In Depth
Life free from violence

Life free from violence

This page is now archived: last updated May 2019

The Indashyikirwa ('champions of change' in Kinyarwanda) project is a gender based violence (GBV) prevention programme that was implemented in 14 sectors across seven districts of Rwanda from 2015 to 2019. 

It was funded by DFID and implemented by CARE with the Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN) and Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC), and in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

This innovative partnership brings together practitioners and researchers to better understand what works to address intimate partner violence (IPV) and to implement a package of interventions. These interventions are designed to work at individual, family and community levels to shift attitudes, practices and social norms that perpetuate gender inequality and GBV.

One of these interventions is working with couples through a 5-month curriculum designed to help improve the way couples negotiate power in their relationship. Sonia Martins outlines the positive changes and learnings of this curriculum in her blog: Working with couples to address intimate partner violence

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4 lessons for adapting evidence-based programmes – Sonia Martins describes how the Indashyikirwa project tested and improved its method during the programme

Preventing violence against women in Rwanda: what’s in a metaphor? - Ani Lamont explains the importance of including local and situated knowledge in programmes for real and lasting change

Women’s rights are human rights: Marking 20 years of struggle to reduce Violence Against Women and Girls - Written at the start of the Indashyikirwa project, Sonia Martins reflects on both the progress and what still needs to be done to end VAWG

Rwandan men confront male attitudes and challenge gender-based violence - John Plastow writes about the positive changes men in Rwanda have experienced as participants in the programme 

Blogs See all

Solving the Shadow Pandemic: 5 actions needed now to end gender-based violence
Violence against women and girls or gender-based violence (GBV), whether it takes place in the home, in the workplace, in public spaces, schools or communities is one of the most…
5 minute inspiration: Helping women live lives without violence
In the midst of the global pandemic, there lies what the UN Secretary General described as the ‘invisible pandemic’ – gender-based violence – a pandemic that even before rates started…
Sexual Violence Research Initiative: Top 5 trends to help make violence against women and girls preventable
South Africa has some of the highest rates of gender-based violence (GBV) in the world. But it is also at the forefront of global efforts to understand more about GBV…
How Rwanda reduced violence against women by half
“He always came home late and drunk and he often kicked the door open while hurling insults at me and the children. I became such a miserable person.... After a…

Publications See all

Gender-based violence and COVID-19: The complexities of responding to ‘the shadow pandemic’
This CARE policy brief explores the unique factors of the COVID-19 pandemic that increase the risk of gender-based violence for girls and women, particularly in crisis-affected settings. The brief considers…
Women’s space facilitators training module – Indashyikirwa programme
This curriculum attempts to bring together recent learning in the field of gender based violence (GBV) prevention in order to create the most effective programme possible for women’s space facilitators…
Opinion leaders training module – Indashyikirwa programme
This module attempts to bring together recent learning in the field of gender based violence (GBV) prevention in order to create the most effective programme possible for opinion leaders in…
Couple curriculum training module – Indashyikirwa programme
This curriculum attempts to bring together recent learning in the field of gender based violence (GBV) prevention in order to create the most effective programme possible for couples the communities…


You might also be interested in...

Eugenia’s story: the impact of the women’s safe spaces in the Indashyikirwa programme - An important aspect of the Indashyikirwa programme was the setting up of 14 safe spaces for women across all of the intervention sectors in Rwanda. In this blog Eugenia discusses her experience of attending her local safe space

Annette N. Mukiga, project coordinator of the Rwanda Women’s Network, shares her personal takeaways from the Indashyikirwa programme: The Indashyikirwa footprint: Personal reflections from working with an intimate partner violence programme in Rwanda

'The good rain is the rain which falls repeatedly' - a safe space facilitator in the Northern Province of Rwanda shares her perspectives on the impact of the women’s safe spaces

What Works Video: Disability and violence against women and girls - this video looks at projects that are undertaking research into the intersection of disability and gender in relation to VAWG in middle and lower income countries. The Indashyikirwa project is profiled

From hopelessness to happiness: The reflection sessions that changed a narrative in Rwanda - Rachel Kwizera, a Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator for the Indashyikirwa project, speaks to Ndabaruta Beatrice about her experience participating in the couples curriculum with her husband, and the positive changes in their relationship as a result.

Bugesera: Over 40,000 people benefit from anti-GBV programme - local news article on the Indashyikirwa project and participant Assia Kabuto

One man can – Preventing men’s use of violence in Southern Africa - A What Works project led by Sonke Gender Justice engaging men in confronting harmful aspects of masculinity, addressing gender-based violence, and HIV and AIDS

Preventing violence against women and girls through school based programmes - A What Works project led by Right to Play working with children and young people in schools in Pakistan to shift gendered social norms that enable violence

Un Women publication - A framework to underpin action to prevent violence against women

Un Women HeForShe campaign brief


Resources and links

Journeys of Transformation: A training manual for engaging men as allies in Women’s Economic Empowerment a project by Promundo & CARE Rwanda

Raising Voices SASA! approach to community-building

UK Aid What Works Indashyikirwa project page

A process review of the Indashyikirwa couples curriculum to prevent intimate partner violence and support healthy, equitable relationships in Rwanda - journal paper by Erin Stern and Ritha Nyiratunga (LSHTM)

Intersectionalities of formality of marital status and women's risk and protective factors for intimate partner violence in Rwanda - journal paper by Erin Stern (LSHTM)

Research to inform adaptation: An IPV case study from Rwanda - journal paper by Erin Stern (LSHTM)

Love matters: exploring conceptions of love in Rwanda and Swaziland and relationship to HIV and intimate partner violence - journal paper by Allison Ruark, Erin Stern, Thandeka Dlamini-Simelane & Marie Fidele Kakuze

Disability and violence against women and girls report - emerging evidence from the What Works programme finds that women with disabilities are at a two to four times higher risk of IPV than women without disabilities

Working with Couples practice brief by The Prevention Collaboration - explores three projects working with couples on violence prevention in Africa: Indashyikirwa in Rwanda, Becoming One in Uganda, and Unite for a Better Life in Ethiopia.

Sexual coercion, consent and negotiation: processes of change amongst couples participating in the Indashyikirwa programme in Rwanda - journal article by Erin Stern and Lori Heise (Culture, Health & Sexuality journal subscriber only)

Lessons learned from implementing Indashyikirwa in Rwanda - an adaptation of the SASA! approach to prevent and respond to intimate partner violence - journal article by Erin Stern (LSHTM), Sonia Martins (CARE UK), Leigh Stefanik (CARE USA), Sidonie Uwimpuhwe (CARE Rwanda) and Robyn Yakere. (Science Direct subscriber only)

Shifting perceptions of consequences of IPV among beneficiaries of Indashyikirwa: An IPV prevention program in Rwanda - journal article by Lea Liliane Niyibizi (CARE Rwanda) and Erin Stern (LSHTM) (Journal of Interpersonal Violence subscriber only)

The doing and undoing of male household decision-making and economic authority in Rwanda and its implications for gender transformative programming - journal article by Erin Stern, Lori Heise and Lyndsay McLean (Culture, Health & Sexuality journal subscriber only)

Cross-national and multilevel correlates of partner violence: an analysis of data from population-based surveys - a journal paper by Lori L Heise and Andreas Kotsadam