The Hague Academy concluded the “Transformative Agents of Change programme” for Rwandan local authorities. In total, twenty agents of change were trained in conducting gender analyses and received guidelines for gender mainstreaming in their local policies and plans. This was done through a three-week online course and several offline training activities. The activities were part of the programme Inclusive Decisions at Local Level, managed by VNG International.

After the training programme, trainer Eugene Rutabagaya observed several changes with the participants: “Participants learned about practical gender analysis tools and how to use them. Most particularly, they were interested in the Moser Analytical Framework and learned how to apply it in their daily work. With this knowledge, they were able to identify gender-related problems in their areas of work. They committed to engaging their colleagues and the district authorities for more commitment towards gender mainstreaming in district plans.”

The Transformative Agents of Change programme takes a gender intersectionality approach. It focuses on how multiple forms of discrimination based on gender, disability, class, etc. overlap and interact with one another and lead to the exclusion of individuals or groups.

The “agents of change” are influential women and men from different levels of the secondary city districts in Rwanda, involved in planning/budgeting, agriculture, urban planning, land management, health, education, social protection and district council support. These professionals were challenged to create change at different levels.

First of all, they reflected on their own gender bias and perceptions. Secondly, they identified gender gaps in their work and analysed underlying causes, for example, barriers to women’s participation in governance processes. Finally, they made action plans to increase gender sensitivity within their organisations.

For effective implementation of the action plans, the professionals had to think about the conditions for success. They had to make sure that their commitments were within their zone of influence, that sufficient resources were available, that their colleagues supported the actions and that they had authorisation from their leadership.

In total, 25 action plans were developed by the agents of change in the Rubavu, Musanze and Nyagatare districts. Most of them focused on awareness-raising, advocacy and support of colleagues with respect to gender analysis and developing gender-sensitive indicators for planning and monitoring.

“I commit to being more deliberate in advocating for women and girls’ integration in education, especially in TVET education”, Emmanuel Ibangaryayo, Secondary and TVET education officer in Muhanga District.

“From now on, I will improve my engagement with district technical staff during the planning phase, to ensure that women’s most pressing issues in the district are integrated into the planning.” Uwanyirigira Marie-Helene, Huye District.