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Peter Caton

Fidelity Brief for Adapting Indashyikirwa

Using the experience of implementation in rural Rwanda, this brief guides organizations to adapt and refine the Indashyikirwa Couples Curriculum for their own contexts and populations. It can also be used – for example by donors – to analyze whether adaptations are staying true to the essential features of the original program.

The Couples Curriculum is one part of the Indashyikirwa program to prevent and respond to intimate partner violence (IPV). It comprises 21 participatory sessions with male-female couples who have been married or living together for at least six months. The Indashyikirwa Couples Curriculum is designed as a sequential journey of change for both participants and facilitators, with each session building on the next.

Organizations are encouraged to bear their contexts in mind: consider social and gender norms, frame the content within national laws and rights, and ensure appropriate and comprehensive translation if needed.

The brief describes and gives examples of six key design elements of the curriculum:

    1. Work with couples
    2. Maintain the power framework
    3. Emphasize learning, applying and practicing skills
    4. Use a benefits-based approach
    5. Maintain sexuality content and focus on sexual consent
    6. Have an explicit next step after the curriculum ends

The brief highlights four key implementation elements:

    1. Allow enough time for the journey of change
    2. Engage quality facilitators and support them
    3. Support and monitor the safety of couples
    4. Pilot the adapted curriculum

Indashyikirwa was implemented in seven districts across 14 sectors in the Eastern, Northern and Western provinces of rural Rwanda from 2014 to 2018, which included a 14-month inception period. An evaluation of the Couples Curriculum in these settings revealed a 55% reduction in the odds of women reporting physical and/or sexual IPV and a 47% reduction in the odds of men reporting having perpetrated physical and/or sexual IPV.