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GlobalPost Examines Country Ownership In GHI Rwanda Program

As part of its special report “Healing the World,” GlobalPost examines country ownership within the Global Health Initiative (GHI). The news service writes that Rwandan Health Minister Agnes Binagwaho told GlobalPost that a GHI focus on gender-based violence in Rwanda was a “curious” decision, which “[s]he said … wasn’t a priority and no one had asked her if that fit in with the national plan.” According to GlobalPost, “U.S. health officials in Kigali said they were only following Rwanda’s lead in their choice of programs.” “‘To choose gender equality reflected the fact that they’ve done phenomenally well in making it a priority,’ said Nancy Godfrey, GHI field deputy for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Rwanda. ‘Our focal area comes directly from the national gender policy … Rwanda’s national gender policy. So we didn’t make it up,'” GlobalPost writes.

According to the article, “Analysts say the Rwandan example illustrates a sometimes-contentious issue in U.S.-funded health programs everywhere: Who really controls the direction of GHI? If it is the United States, why then, are U.S. officials pushing country ownership?” Binagwaho said she accepts the GHI focus on gender-based violence, but “she still believes she knows best how to spend American taxpayer dollars,” according to GlobalPost. “‘I want more trust,’ she said. ‘It’s all a concept of new development. If we do good for our population and we can do more with your money, let’s trust us and let’s do it,'” the article notes (Branch, 9/23).