Indashyikirwa - Reducing Intimate Partner Violence in Rwanda - CARE


The Indashyikirwa project worked with couples to reduce intimate partner violence and improve the wellbeing of survivors in selected communities in seven districts of Rwanda. It also aimed to strengthen the evidence base for community prevention and response for GBV.


CARE has implemented Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) to support women’s economic empowerment in Rwanda for many years. However, an assessment found that many women were not fully benefiting from the program due to household gender inequalities. In some cases, men controlled the functioning of the VSLA groups even without membership. In others, women VSLA members suffered backlash – sometimes violent – from their husbands as they were seen to be challenging gender norms by engaging in income-generating activities outside the home.


Indashyikirwa used CARE Rwanda’s VSLAs to recruit participants. There were four key components:

  • Intensive participatory training with couples (couples’ curriculum)
  • Community-based activism led by individuals who had completed the couples’ curriculum and received additional training
  • Direct support to survivors of intimate partner violence through women’s safe spaces
  • Training and engagement of opinion leaders

The program was implemented in 14 sectors across seven districts in the eastern, northern and western provinces of Rwanda, in predominantly rural, dispersed communities.

Program achievements

The Indashyikirwa couples’ curriculum had dramatic effects:

reduction in IPV experienced by women

reduction in IPV experienced by women

reduction in self-reported perpetration of IPV by men

reduction in self-reported perpetration of IPV by men

The importance of Indashyikirwa

The Indashyikirwa couples’ curriculum is an innovative and effective tool for preventing and reducing violence in the home among couples and their children, especially when combined with CARE’s VSLA model.

Indashyikirwa utilized an adapted version of the evidence-based SASA! model:

  • START: Individuals and communities begin thinking about GBV issues.
  • AWARENESS: Raise awareness of how communities accept men’s use of power over women.
  • SUPPORT: Support women, men, and activists involved in GBV prevention.
  • ACTION: Take action with the community to prevent GBV.