CSOs in Justice and Human rights rejoice excellent collaboration with gvt institutions

CSOs in Justice and Human rights rejoice excellent collaboration with gvt institutions

By Safi Emmanuel

Civil Societies Organizations which focus their activities on justice and human rights celebrate excellent relationship with government institutions in terms of curbing the issues that affect negatively the citizens.

Testimonies were shared by different members of CSOs, who attended the training organized by Ihorere Munyarwanda Organization (IMRO) in 11 districts across the Country, through a three year project “Strengthening Rwandan Civil Society Organizations’ Capacity to Influence Policy in Justice Sector”.

Unlike previous years, currently CSOs are considered to be the best partner of public institutions rather than being seen as “critics” of government’ weaknesses and hurry to report to their donors.

According to Charlotte Mukandugutse, policy and legal advisor at IMRO, this project, which is at the endline was initiated to identify justice sector CSOs by showcasing and timely report their activities which result the elimination of “mistrust between CSOs and Government that was persistent and hinder the sustainable socio-development of the citizen, who, both CSOs and Government declare to serve” She said.

She went saying that, the main objective of the project was successfully achieved during these three years.

Identifying CSOs, eliminating mistrust among CSOs and government, enhancing CSOs coalition as well as increasing capacity building of CSOs in justice and human rights were their main concern while initiating the project.

According to Mutaganda Fabien, a consultant on the role of CSOs “ No outstanding socio-development can be achieved without the inclusion of CSOs, Government and Private Sector, the trio is the major sectors towards development once, each of them plays its role effectively and efficiently, these are three pillars that should always stand together, once one is weak or does exist,  citizen’ development cannot be attained” He urged the participants while training them on how to conduct an effective advocacy.

The major role of CSOs is to monitor government actions and provide for advice, empowering and educating citizens in decision making and ensuring service delivery to citizen is effective.

Nsengumuremyi Aphrodis, Director of Irere Urere Organization in Muhanga District said that, lack of coalition among CSOs is a big challenge, though he welcomes public institutions’ efforts in strengthening and collaborating with CSOs.

“The District frequently support us in action planning, the challenge comes in when each organization implements their own activities which result duplication of works. This training helps us to understand the role of coalition while carrying out advocacy which also reduces the loss of budget which can be spent on duplicated activities” He said adding that,

“I appreciate this training as now I am equipped with the skills of how to conduct effective advocacy, because sometimes we could fail to reach our goals due to lack of basic knowledge of how to analyze policy brief and position paper, which are the main tools to take into account while preparing advocacy-related activities”

Frequent issues that affect citizens, according to CSOs members include; lack of awareness on their rights, land disputes, domestic violence, and poor service delivery, among others.

Jane Umutoni, Vice mayor of Rwamagana District in charge of Social affairs recognizes the achievements made through IMRO project.

“We appreciate IMRO with their coalition by initiating this activity, CSOs are non –governmental organizations but support government, we recognize that.  Not only do they help us to know some issues and problems of our citizens, and not only do they help us to identify them but also, they support us in seeking for solutions” She said during a press interview.

According to Umutoni, CSOs criticism should not be taken as a negative compliment, rather, it should be considered as the best approach of correcting adjusting the problem.

“ Our view is that, once CSOs criticize something inappropriate, they want to seek for solutions, they reach out to the community, if they notify us on unsuitable issues, it is our duty to correct them” She added.

Jane Umutoni, Vice mayor of Rwamagana District in charge of Social Affairs.

The project  “Strengthening Rwandan Civil Society Organizations’ Capacity to Influence Policy in Justice Sector” was initiated in 2018 and ends in 2022 thanks to the coalition of Ihorere Munyarwanda, Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights Development (GLIHD), Health Development Initiative (HDI) and Rwanda NGOs Forum for HIV and Health Promotion (RNGOF) which the best example of strength of coalition.

Some of the challenges faced by CSOs include; lack of self-identification as duty-bearers, poor understanding of CSOs on their advocacy and service delivery roles, unclear monitoring and evaluation mechanism of the CSOs from MINALOC down to the District level, to mention few.

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