Gender Analysis Workshop and Forum in Rwanda

The importance of integrating gender into HIV programs and policies was the focus of a Rwandan workshop and a related regional forum held in August 2012.
Gender Analysis Workshop and Forum in Rwands

 “Vote with Your Feet” exercise to discuss how beliefs about gender roles can carry over to professional life.

The importance of integrating gender into HIV programs and policies was the focus of a Rwandan workshop and a related regional forum held in August 2012.

A national workshop in Kigali, called Know Your Epidemic from a Gender Perspective: Using Existing Data to Illuminate the Effects of Gender on HIV Status and Response in Rwanda, highlighted how HIV-related data can be analyzed from a gender perspective to ensure that services and programs better meet all individuals’ needs. The workshop disseminated results from a gender analysis of existing HIV data at the national level and introduced a new set of indicators that will appear in a guide being planned by an international collaboration.

Also held in Kigali was a forum on the use of gender data in subnational decision making. Delegates from Botswana, Zambia, and eight Rwandan district health teams attended the forum for developing a practical approach to gender analysis. This approach involved integrating related recommendations into an action plan for conducting this analysis.

20 Rwandan government leaders, HIV program managers, and others attended the national workshop. Participants represented the Rwanda Ministry of Health, Rwanda Biomedical Center-Institute of HIV/AIDS, Disease Prevention & Control (IHDPC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Joint United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). MEASURE Evaluation led the workshop with support from IHDPC, USAID, and UNAIDS.

Rwandan government officials and HIV program stakeholders plan to increase gender data and indicators in the next Rwanda National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS. Examples of proposed changes include disaggregating more indicators by sex and adding more gender-sensitive indicators, such as one measuring recent intimate partner violence in Rwanda.

The forum led participants through a series of interactive exercises to build a common language around gender terms and concepts. Forum leaders provided teams with data packets—tailored to the Rwandan districts in attendance—that contained graphs and data tables reflecting HIV-related services for men, women, boys, and girls by health facility. These packets were used to identify gender gaps, the gender norms that may cause or explain these gaps, and how these gender norms can serve as opportunities or constraints for achieving health program objectives. This analysis was then translated into action plans, new interventions, or modifications of existing services.

The Botswana delegation included representatives from multiple government agencies, who worked together to integrate gender analysis into the country’s health programs. The Zambia delegation examined how to involve district-level teams in the interpretation of gender-based data and apply recommendations to local health programs.

Abby Cannon of MEASURE Evaluation, who helped plan the workshop, noted how gender issues can be examined through gathering and analyzing sex-disaggregated data to highlight differences between women and men. For example, instead of program implementers looking at the total number of people receiving HIV services, looking at the separate breakdown of women and men who receive HIV services will reveal any gender disparities that may exist.