Never Again Rwanda has five departments that include; Peacebuilding, Governance, Human rights, Economic empowerment and Research and advocacy. However research is the backbone of most of NAR’s activities. Odeth Kantengwa from the research department spoke Peace Insight’s Sonia Tona about the important of her department. Below are the excerpts
Tell us about the research department of NAR?
Research at NAR plays a unique and cross cutting role, all on-going activities in other departments of NAR like governance, peace building, human rights and economic empowerment are fed by research this can be in terms of activities or findings. It is on the basis of these findings that we promote evidence-based advocacy and this enables NAR’s various stakeholders to make informed decisions.
What is the relevance of this department to NAR's work?
This department has been in existence for nearly three years. The research findings we have carried out created more visibility for NAR as an organization mostly with its stakeholders. We don’t just conduct research but we also engage different players including government institutions. For example when the Ministry of Local Government endorse our work, we are able to project our research findings indicating what has been established. Where there is gap we suggest recommendations on how these issues can be tackled.
After you carry out the research, how do you utilize the findings?
First of all the findings enable NAR to know how its various programs are being implemented and the challenges that still emerge and any possible solutions to addresses them. We base this on actual facts on the ground. NAR uses participatory action research (PAR) methods to identify key challenges to peace and to reinforce the importance of public participation as a foundation for effective decision-making and good governance. This research gathers citizen priorities that will guide advocacy efforts to inform politicians of citizens’ needs and help to improve public policy.
Can you sight some significant examples?
For example ‘Societal Healing In Rwanda: A Mapping of Actors and Approaches” focused on healing. The second research was carried out in the governance and human rights department and it was titled, ‘Governing With And For Citizens: Lessons From Post Genocide Rwanda’. We have carried out a number of studies in different programs of the organization but the former research study stood out and with its findings NAR emerged as one of the leading organizations that are working on healing.