Rwanda to strengthen the multi-sectoral approach in achieving women’s rights


Participants at the High Level Consultative meeting on the implementation of the Maputo Protocol re-committed to increase partnership and advance the momentum

Achieving women’s rights fully as provided for by the Maputo Protocol and related domestic laws requires a strong partnership, collaboration and coordination of various concerned sectors. This was discussed during a two day workshop organized in partnership with the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion and OXFAM from 13th to 14th February 2017 at Lemigo Hotel.

In her official remarks, the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion Nyirasafari Espérance reiterated the progress Rwanda has made since the ratification of the Maputo Protocol back in 2004, particularly in its Article 14 on Health and Reproductive Rights:Rwanda‘s experience in the progress towards gender equality and women empowerment is strongly linked to the role of political commitment at all levels, where today women and girls are enjoying the benefits of existing legal and policy instruments that are gender friendly.” The Minister noted.

Minister Nyirasafari also mentioned that currently, pregnant women in Rwanda have the right to four antenatal care visits during pregnancy and are provided free of charge. Currently, 82% of all health centers countrywide offer PMTCT services (Prevention Mother to Child Transmission Control Therapy) where targeted pregnant women can be counselled and tested voluntary for HIV. Thanks to these services, HIV mother-to-child transmission keeps reducing. Maternal mortality rate has decreased from 750/100,000 live births in 2005/6 to 476/100,000 in 2010/11 and 210/100,000 in 2015.

Flavia Mwangovya of Equality Now member of the Solidarity for Africa Women’s Rights (SOAWR) an agency that observes the Maputo Protocol implementation among other women’s rights instruments, says Rwanda is remarkably ahead of other AU country members in implementing the protocol; “however, we believe Rwanda can still do better than that. There is a need to strengthen the multi-sectoral approach to ensure progress goes on.”

Participants at the workshop included Members of Parliament, representatives from the Ministry of Health, Rwanda National Police, the Gender Monitoring Office and the Civil Society and they recognized that one sector alone cannot address the complexity of issues such as gender, HIV/AIDS, child protection and social protection. Participants supported the multi-sectoral approach to avoid the duplication and wastage of limited resources caused by a lack of coordination and collaboration. The workshop concluded with recommendations clarifying each sector’s focus area and the collaboration strategy and renewed commitment from the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion to coordinate the actions and follow up on the commitments using a multi-sectoral approach.

The Maputo Protocol, a protocol to the African charter on human and people’s rights on the women in Africa was adopted on the 11th July 2003, in Maputo, Mozambique by African Heads of states and governments. There was a need for an instrument responsive to the nature of human rights violations experienced by African women. Rwanda ratified the protocol on the 25th June 2004.