Putting Families At The Forefront Of The Battle Against Gender-Based Violence

Thousands of people, comprising religious leaders, government officials, international and local NGO representatives, students attended an awareness campaign organized by the Rwanda Interfaith Council on Health (RICH) in partnership with Oxfam Rwanda at Kibingo playground, Ruhango sector in Ruhango district.

This awareness campaign has begun with a walk against Gender-based Violence starting from Ruhango city center to Kibingo playground.

Photo: March against GBV

Addressing almost 7000 participants, Executive Secretary of Ruhango sector, Jean Bosco Nemeyimana, welcomed guests in Ruhango; and urged citizens to fight Sexual and Gender-Based Violence starting from their families.

Gender-Based Violence is a societal issue that demands urgent efforts to address the root causes of sexual gender-based violence, and this work must start from our families.

As a religious organization, RICH is committed to use the religious denomination to fight all forms of GBV, to prevent GBV before it happens. Apart from that, RICH also works in partnership with the government’s institutions and other partners across multiple sectors.

In his remark, Bishop Dr. Gahungu Bunini, member of the RICH board of directors; lauds government’s efforts to eradicate sexual and gender-based violence; promises that RICH will continue to collaborate with all partners and stakeholders to end GBV in our country.

Photo: Bishop Dr. Gahungu Bunini/RICH board of directors

GBV denies the human dignity of the individual and hurts human development; they are largely rooted in individual attitudes, culture, behaviors that condone violence within families and the community. GBV crimes such as sexual, physical, psychological abuse cause terrible consequences on families.

GBV crimes are no longer a hidden crime; they are happening out in our communities, and they should be no excuse for inaction in the face of these abhorrent crimes. Survivors and people at-risk need tangible support closest to where they live. Efforts have been made by the government to encourage the victims to report through initiatives such as Isange One-Stop center, where the victims are supported medically, psychologically and offered legal aid.

Despite all efforts initiated by the government to eliminate GBV and promote gender equality; Gender-Based Violence is still a widespread problem in Rwanda. It is affected largely the young girls at an unprecedented level.

To push further these efforts, this campaign was meant to increase awareness of available services at Isange One-Stop Center.

As part of a response to GBV; GBV officer at Gitwe Isange One-Stop Center, Tharcisse Musabyimana explains to citizens to services available at ISOC in a case of sexual abuse; he encourages people to immediately seek help to Isange One-Stop Center to increase chances of preventing sexually transmitted diseases; he added that Isange One-Stop Center also offered legal help through a direct collaboration with the Police, Rwanda Investigation Bureau.

In her remarks, Oxfam Representative, Eugenie Ingabire, indicated that the main focus of the campaign was to raise awareness on Gender-Based Violence; draw attention to issues related to GBV like teen pregnancies.

Photo: Eugenie Ingabire/Oxfam-Rwanda

Mrs. Ingabire highlights that the campaign is part of a larger project titled: “Claiming Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights in Rwanda” which focuses on preventing SGBV, building the capacity of ISOC and social Economic Reintegration of the GBV victims.

Under this project, the most vulnerable victims are helped to get vocational training to empower them and economic reintegration.

Photo: Valens Habarurema, Mayor of Ruhango district

The campaign also had a call to families at the forefront of the fight against Gender-Based Violence. The call was made by Ruhango District Mayor, Valens Habarurema; he urged citizens to carry the messages to their families.

The message was als disseminated through entrertainment channels (drama , songs , poems), this helped getting the attention of all category of the population

Photo: All categories of people could be found in the attendance