Training of Agents of change, champions and SGBV victims on SRHR, GBV prevention approaches and available services at IOSC. this 21st September 2018, the Rwanda Interfaith Council on Health (RICH) closed the trainings of agents of change, champions and SGBV Victims to engage them in GBV prevention and response . These trainings are under RICH ‘s interventions through its project named Claiming sexual and reproductive health rights in Rwanda funded by the Scottish Government through Oxfam-Rwanda.

These Trainings targeted 200 SGBV victims, 250 Agents of change and 400 champions from all 6 districts supported by the project namely : Rubavu, Nyabihu, Huye ,Ruhango, Muhanga and Kamonyi. They were conducted successfully from end August to end September, 2018 with a participation of 100% of the targeted trainees .

The purpose of these trainings is to equip the agents of change, champions with knowledge and skills on women’s SRH right, existing gender and SRH laws, SGBV and care and support to victims of SGBV in order to increase their role in raising community awareness for positive change in social attitudes and norms as well as on available services for SGBV victims.
RICH also conducted trainings of SGBV victims  on women’s SRH rights, existing Gender and SRHR as well as SGBV prevention approaches. These trained agents of change and Champions have a big contribution to the project as they are sensitizing their respective communities on the prevention of SGBV and raising their awareness on different services offered by Isange One Stop Centers to the victims.

To ensure that the community get the message about GBV prevention and support to SGBV victims RICH collaborate closely with key stakeholders that include MIGEPROF, the Ministry of Health (MOH), Rwanda National Police (RNP), Local Authorities and District Hospitals. The above mentioned, together with the trained agents of change and champions, address the gaps related to attitudinal change, by calling out against patriarchal norms and other practices which promote the Gender based violence.

Towards the goal of this project of eliminating SGBV and contributing to socio-economic reintegration of SGBV victims through community members, RICH trains agents of change and Champions selected from different categories of community platforms including youth and women councils, religious organizations, cooperatives, private sector and schools. The common characteristics they share is that they are all with high esteem and willingness to bring about change in the community members as they can easily communicate with them without reservation.

Photo: Mr. Eric Willy Uwimana, Program Manager at RICH giving remarks during the training in Kamonyi district

During the trainings of SGBV victims on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR), GBV prevention approaches and available services at Isange One Stop Center (IOSC), they were encouraged to rise above the despair and other consequences of the violence they encountered. They were also encouraged in calling out against SGBV and to give advice to their agemates and youth on how to prevent SGBV but also on available response mechanisms such as Isange One stop center. Additionally, to the trainings provided to the victims, RICH shall also follow up these victims and assist them in their socio-economic reintegration in the society

Photo: Mme. Ingabire Eugenie from OXFAM explaining the expectations that the project has on agents of change and champions.

In the 6 districts where these trainings were conducted, the local authority appreciated RICH’s efforts to advocate for all , most importantly to advocate against the Gender based violence which is still a major issue hindering the development of women and the country in general.
In his opening speech, the director in Charge of good governance in Rubavu district invited the agents of change to continue their advocacy for women’s rights because as the Rwandan proverb goes: “Ukurusha umugore aba akurusha urugo”. He reminded the agents of change that the fight against SGBV has still got a long way to go as there are still a lot of people who have misperceptions about their rights hence can commit SGBV unknowingly or accept to live under it without reporting it.

Mrs Marie Grace UWAMPAYIZINA ,Rubavu district’s vice mayor in charge of social affairs reminded the champions that it is their duty to sensitize the community in the prevention and response against SGBV using the knowledge they were given from these trainings but also their influence, eloquence and knowledge.

IP Innocent MUSABYIMANA, the in charge of community policing in Muhanga reminded the trainees that they should give updates to the community on the laws and penalties against SGBV: they are clear and all people should abide by and respect them in order to ensure security for everyone but also in order to eradicate the SGBV.

Mr Epimaque Munyakazi, the Director in charge of good governance in Kamonyi district said there are several SGBV problems that among the complaints and problems they receive at district level. There are still several cases of gender based violence which has many consequences such as unwanted pregnancies, poverty, conflicts and other consequences. He encouraged the trained agents of change and champions to keep up the good practice of volunteerism by raising the community’s awareness on SGBV prevention and in the reintegration of the SGBV victims in the society

At the end of the trainings, the trainees appreciated RICH and OXFAM’s initiative of engaging them to call out against SGBV at community level. They reported that SGBV is indeed present and there is an urge to fight it because Gender Based Violence is a violation against Human rights. In closing their trainings, the Agents of change and champions also committed more involvement in the prevention and response to SGBV through the action plans that they drafted. Each action plan was made of activities which they can do at community level in this fight against SGBV.

Photo: Champions from Rubavu district

Photo: agents and champions from Ruhango district after the training

Photo: Agents of change and champions from Kamonyi district