUR

  • Ms Marie Jeanne NZAYISENGA, Assistant Lecturer, NUR

Statisticians, NUR

  • Mr Ben RUHINDA, Assistant Lecturer, NUR, member of the NUR GC

  • Mr Claude Nsana BAKATA, Assistant Lecturer, NUR

Student Assistants, NUR

  • Mr Livingstone Karamage

  • Ms Hildebrand Niyomwungeri

  • Ms Providence Mukabalisa

  • Mr Jacques Bahige

Logistics Officer, KIE

  • Ms Prisca Iraguha, BEd, KIE

Professor Shirley K Randell AO, PhD, KIE

Head of Mission and Team Leader


AFER Association of Women Entrepreneurs in Rwanda

BOD Board of Directors

CGCD Centre for Gender, Culture and Development

CSO Civil Society Organisation

DPD Director of Planning and Development

EDPRS Economic Development Poverty Reduction Strategy

FPDC Financial, Planning and Development Committee

GA Gender Audit

GAP Gender Action Plan

GBS Gender Baseline Survey

GE Gender Equality

GDC Gender and Development Committee

GDD Gender Development Department

GoR Government of Rwanda

GSP Gender Strategic Plan

HIV/AIDS Human Immuno-deficiency Virus/ Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome

KIE Kigali Institute of Education

LUCS Ligue Universitaire de Lutte Contre le SIDA – University League for AIDS Control

MoU Memoradum of Understanding

NGC NUR Gender Committee

NUR National University of Rwanda

SWOT Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

UWSA University Women Students’ Association

VCT Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre

Introduction: An Overview

Following the establishment of the Gender Committee (GC) by the National University of Rwanda (NUR) Governing Board, the NUR Executive Committee (EC) approved an Action Plan of the GC aiming to propose a Gender Equality (GE) Policy, a Gender Governing Structure and Gender Mainstreaming Strategic and Action Plans. Gender consultancies to conduct a gender baseline and a gender audit as a basis for formulating gender plans and a gender equality policy were duly commissioned in October 2010 and finalised four weeks later. A team of consultants and researchers from Kigali Institute of Education’s (KIE) Centre for Gender, Culture and Development worked with NUR researchers, including members of GC to conduct the study. Findings from this study identified serious gaps at NUR related to supporting the Government of Rwanda’s commitment to GE and women’s empowerment, including:

  • the nearly total lack of gender awareness among stakeholders at all levels:

  • the subsequent general lack of stakeholder ownership of the NUR’s gender mainstreaming process

  • the lack of GE training

  • the lack of gender equality plans and policies and the need to develop comprehensive ones to guide the process of systematically mainstreaming NUR’s functions

The attention of NUR academic and administrative staff is now focused on the development of a comprehensive GE policy for the university. It was realised that this policy will be a vital tool for the integration of gender into all units, management structures, programmes, courses, and functions. The GE policy statements will guide the GE process, ensure regulations for the integration and enforcement of GE, and support actors to track progress and ensure compliance via the five-year strategic plan.

The GE policy is seen to be a government priority, a concern of development partners, a human rights issue, a benchmark for institutional advancement, a blueprint for gender responsiveness, as well as meeting the global call through the Millennium Development Goals for commitment to GE and women’s empowerment.

Background: National Context

Rwandan society is characterised by a patriarchal social structure that underlies the unequal social power relations between men and women, boys and girls. This has translated into men’s dominance and women’s subordination. Gender inequalities have not been seen as unjust, but as respected social normality.
During the colonial era, men’s supremacy over women was reinforced. For example, the abrupt shift from a subsistence economy to a monetary economy, based on paid employment and a formal education system, weakened women’s position relative to that of men. In particular, it weakened their bargaining position on matters concerning their access to and control over resources and the degree of their level of participation in the development process. However, historically there are many cases to show that although women largely played a subordinate role in the Rwandan society, some positive tendencies existed within the Rwandan culture, which reinforced women’s social role and ensured their autonomy. For example, women played a pivotal role in the management of household resources and participated in decision-making at various levels.

Socio-Economic Context

Poverty is identified as one of the most serious issues faced by women and men in Rwanda. The 1994 war and genocide against the Tutsi worsened an already precarious situation for women, and they were the majority among the most affected in the aftermath. Women require economic freedom, obtained notably by promoting their rights in access to and the management of resources, employment, adequate working conditions and economic capacity building.
Women’s participation in economic activities at national level has been measured at 56.4 percent while men’s participation was 43.6 percent1 in 2005, the date of the last statistical survey. Of the 56.4 percent of economically active women, 55.8 percent had an occupation and 87.6 percent of them were involved in agricultural activities2. In terms of employment, gender inequalities are illustrated as follows: in rural areas 66.3 percent of women are employed as against 49.7 percent of men3. In urban areas women who are employed represent 53.5 percent of the population while men are 60.9 percent4. It is worth mentioning that the majority of women employed are under the category of supporting staff while a significant number of men occupy key positions. Only 18 percent of well-structured companies are run by women5. A large number of them are in the informal sector, generally comprising small businesses. Concerning access to employment, the majority of women are employed as unskilled labourers, traders or craft persons. The analysis of the type of employment shows that women compose the majority of the labour force in agriculture and animal husbandry (86% as compared to 61.5% for men) and that in towns, they are numerous in the unskilled occupations. It is estimated that up to 15.2 percent of women are paid either as temporary or permanent employees in rural areas, the majority as house helpers. In towns this figure is estimated to be 33.5 percent.
With regard to income, only 14.8 percent of women earned cash incomes in 2005, 15.7 percent were either paid in cash or in kind, 12.4 percent were paid only in kind, and 57 percent earned no income at all (EDSR, 2005). Within the private sector, no single woman exercises an activity of a large scale industrial type, according to the 2003 study by the Association of Women Entrepreneurs in Rwanda (AFER).
These statistics highlight women’s marginalized position and their economic dependence on men, which is one of the main causes of sexual and gender-based violence. Compounding this, poverty affects men and women differently, mainly due to existing inequalities in terms of development opportunities, as well as in the management and control over economic resources. This is fundamentally due to their respective roles and responsibilities that have been socially constructed.

Definitions of Gender Concepts

    In order to ensure a common understanding of gender, some commonly-used concepts are defined below. They are intended to assist the users of this NUR GE Policy to explore both the concepts and their implications.


Gender indicates the socially-created differences between men and women and is changeable in societies, cultures and even families over time. It refers to the economic, social and cultural attributes and opportunities associated with being male or female. Societies create and assign gender attributes, roles and relationships to girls and boys, women and men, and there is often considerable social pressure to conform to these ideas about behaviour. For example, in many societies women are expected to be subordinate to men. But in some societies women are dominant in decision-making. In other societies it is expected that women and men will participate equally in decision-making6.


Sex indicates the biological/physical differences between men and women that we are born with, based on our sexual and reproductive functions; for instance women can give birth and breastfeed and men produce sperm. Sex is universal and is generally unchangeable. The terms ‘male’ and ‘female’ are used to describe the sex of an individual.

    Differences between Sex and Gender

Sex refers to the biological characteristics that categorise someone as either female or male; whereas gender refers to the socially determined ideas and practices of what it is to be female and male.



Naturally born

Socially constructed

Status does not change according to time and place/location

Change in time and place depending on social and cultural values.

    Gender Equality

Equality is based on the idea that no individual should be less equal in opportunity, access to resources and benefits or in human rights than others. Under gender equality therefore, women and men have equal rights to access and control, over resources and benefits, participation in politics and decision-making, gainful employment and so forth.

    Gender Equity

Gender Equity is the quality of being fair, just and right to both women and men. It includes fairness and justice in the distribution between women and men, of responsibilities, access to resources, control over resources and access to benefits. Gender equity is a step towards gender equality and women’s empowerment and it embraces affirmative action where and when necessary.

    Gender Mainstreaming

Gender Mainstreaming refers to a process of assessing and bridging gender gaps/imbalances. Specifically it is a strategy for making women’s and men’s concerns and experiences an integral part of designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating programmes and activities in the socio-economic and political spheres of the society. It is an organisational strategy to bring a gender perspective to all aspects of an institution’s policy and activities, through building gender capacity and accountability7.
Women’s Empowerment

A bottom up process of transforming gender power relations, through individuals or groups developing awareness of women’s subordination and building their capacity to challenge it8. Women’s empowerment is both a process and the result of that process. Empowerment is manifested as a redistribution of gender power relations. The goals of women’s empowerment are to challenge patriarchal ideology (male domination and women’s subordination); to transform the structures and institutions that reinforce and perpetuate gender discrimination and social inequality (the family, caste, class, religion, educational systems, laws and civil codes, political processes, development models and government institutions) and to enable poor women to gain access to and control of both material and informational resources. This leads to true empowerment, which is achieved by both men and women when they have choices from options: an atmosphere where they are able to assess and change the direction of their lives.

Affirmative Action

It is a policy or a program that seeks to redress past discrimination through active measures to ensure equal opportunity, as in education and employment.

Gender Sensitivity

Gender sensitivity encompasses the ability to acknowledge and highlight existing gender differences, issues and inequalities in projects, programmes, budgets and policies and to incorporate these into strategies and actions. It is to be properly aware of the different needs, roles and responsibilities of women and men, and to understand that these differences can result in inequality between them in:

  • Access to and control over resources; and

  • Level of participation in and benefit from resources and development.

Gender Sensitive Planning

Gender planning refers to the process of planning developmental programmes and projects that are gender sensitive and which take into account the impact of differing gender roles and gender needs of women and men in the target community or sector. It involves the selection of appropriate approaches to address not only men’s and women’s practical needs, but also to identify entry points for challenging unequal relations (ie. strategic needs) and to enhance the gender-responsiveness of policy dialogue.

Gender Responsive Decision Making

Gender responsive decision making uses gender responsive tools with gender responsive institutions and gender responsive conceptual frameworks and is essential to enable women and men to negotiate transformed personal, social, economic and political arrangements.

Gender Responsive Governance

Gender-responsive governance is an important step in achieving good governance. It seeks to ensure that institutions, policies, programs and projects:

  • Involve men and women equally in government processes

  • Learn about, take seriously, and respond to the needs, interests and priorities of all members of society;

  • Distribute resources and benefits of development equally between women and men;

  • Ensure that men and women, girls and boys enjoy equal quality of life.

Gender Responsive Monitoring

Gender responsive monitoring is a systematic ongoing approach to checking if interventions are on track to achieving their goals – specifically from a gender perspective. Gender monitoring is at the implementation (more micro) level and is ongoing.

Gender Responsive Evaluation

Gender responsive evaluation is a systematic approach to assessing the policy intervention, program or project (from a gender perspective) - whether it achieved its objectives, what the broad impact was and why it was successful or unsuccessful. Gender responsive evaluation occurs at the strategic (more macro) level and is less frequent – typically mid-term and completion. It is designed to capture the impact on the entire group of stakeholders or beneficiaries, and show clearly the different outcomes for women and men. Such evaluations should provide us with important information to inform future policies, programs and projects, so evaluation results must therefore be documented, communicated effectively and made available to relevant policy, program and project designers.

Gender-related Needs

As a result of the differing reproductive, productive and community roles and relationships of men and women based on their gender, they will also have differing gender needs. Development cooperation normally tries to have an impact on the actual conditions in which people live and thus to meet their real-life needs, many of which are gender bound. These gender-related needs can be classified as either practical gender needs or strategic gender needs.

Practical Gender Needs. Practical gender needs (PGNs) are the immediate needs men and women identify in their socially-accepted roles within a specific context. These needs are gender-related when their satisfaction is mainly the task of one gender. They are the concrete, material needs that must be met in order to satisfy the basic needs of life, such as nourishment, shelter, water provision, health care and employment. PGNs are met by concrete actions, such as providing services, education or credit, that can relieve immediate disadvantage but tend not to change underlying causes of gender inequality nor challenge gendered divisions of labour and position in society.
Strategic Gender Needs. Strategic gender needs (SGNs) are connected with the status of women and men and the power structures within the community. They are the needs women and men identify because of their position in society. These vary according to particular contexts, related to gendered divisions of labour, power and control. SGNs may include issues such as the sharing of domestic work, equal decision-making in the household and community, freedom from domestic violence, control over fertility, equal wages for equal work and legal rights, such as inheritance of money and land. SGNs are more long term and less visible than PGNs and relate to the underlying causes of inequality. The satisfaction of SGNs requires changes in structures and attitudes in families and communities and assists men and women to change existing roles and power relations between them to achieve greater equality in society.
Gender Blindness

Gender blindness is a lack of awareness of gender concepts and a failure to recognize that gender is an essential determinant of social outcomes impacting on projects and policies, on life experiences and outcomes for boys and girls, men and women. A gender-blind approach assumes gender is not an influencing factor in legislation, policies, budgets, programmes and projects. Many government documents and planning processes are gender blind - based on assumptions that government activities will impact equally on men and women, and not taking into account their differing life experiences. An example of this would be a policy to extend credit to small enterprises which does not address the constraints women face in obtaining such credit.

Gender Budget

Gender budgeting involves the analysis of national budgets from the perspective of their impact on men and women, girls and boys. Budget analysis from a gender perspective requires not just an understanding of the complex design and content of the budget, but also the negotiation processes involved in budget preparation. Gender budget initiatives promote equity across the spectrum because they require an understanding of who is allocated what in different development fields, including education, health, and employment – areas that are crucial to building people’s capabilities and reducing poverty. In addition, a gender budget initiative requires collaboration amongst many groups, on the premise that unless the understanding is broadly shared, then advocacy for change would not be effective.

Gender Audit

A gender audit is an assessment of an organisation’s commitment and capacity to deliver development programmes and interventions aimed at achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. It differs from a gender evaluation which looks at the outcomes or impact of a programme or project on gender relations among ‘beneficiaries.’ Instead, a gender audit focuses on the organisation’s policies, practices and culture in the design and delivery of gender-sensitive programmes and projects. Not only does it look at the organisation’s development policies and practices, but also its internal systems and processes for resource allocation, in particular its human and financial resources, and its performance tracking and monitoring systems. Gender audits are conducted on the basis that organisations need to set their own houses in order first, to ensure there are no aspects of the organisation’s culture which discriminate against women staff or women ‘beneficiaries:’ it is a check to see if the organisation is ‘walking the talk’ of gender equality.

Rationale for Gender Policy

Because of the important role played by the academy in the development of the Rwandan society, furthering quality through GE is not just an issue of importance for the internal development of the NUR, but has wider implications. Thus, besides fulfilling its main tasks of research and education, the University should set a good example to both women and men; for the knowledge that students acquire, and the models they copy during their undergraduate training will be made use of in their future careers.
In addition, NUR is a significant provider of skilled people for the labour market in Rwanda. Each year, the institution releases a good number of laureates in various disciplines to the employment market. Graduates and postgraduates equipped with gender mainstreaming skills will operate in the Rwanda society and apply GE.
Work for GE at NUR aims to balance women’s and men’s influence on teaching, research, conditions for study and of work as well balancing the number of women and men in the undergraduate and graduate programmes. The same aim applies to the composition of the various professional groups employed and to the membership of NUR boards and committees. Quality employment relations and fair human resource policies at NUR are also critical to ensuring GE.
The ultimate responsibility for the realisation of this goal lies with the Rector, but the concrete work for change must take place at the faculty, centre and departmental level. According to the Rwanda’s commitment to GE, all employers should work actively for gender equality in co-operation with their employees. GE policy and documents should apply to academic and administrative staff and students. They should always show respect for and further equality between women and men in the course of their daily activities. Work for GE is to apply both to recruitment of staff with the aim of achieving a balance between the number of women and men, and to such changes in conditions of study, in teaching methods and forms of examination as can lead to more women choosing to continue to advanced levels in male dominated disciplines and to more men entering into female areas.

Goal and Objectives


The goal of this gender policy is to provide strategies that will assist NUR to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in line with the national Government’s priorities for economic development and poverty reduction and commitment to the Millennium Development Goals.


  • To ensure that gender equality is taken into account in the planning, policy making and evaluation activities of the organisation.

  • To take specific action to provide women and men with equal opportunities for active participation at every level of NUR.

  • To undertake affirmative action for female administrative and academic staff and students to improve the gender balance at NUR

  • To address any discrimination against men and women that prevents their full participation in NUR activities and leadership

  • To take into account the specific needs of both women and men.

Vision and Mission

The Vision and Mission on which this policy is based is built on the NUR Mission and Vision but included some gender emphasis.


To become an innovative, world class and self-sustainable university that provides equal opportunities to women and men to reach their full potential and participate as equal partners in development that is responsive to national, regional and global challenges.


To generate and disseminate high quality knowledge and promote gender equality, effective research, skills training and community service for national competitiveness and sustainable socio-economic development


A mixed data collection approach comprising of a documentation review, questionnaire, interviews with key informants and focus groups were utilised to gather data from academic and administrative staff, students and the NUR and Huye communities, to determine their perceptions, knowledge and understanding of GE in NUR in 2010, the base year. The research tools helped also to assess the institutional systems, processes and procedures enabling NUR to deliver on GE.

Documentary Survey

Key documents were provided by NUR and other local, regional and international public and non public institutions for the team to read and evaluate for relevant data for the Gender Consultancies. Documents consulted are listed in the Bibliography at the end of this report.

Questionnaire Sample

A questionnaire was designed by the research team to obtain the information needed for the survey. Next, the questionnaire was piloted with a group of NUR academic and administrative staff and students, who completed the draft questionnaire and suggested revisions of the survey questions as appropriate. Participants were asked to share their thoughts, suggestions and any confusion regarding the questions. The research team made appropriate modifications. This revised questionnaire (written in English) was then translated into Kinyarwanda. Throughout the piloting of the questionnaire, the group of NUR academic and administrative staff and students who were research team members received training in its appropriate use.
The revised questionnaire was finalised and the English and Kinyarwanda versions were distributed by NUR staff and students to 310 members of the NUR community. Two hundred and seventy questionnaires were completed and returned. The attempt was made to include equal numbers of men and women as it was considered important to understand the perceptions of both sexes on gender mainstreaming and gender equality: Completed questionnaires were returned at a rate of 51 percent men and 49 percent women.

Focus groups sample

Focus groups were organised to triangulate results from the documentary review and the questionnaire analysis.

Interview sample of key informants

Three management, four academic and five administrative staff, two students, eight members of the NUR community and five from the Huye community were interviewed to provide a rich data base.

Analysis Frameworks used for the Gender Consultancies

Three analysis frameworks were employed in the Consultancies: the Balanced Score Card, Traffic Light scoring and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. These were modelled on the established Rwanda Gender Audit Methodology developed in Kigali in 20089.
The data collected through the four tools used in the Gender Survey Consultancy were summarized according to the strategy of a Balanced Score Card. The four aspects examined in the Balanced Score Card framework analysis were:

  • NUR’s accountability to implementing the Rwanda Gender Policy and other national instruments intended to promote GE.

  • NUR’s competences, systems, processes, and procedures to implement GE

  • NUR’s learning, approach and innovation capability vis-à-vis GE

  • NUR’s reputation with communities, clients and partners in terms of GE implementation.

Major Policy Areas and Strategies

From the findings of the research, major policy areas to be addressed are detailed below. In each case a situational analysis raising policy issues is outlined, a policy statement is developed and strategies for action are recommended.

1 NUR policies

Situation Analysis and Policy Issues

  • In general, NUR policies are silent on GE.

  • The obvious political will of the top management is not put into practice: the management team generally does not ‘walk the talk’

  • Gender is sometimes misconstrued in NUR as a women’s issues

  • The documentary review of the major policies of NUR showed little evidence of commitment to GE

  • There is a lack of clear strategies to promote GE

  • For a large number of academic and administrative staff and students, GE is only seen at NUR in relation to addressing the unequal numbers of female staff and students.

  • NUR has not been proactive in ensuring gender balance in issues like enrolment of students, recruitment and promotion of staff or membership of decision making committees.

  • There are no incentives for staff and students to deliver GE.

  • There are some valuable institutional initiatives to support women attaining additional qualifications, and some academic staff who are implementing GE in their faculties and centres

Policy Statement

    NUR shall ensure that all policies are gender sensitive.


  • Review this draft policy and approve a final NUR Gender Policy for wide dissemination

  • Institutionalise the Gender Policy in all structures of NUR

  • Review all NUR policies to include GE

  • Conduct regular institutional Gender Audits of NUR policies to ensure gender issues are addressed and results are utilised for advocacy in the institution and at the national level.

2 Gender budget

Situation Analysis and Policy Issues

  • NUR has not allocated a specific gender budget to promote GE - no financial resources are set aside for the pursuit of GE at NUR.

  • Development partner funds are provided for scholarships for women to pursue PhDs and other postgraduate studies as one measure that will lead to gender balance in senior positions, but there are still too few opportunities.

  • Although NUR financial policy is based on the National Public Financial Management framework, which includes gender budgeting, this is not yet practiced in NUR.

Policy Statement

    NUR shall introduce gender budgeting ensuring that all data is disaggregated for guiding decision making, advocacy and necessary reforms and providing resources for gender mainstreaming, specifically to improve the status of women through scholarships and training for women.


  • Implement gender budgeting at NUR

  • Establish annual financial planning that takes incorporates GE

3 NUR strategic interventions to promote GE

Situation Analysis and Policy Issues

  • NUR utilises donor funding to provide opportunities for women to study overseas for higher degrees.

  • Preference is given to women in student accommodation

  • There are no other clear NUR strategic interventions to promote GE

  • Organizational structure documents do not include intervention strategies that are systematically aimed at achieving GE

Policy Statement

    NUR shall develop strategic and structural interventions and approaches aimed specifically to promote GE.


  • Develop clear strategic interventions to promote GE within NUR

4 Student enrolment, performance, achievement and retention

Situation Analysis and Policy Issues

  • There is inequality in the enrolment of female and male students.

  • Since 1994, the percentage of female students has continued to be low in relation to that of male students in many faculties.

  • While the average ratio of female students stands at 25.2 percent in 2010, it is lowest in the Faculties of Science and Technology (18,8%), and Applied Science (14%) (see Table 1).

  • Responsibility for this situation is also attributed to the national context where undergraduate students arrive at NUR after a selective national examination.

  • There are limited counselling services for NUR students with a consequent lack of support for vulnerable students, especially for women.

Policy Statement

NUR shall adopt affirmative action policies to rectify historical imbalances in students’ enrolment, performance, achievement and retention for both male and female students until the desired goal of 50/50 percentage ratio between women and men is attained generally and across faculties, departments and centres.


  • Introduce an affirmative action enrolment strategy that recognises disadvantages faced by girls in schooling and accepts private female students with a lower entrance mark than men

  • Provide remedial courses to support these students to catch up to the required standard before entering the degree programme

  • Introduce empowerment programmes targeting female students to enhance their self esteem and confidence together with gender sensitisation programmes for male students to sensitise them to work together with empowered female students

  • Strengthen counselling services for all students

  • Review and revitalise extra curricula activities targeting both female and male students in order to promote positive interaction among them

5 Tracking pregnant female students

Situation Analysis and Policy Issues

  • At interview the University League for AIDS Control (LUCS) Coordinator advised that a 2005 NUR study showed that first-year female students lacked adequate accommodation and information on HIV/AIDS and how to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy. Both male students and men within the Huye community were taking advantage of this situation to sexually abuse female students, so NUR decided to offer accommodation to all first year female students.

  • In Rwanda, it is well established that women are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS than men, hence the need for the sensitisation of all NUR students, especially new students, on reproductive health and the need to use VCT. Such programmes are initiatives of VCT and are encouraged by GC and the University Women Students Association (UWSA), but there are no written NUR policies or guidelines to follow.

  • In 2009, LUCS advised that 25 percent of female students attended a VCT clinic and efforts are being made to persuade both male and female students to undertake counselling.

  • The LUCS Coordinator noted that initially, the rate of unwanted pregnancy among female students was high, but in 2009 this had reduced to 20 reported pregnancies. She attributed this to 62 percent condom use among students: there is ongoing research to determine the impact of free distribution of condoms by LUCS to students, and the results will be released in 2011.

  • Some female students leave for the village and come back to NUR after delivery, but this affects their study programmes, they become discouraged and in the long run many drop out. Some married women suffer similar complications during pregnancy. Other pregnant students abandon their studies altogether from the onset, for fear of guilt or shame and lack of support from the perpetrators (‘boy friend’ or ‘sugar daddy’).

  • Interviewees inferred that some male students have assisted female students to abort pregnancies for which they are responsible and have been involved in their partners’ suicide attempts.

  • Interviewees suggested that NUR should develop a policy for both the man and woman concerned in a pregnancy to share financial and parental responsibility.

Policy Statement

    NUR shall introduce sexual harassment and student pregnancy policies.


  • Develop sexual harassment and student pregnancy policies

  • Conduct information sessions on reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and pregnancy prevention for all male and female students and particularly for first-year female students in hostels

  • Facilitate pregnant female students to stay at NUR until their confinement and return to their studies after delivery to enable them to complete their education.

  • Ensure that in the event that any female student is impregnated by a male student, both should face attendant consequences rather than limiting them to female students alone.

    LUCs should introduce counselling sessions to pregnant female students together with the ‘boy friend’ or ‘sugar daddy’ in order to encourage collective responsibility to be taken for the pregnancy.

6 Social situation of students

Situational Analysis and Policy Issues

  • Most students fund their needs (accommodation, transportation, photocopying, hairdressing, food, etc.) from their bursary pocket money, initially provided by the government. The withdrawal of bursaries may lead to greater student poverty, said to be one of the main reasons for some female students forming liaisons with ‘sugar daddies’ or entering prostitution.

  • The focus group with hairdressers and interviews with hoteliers established that some female students sell their sex to ‘sugar daddies’, leaving their photos and full addresses with a hotel located near to the NUR for assignments to be organised.

  • Both male and female students work in Internet Cafés and deliver good service. Some of them teach English or French to interested people and charge them low prices. The students’ association trains them to create income-generating activities.

Policy Statement

NUR shall put facilities in place to support students to generate income.


  • Train students in entrepreneurial skills to assist them to create income-generation activities

  • Create work/study programs within NUR to employ students in university offices, the library, the canteen etc.

  • Collaborate with the National Police, lecturers, hoteliers and local government to work hand in hand to share information to eradicate the ‘sugar daddy’ business, involving female students.

  • Establish an emergency fund for student bursaries for poor male and female students.

7 Staff recruitment, development, training and retention

Situational Analysis and Policy Issues

  • There is inequality in the numbers of female and male academic and administrative staff at NUR as indicated in Table 2 in the Appendix.

  • Only 10 percent of PhD holders and 29 percent of holders of Masters Degrees are women. Only 29 percent of recruitments between 2003 and 2010 were women.

  • There is gender imbalance in key academic and management positions

  • There is gender imbalance in recruitment and training

  • The documentary survey of major policies on human resources (HR) showed that none of the HR policies on job descriptions, recruitment, performance evaluation and promotion mentioned competence or skills regarding GE.

  • There is no orientation or induction training for familiarisation of gender mainstreaming for new staff or students of NUR.

  • Limited provision is made for child care or other support that takes into account the reproductive roles and responsibilities of female staff

  • Some staff at all levels are resistant to the concept of GE and strategies for women’s empowerment.

  • There are limited gender indicators in the tools, criteria and standards used for motivation of staff, e.g. training, promotion, research fund, consultancies, housing, etc.

Policy Statement

NUR shall strive to become an equal opportunity employer by instituting and promoting policies and programmes that will create equal opportunities for both male and female staff in recruitment, staff development, promotion, training and retention.


  • Develop gender-sensitive HR policies for NUR.

  • Put in place affirmative action at the recruitment level to support an increased number of female employees in academic and administrative positions by defining female and male target percentage levels

  • Establish an accountability mechanism for managing and monitoring the extent to which each unit (faculty, department etc) adopts and implements gender responsive plans for moving to the set target of at least a 40/60 ratio for either sex in recruitment, training and development.

  • Establish a unit on gender issues in the student’s orientation week and in staff induction

  • Provide training and development on gender mainstreaming for staff at all levels

  • Ensure sex-disaggregated data is available for training, scholarship, conference, and similar staff development activities

  • Include gender analysis responsibilities in job descriptions and terms of reference

  • Develop a reward mechanism for outstanding research in gender analysis

  • Include a section on the annual report on achievements in GE

  • Search for women qualified for newly advertised positions, with the aim of ensuring that at least 30 percent of the candidates for any position are women, to be in line with national policy

  • Ensure an appropriate celebration of International Women’s Day

8 Curriculum development, research and consultancy programmes

Situational Analysis and Policy Issues

  • There are limited gender sensitive approaches in curriculum development and in teaching methodologies at NUR, especially in the hard sciences

  • There is limited support for women to be involved in research and consultancy activities.

Policy Statement

NUR shall design gender inclusive curriculum and mainstream gender in all academic programmes, research and consultancy activities


  • Review existing curricula for gender sensitivity

  • Review the terms of reference for the curriculum committee

  • Establish a gender centre that can facilitate and support the design and implementation of curricula that are gender responsive

  • Support and fund gender researchers and consultancy activities.

9 Leadership values and symbols

Situational Analysis and Policy Issues

  • There is no adequate information provided on who leads GE implementation in NUR.

  • There are very few women in leadership positions in academic or administrative units and there are no actions in place to address the underrepresentation

  • Most leaders were unable to articulate and address gender concerns

  • Respondents to interviews and focus groups indicated that gender issues were rarely mentioned in NUR meetings

  • Commitments to GE of senior managers were not translated into action

  • Respondents indicated that little was done to discourage expressions of gender inequality and discrimination at NUR

  • Miss NUR is seen to be the major symbol of GE at the University

Policy Statement

    NUR shall provide leadership training in GE for its senior managers.


  • Ensure that GE is incorporated in all NUR processes, programmes and activities

  • Develop mechanisms that will aid the implementing of policies at NUR

  • Ensure that the mechanisms of incorporating GE is clear to staff and students for institutionalising GE at NUR

  • Ensure relations between men and women are respectful.

  • Adopt a combination of a top down and bottom up style of GE management

10 Monitoring and evaluation

Situational Analysis and Policy Issues

  • Systems and procedures to check progress and outcomes on GE are few and scattered.

  • Resources are allocated to all units, faculties and centres, but the procedures manual is silent about gender delivery (for both men and women) and thus cannot assist in translating NUR’s political commitment to GE into practice, nor give evidence about the implementation of GE.

  • Besides the tracking of female students’ pregnancies and students’ enrolment by gender, no other monitoring data is available

  • No institutionalized or regular systems or procedures to check progress and outcomes of GE were identified.

  • Resources allocated to faculties and centres are silent on gender.

  • The National policy on Gender Responsive Budgeting has not yet been implemented at NUR

Policy Statement

NUR shall design a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system that will deliver on GE and shall continue to review internal systems and processes to help progress and deliver effectively and efficiently on GE.


  • Establish an M&E system for checking on GE progress and delivering GE outcomes

  • Allocate specific resources to GE and Gender Equity targets.

  • Establish a tracking system for pregnant female students and staff.

  • Record and analyse female students and staff dropping out and reasons given to inform policy

  • Include gender criteria in the performance assessment processes.

  • Ensure equitable distribution of NUR resources, benefits and opportunities

  • Establish an accountability mechanism for managing and monitoring the extent to which each academic and administrative unit and implements gender responsive plans for moving to a set target of a 40/60 ratio for either sex in recruitment, training and development

11 Organisation Structure

Situational Analysis and Policy Issues

  • Organisational structure documents do not include intervention strategies that are systematically aimed at achieving GE.

  • NUR organisational structure and all control mechanisms are not constructed in a manner to deliver on GE.

  • Financial assessments are done regardless of GE mainstreaming.

  • There is no mechanism to analyse providers

  • Although some data is now systematically disaggregated by sex this does not apply universally.

  • Although the number of female students and staff are on the rise generally, female students are still underrepresented and are seen more in social studies than in sciences and technology.

  • Female staff are predominantly in administration and junior level jobs.

  • Little is done to reward and promote GE achievements.

Policy Statement

NUR shall re-design organisational structure that will support GE implementation within the institution


  • Establish structures that will eliminate all forms of gender inequality and marginalisation

  • Design performance contracts that will deliver on GE

  • Add to performance contracts an indicator on GE and gender equity actions and progress

12 Intervention strategies

Situational Analysis and Policy Issue

  • Intervention strategies and approaches are not informed by likely progress towards GE outputs and outcomes

  • There is a lack of clear strategies and structures needed to achieve GE at all levels.

  • Incentives to deliver on GE are not provided.

  • The few GE initiatives are not monitored and capitalised on to show the progress towards GE outputs and outcomes.

  • GE is not visible in NUR annual programmes and reports.

  • Although some strategic documents mention GE, GE is not at the centre of NUR’s analysis of issues, and therefore choices for intervention strategies are not inclusive of GE.

  • Experience shows that once NUR develops female capacities, these women are taken to other higher positions at national level.

  • There is no clear system for engendering curricula, teaching and examination within NUR.

  • There is confusion between the definitions of gender and women, and most male staff and students think that gender mainstreaming is about women’s promotion empowerment.

Policy Statement

Key features of the institutional philosophy, approaches, intervention strategies and M&E systems shall be constructed in a manner to monitor the progress towards GE outputs and outcomes in NUR.


  • Embed GE in NUR planning and reporting processes, including from the analysis, approaches, strategic orientations, logical frameworks, timeline, indicators, M&E.

  • Engender HR policy, including the performance system and institutional building for delivery on GE.

  • Include GE in NUR operational structure. To provide incentives for staff and students to deliver on GE (recruitment, inception and probation period, appraisal system, etc).

  • Give a high profile to GE activities in NUR.

  • Engender NUR curricula

  • Market NUR and its courses in early secondary classes in schools, pushing gender as an approach for development and how welcome girls would be and how capable they would be in succeeding in science, engineering, agriculture and medicine

  • Ensure GE in NUR staffing (quantity and quality) and introduce affirmative action for balancing women and men in senior staff positions

  • Initiate a program for GE in enrolment in all faculties and motivate female students to study Masters and postgraduate programs in sciences and engineering disciplines by providing incentives.

  • Design a special program for Women leaders to raise equality within NUR senior positions and feed the national and international leadership labour market.

  • Review student social policies and code of conduct to:

  • Lower the abortion and suicide rate for female students

  • Provide equal responsibility of female and male students in case of pregnancies

  • Reduce vulnerability to prostitution

  • Provide incentives for male and female staff and students to understand gender as a concept and an approach for development.

  • Organize public lectures and information sharing from various Rwandan and international GE experts.

13 Tracking and reporting systems

Situational Analysis and Policy Issue

  • Tracking and reporting systems do not provide the gender information needed for advocacy, future planning and policy review in general

  • The planning framework does not have GE across the process.

  • Disaggregated data are rare and not systematic

  • There is no tracking and reporting systems that provide regular information regarding GE.

  • Policy making is not informed by GE

Policy Statement

NUR shall regularly review and update its policies, planning framework, tracking and reporting system to provide regular information regarding GE.


  • Develop a monitoring and evaluation system to track progress on the integration of GE.

  • Include GE strategies and indicators in log frames.

  • Ensure that all data collected is sex-disaggregated.

  • Transform experiences learned into innovative approaches and strategies for NUR and the rest of the community to deliver on GE

14 Areas of work that contribute to GE progress

Situational Analysis and Policy Issues

  • Areas of work that must contribute to GE progress are not identified in NUR policies

  • Although NUR has a gender sensitive reputation, GE actions are still individual, scattered and not regular

  • There is no system or clear mechanism that provides incentives to people and organs to mainstream gender in their planning and interventions.

  • NUR HR policies are not gender sensitive in regard to GE delivery, including for parental leave and family care.

  • Although priority attention is given to housing female students, given the scarce available accommodation in Huye infrastructure is insufficient.

  • There is inadequate and inappropriate infrastructure for both female and male staff and students especially students living outside campus.

Policy Statement

NUR shall identify areas of work that are most likely to contribute to GE progress for the institution and the nation.


  • Provide vertical and horizontal organs for academics, finance and administrative staff and students that have strategic and operational delivery actions that contribute to GE progress in NUR and the community.

  • Develop gender budgeting skills in planners and provide regular feedback to the Management Committee, Gender Committee and to staff, including gender information and putting appropriate GE actions in place.

  • Establish a special program for capacity building and mentorship of middle level women in NUR to encourage them to prepare themselves for senior level positions in the university.

  • Design a special program for incubating women leaders in all disciplines to provide gender sensitive graduates for senior position within GoR, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the private sector.

  • Conduct an assessment of gender aspects of infrastructure in NUR, including day care centres for female and male staff and students.

  • Review HR policies to ensure that they are family friendly.

15 Mechanisms to share learning on GE contributing to innovation

Situational Analysis and Policy Issue

  • There are no mechanisms in place for NUR to share learning on GE internally or externally.

  • NUR partners, staff, students, clients, suppliers and the communities in general perceive NUR as committed to GE in policy and practice.

  • There is no formal regular forum for sharing learning in GE across NUR organs (horizontal and vertical) which can lead to innovation in information exchange, approach or intervention strategies in GE.

  • There is no clear strategy for informing and communicating to partners and clients NUR commitment to GE mainstreaming.

  • Most of NUR partners Memoranda of Understanding do not mention GE.

  • Most NUR outreach programs in the local community (social and development) do not clearly state NUR commitment to GE, and do not provide incentives to the community to deliver on GE.

  • Some female students are mentioned as members of prostitution networks in Huye.

  • From all sources of the survey, abolition of bursaries will have a negative impact on both female and male students’ tertiary education, especially women.

  • Miss NUR event is perceived as the biggest ‘gender sensitive’ action of NUR.

  • The NUR/- Huye District working relationship is not streamlined into a clear GE program with clear deliverables.

Policy Statement

NUR shall have a regular forum for sharing learning and innovation in GE


  • Set up a learning mechanism leading to innovation for better delivery on GE.

  • Provide a regular forum for information exchange on GE.

  • Conduct, document and evaluate a leadership review of approach and intervention strategies in planning, implementation and resources management

  • Prepare, develop and apply a logical framework that provides incentives to deliver on GE for partners and clients, including the central and local governments, development partners, the local community and CSOs.

  • Develop and make a clear statement of GE with local communities, civil society and the private sector as part of NUR’s implementation of the Constitution and national policies.

  • Build a positive reputation as an institution promoting women and men with integrity.

  • Develop and apply a staff and student code of conduct

  • Set up a special program for employment and employability for students (with affirmative action for female students).

  • Approach local government (Districts, Sectors, Cells), CSOs and the private sector to develop programs for employment for NUR students.

  • Provide opportunities for students to develop practical skills to enable them to work and study

16 Relationships with partners

Situational Analysis and Policy issue

  • NUR partners, staff, students, clients and suppliers do not know what the institution requires of them in terms of GE

  • There is no standardized framework for all NUR community to apply gender with partners, staff, students, clients, suppliers and constituencies.

  • Partners and constituencies do not deliver on GE.

  • With the bursary waived by the GoR, partners and constituencies think female student enrolment at NUR will be consistently affected.

Policy Statement

    NUR shall develop a framework for applying GE mainstreaming by staff, students and partners and introduce a special program to support female and male students’ enrolment and their retention in faculties after the waiver of bursary.


  • Inform partners and clients of the new development on gender issues within NUR.

  • Include gender aspects in activity contracts such as donor agencies.

  • Review the staff appraisal system to recognise and reward actions for GE.

  • Set up a special program for employment and employability for students (with affirmative action for female students).

  • Approach local government (Districts, Sectors, Cells), CSOs and the Private Sector to develop programs for employment for NUR students

17 Incentives for partners

Situational Analysis and Policy issue

  • NUR does not provide incentives to encourage its partners to commit to GE.

  • NUR partners generally do not deliver on GE and do not mainstream GE in their policies, plans and programs.

Policy Statement

NUR shall encourage its partners to mainstream GE in their policies, plans, programs and operational structures.


  • Review all NUR partnerships to encourage partners to mainstream GE

  • Engage all future partners in mainstreaming GE in policies, plans, programs and operational structures

18 NUR influence on partners

Situational Analysis and Policy issue

  • NUR commitment to GE does not influence its approach to programs and partners

  • Activities conducted in partnership with NUR are not gender sensitive.

Policy Statement

    GE expected outcomes shall underlie all NUR activities with its partners.


  • Review all NUR partnership agreements with its partners to ensure the inclusion of GE delivery

  • Set up a clear mechanism for a GE perspective in all future NUR partnerships.

Governing Structure to implement Gender Equality Policy

NUR Board of Directors (BOD)

The NUR BOD and the Rector have the ultimate responsibility for GE, but in order to achieve results a governing structure to implement GE Policy is needed in line with NUR’s governance structure. The background is that NUR established a gender focal point in 2007. In 2010, after establishing a Gender Committee as provided for in the NUR governance structure, a Gender Office was set-up and furnished and this is functioning as a Gender Secretariat. The Gender Committee currently deals with all gender policy matters and reports to the Executive Council. This consultancy provides the opportunity to recommend a further evolution of this structure to oversee national and NUR gender priorities. It should evolve in the NUR Centre for Gender with a mandate to review policies and their implementation.

NUR Gender Committee

The NUR Gender Committee (NGC) shall be chaired by the NUR Rector, with the Vice Rector Administration and Finance as the Vice Chair and the Director of Planning and Development as Secretary. NGC shall be composed of Deans and Directors with four appointed members known to be committed to gender issues. NGC shall meet twice a year, a planning meeting and a review meeting whose calendar should follow the fiscal year. NGC shall report on any gender matters to the BOD’s Finance, Planning and Development Committee, which will submit them to the BOD.

NUR Gender and Development Department

In December 2010, the Government of Rwanda instructed that Directors responsible for Planning in each Government Institution would be the Institutional Gender Focal Points, in the case of NUR it is the Director of Planning and Development (DPD). The NUR Board of Directors shall establish a Gender and Development Department (GDD) as the secretariat for the Gender Committee under the Directorate of Planning and Development. GDD responsibilities and functions shall include:

  • implementation of NUR gender policy at institution level

  • coordination of gender mainstreaming activities at NUR

  • coordination of NUR units' gender planning, gender budgeting, gender monitoring and evaluation, gender annual reporting and gender capacity building

  • undertaking of an annual institution-wide gender audit.

The DPD shall have a Deputy Gender Focal Point to provide support in carrying out these responsibilities and functions.

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