The Rwandan Government has done a lot in promoting the right to education; for instance, the Rwandan Government has ratified a number of treaties granting the Right to education, it has also put in place a number of policies and laws to consolidate its commitment towards inclusive and quality education. The education sector strategic plan is focus on eliminating gender disparities, ensuring the relevance of education in relation to market demand as well as the quality of Education. The Government of Rwanda has put in place various fora like the Development Partners Meeting, The Development Coordination Meetings (DPCG), Sector Working Groups (SWG) and Joint Action Development forum, where planning and monitoring of the education policies and programs are carried out. However, utilization of this space by local CSOs is insignificant. The engagement of REFAC and its members in these fora and in influencing government policies has been limited due to a number of factors. Most CSOs in Education sector are focusing on service delivery and policy engagement is not among their priority; Secondly, the capacity of CSOs to take advantage of this space is very low; thirdly, lack of information by REFAC members on how and where to engage as well as what to contribute.
Despite of all these challenges, the participation of REFAC and its member as representatives of the most vulnerable communities in monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goal 4- 2030 development agenda and in influencing education policies at large is still imperative in ensuring accountability and transparency in the execution of education programs to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4) education agenda. The involvement of CSOs is also critical to ensure that Government commitments towards SDG 4 are realized, but more importantly to ensure that those that are most in need and are affected by education policies, their voices are heard. REFAC’s engagement through existing networks is very crucial to ensure the fulfilment of all commitments to education financing are realized, that the government is allocating the agreed upon budget share to the education sector, and that commitments related to official development assistance (ODA) and commitments made by developed countries on achieving 0.7% target of gross national product (GNP) for ODA to developing countries are realized. Therefore members of REFAC need to change their sport lights towards policy advocacy.
Realizing the deficiency in its advocacy interventions and that of its members, REFAC has decided to reinvigorate its advocacy programs in the education sector. In order to achieve its advocacy ambitions, REFAC and its members need a pro- active and sustainable engagement in policy development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. This calls for strategic partnership with the Government of Rwanda for collective action in contributing towards sustainable development in the education sector by realizing the global aspirations in SDG4 education agenda and within vision 2020, Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy II (EDPR II) and the education sector strategy. However, this will only be possible if REFAC members are organized into an efficient policy group to analyse policies and provide viable recommendations that will improve education policies and programs. To achieve this, REFAC is establishing policy thematic groups and their sub-committees as the practical means of leveraging its mandate through analysing education policies and the national budget, critically and sensitively to ensure that the most vulnerable groups benefit from the government’s endeavours.
It is against this background that REFAC is organizing a capacity building workshop for its members on Education policies, techniques and tools of advocacy to achieve the following objectives:
1. Building the capacity of members on education policies at national and global level;
2. Strengthening the capacity of members in techniques and tools of advocacy;
3. Exploring the functioning of ESWG and entrance points for REFAC members;
4. Validation of the REFAC advocacy strategy
5. Establishing of Policy thematic groups
Date and Venue: 18th -19th of October 2017 at Classic Hotel Remera- Sonatube