Strategic approaches


The issues and problems affecting women and children in Rwanda are diverse in nature. There is therefore no one way to effectively address them. RWN views the problems affecting their constituents (women and their families) in a holistic manner as a process of addressing them wholesomely and not as dealing with just some particular aspects. RWN will integrate different approaches to jointly address the issues of improved health service delivery and poverty reduction by preventing the continued spread and mitigating the effects of HIV/AIDS, advocating for women rights to land, inheritance, and property.

Empowerment and capacity building

RWN considers women empowerment as a process, strategy of increasing the political, social or economic strength of individuals, member organizations, communities and beneficiaries to have: the right/ power to decision-making; access to information and resources; have a range of options to make choices; develop assertiveness in collective decision making; have ability to learn new skills; ability to democratically change others’ perceptions and ability to influence the direction of social change. Capacity building will include:
- Coordinating and building upon existing efforts in RWN to increase the efficiency
- Human resource development as a process of educating, training and equipping individuals with skills and access to information, knowledge and experiences to increase performance;
- Organizational development as a strategy to streamline management structures, strengthen internal processes and procedures, develop/ improve policies and programs and develop a network of donors.
- Building partnerships as a strategy where member organizations willingly come together formally or informally to achieve a common purpose. RWN will support activities and institutions that contribute to achievement of its Strategic plan.
- Extending small grants to help partners increase implementation, coverage, scaling up best practices; improve management, governance, public relations, financial, technical and human resource capacity.

Creation of women safe space

A fundamental component of RWN's work is ensuring the provision of community mobilization spaces for women, including facilitating women through these community spaces to connect with other women on key issues and support each other for collective change.

RWN has rich experience in developing & running community spaces and this approach facilitates women through a process of awareness of rights and support to claim them. These safe spaces are run by women space facilitors who are trained and equipped with facilitation and advocacy skills.


Voluntary Community Participation

RWN considers community participation as a strategy of involving beneficiaries, network members and other stakeholders voluntarily in the process of solving their own problems. Volunteering is a way in which individuals freely give out time and energy to render free services that bring measurable benefits to the volunteer, individual beneficiaries, groups and organizations, communities they work in and is not motivated primarily for financial gain, a wage or salary. RWN has a critical mass of trained community volunteers (peer educators, counselors, paralegals) who play a key role as first line workers in: carrying out HIV/AIDS education, referrals, and basic care for people with HIV/AIDS; campaign for peace and reconciliation, paralegals etc. RWN will continue to recruit, train and conduct refresher courses to keep the volunteers knowledgeable of current HIV/AIDS, Health, SGBV and human rights issues and to galvanize their morale. RWN will partner with organizations that are involved in volunteer and intern placement to tap their expertise and experience so as to reinforce the existing mass of volunteers and facilitating their work in kind.

Rights based programming

A rights-based approach to development promotes justice, equality and freedom and tackles the power issues that lie at the root of poverty and exploitation. RWN will strategically use Rights-based programming to hold people and institutions holding power accountable to fulfill their responsibilities toward those with less power. It will mobilize and support right holders to demand their rights and to be involved in political, economic and social decisions in society. RWN will put pressure on power holders (decision makers) at local and national level to develop and/ or change policies, laws, programmes and budget allocations. RWN will: use the media to raise awareness, monitor and report abuses of power and human rights violations; audit the quality of government services; promote human rights education and use courts (legal/ judicial system) to achieve justice and equality.

Gender mainstreaming

Mainstreaming gender is not just about “including” women and girls, or mere addition of women’s rights elements but contributing to TRANSFORMATION. RWN will under-take to: strengthen the capacity of staff and partners in mainstreaming gender; develop specific gender interventions or programmes that focus on: SGBV against women; Gender and HIV& AIDS; Women’s land rights and Women’s participation in politics (peace and reconciliation). RWN will promote building internal capacity for gender monitoring and evaluation while strengthening the alignment of resources with the gender commitments e.g. tracking budgets, tracking staffing, tracking and analyzing partnerships, and creating networks of exchange and learning that build on emerging experiences both within and outside the organization.

Advocacy and networking

RWN considers advocacy as aimed at changing the status of policies, strategies or programmes. Advocacy is implied as: undertaking research to clarify issues on HIV/AIDS service delivery, women rights to property, inheritance, land and Sexual and gender based violence; providing evidence based information and education to all concerned parties for achievement of equality for rights, access for all to Health/ HIV/AIDS services, liberation from poverty and total enjoyment of peace and freedoms; building partnerships, alliances, networks and coalitions on the issues being advocated for so as to build a collective voice; dialoguing and negotiating with individuals and organizations with contrary views and positions

RWN will focus attention on the power relationships between people, households and authority structures where it will hold duty bearers (power centres) responsible to their obligations by holding regular platform meetings with; local administrations, parliamentary sessional and/ or caucus committees, ministers, law enforcers, judiciary, on issues of Health/ HIV/AIDS service delivery, low status of women, SGBV.