INCLUDE Platform

Barriers to Batwa inclusion in Rwanda

Investigating structural barriers to Batwa Inclusion in Development

Historically a hunter-gatherer community, the Batwa are the most vulnerable social group in Rwanda. This community has been marginalized in Rwanda with respect to education, housing, health, labour and property ownership (including access to land). Land and resource grabbing by  members of other communities (Hutu and Tutsi) have aggravated Batwa exclusion. This research project is investigating why in spite of official acknowledgement of Batwa vulnerability, attempts to remedy Batwa marginalization have not so far succeeded  The key research hypothesis is that the framing of Batwa identity by a variety of actors at the local, national, regional and international levels constitutes a barrier to Batwa participation in development processes and plays a determining role in their persistent marginality and disempowerment .

The research methodology consists of analyzing the complexities of societal disadvantages based on the perceptions of the Batwa identity itself and, rather than coming up with a pre-structured list of needs, the interviewees are able to (re)define categories of opportunities and support to tackle marginalization. This is the first time that this approach − the so-called dynamic public reflective equilibrium method − will be used to analyse issues related to group-based exclusion. The research consortium will engage with the Batwa population and with strategic actors (community leaders, government officials, international actors and NGOs) using a layered set of structured interviews with the aim of collecting perceptions of how both Batwa population and strategic actors about the steps they feel are required to facilitate inclusive participation.

Knowledge will be shared with the ultimate target group, namely the Batwa, through its involvement in all stages of the research and with a broader set of actors through several workshops. The research consortium will also produce a documentary.

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  • Communauté des Potiers du Rwanda
  • Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace

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