International agencies: What is their contribution to the future of Inclusive Education in Rwanda?

This paper draws on two case studies, a UNICEF funded child-friendly school project, and an EU/ADDRA funded inclusive education project, to reflect on the contribution and capacity of international agencies to influence community transformations in relation to inclusive education development in Rwanda. It investigates whether the innovation fund launched jointly by DFID and the Rwandan Ministry of Education, is sufficiently nuanced to capture such community dynamics. This paper to reflects on ways of working internationally and, in particular for Rwanda within a changing socio-political environment dominated by development agencies. It argues for the need to acknowledge and enlist local resources, to develop and sustain inclusive education in post-2015 Rwanda.

In Rwanda however, two things seem to have been attributed to the successful development of IE:

1. A commonly shared and indigenously perceived strategic stance of all partners,

2. Deliberately open and mutually-supportive collaboration network involving civil society agencies; public services and the local community actors.

Indeed, where similar projects have failed disastrously, or where they have only been sustained during the project funding period), there is evidence of a lack of emphasis on local perceptions and ownership. The collaboration between HI and the RFDIER has continuously taken heed of this crucial ingredient, drawing along the strengthening government and local community capacities wherever possible, as a means of assuring continuity. To develop successful inclusive education projects is guided by patient and innovative assessment of what works best for the target group, grounded in a locally informed foresight of how to get there with the minimum setbacks.

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