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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 has proved effective for preventing and reducing violence in the home among couples and their children, especially when combined with CARE’s VSLA model.

Women and their families experienced positive benefits across many areas of their lives, and this is helping them to be more resilient to challenges.

“Though we are in tough times, but we try to eat well and be happy. For those who didn’t attend the training, you find them fighting due to the meals cooked, but for us who attended the training, we share the little we have.”
– Olive, Indashyikirwa participant

Partnership and adaptation

The original Indashyikirwa project was implemented in Rwanda by CARE, the Rwanda Men’s Resource Center (RWAMREC) and the Rwanda Women’s Network with the support of the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) via the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Global Programme.

The Indashyikirwa model is now being adapted for use in countries including Syria, Lebanon, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

CARE is convening a Community of Practice for adaptors to share learning.

See the full list of Indashyikirwa program resources.

Lasting impact

The couples who joined Indashyikirwa are experiencing lasting benefits years later.