On 24th October, 2018 in Rubavu District , Kanama Sector, the Rwanda Interfaith council on Health in partnership with Oxfam and Rubavu district organised an awareness campaign on ending violence against women and girls. The purpose of the campaign was to raise awareness of Rubavu’s community on the current situation of GBV, existing response to GBV including available services at IOSCs and engage them in the prevention of GBV and support to GBV victims.
The campaign was organized by the Rwanda interfaith Council on Health (RICH) under its project entitled Claiming Sexual and Reproductive Health rights in Rwanda ,in close collaboration with Oxfam Rwanda and Rubavu district .
The campaign was attended by approximately 6,000 People from different sectors of Rubavu District and other guests from UN agencies, local and international NGOs as well as government institutions. It was started by a walk to end GBV from Kanama Sector to Kamuhoza football ground where the event took place.
The welcome remarks were given by the Mayor of Rubavu District who also introduced to the community the distinguished guests who were present in the event including the Executive Secretary of the National Women Council, Representative from Oxfam Rwanda, RICH, UNICEF Rwanda, Rwanda National Police, Rwanda Defense Force, Director General of Gisenyi district hospital, Rubavu District Council Committee, Rubavu District Women Council and other development partners.
The Mayor of Rubavu district offering welcome remarksThe representative of National Police in Western province, RPC Rutinga Rogers gave a presentation on GBV, its forms, perpetrators and consequences on the victims. The RCP informed the community about the recurring cases including rape, conjugal killings, polygamy as well as psychological violence; he presented cases that have been reported in western province and Rubavu district in the last three months of 2018. The RCP concluded his presentation by calling upon everyone to play his/ her role in GBV prevention by sensitizing their fellows to change behaviours that lead to GBV, also reporting GBV cases on time.
The Director General of Gisenyi Hospital, Lt Col Dr Kanyankore William informed participants about services available at Isange One Stop Centers namely psychosocial, medical and legal services to adult and child survivors of gender based violence and child abuse occurring in the family or in the community at large. He reminded community members that it is prohibited to reconcile GBV victims and perpetrators as it is considered as tolerating injustice and thus promoting impunity. He called upon everyone to break the silence around GBV cases, but insisted on the role of the general community in GBV prevention.
Miss Rwanda 2018 Iradukunda Liliane also gave message to her fellow youth that it is very crucial for them to give their contribution in GBV prevention and response. She reminded them the importance of reporting GBV cases on time to prevent related consequences. She said that late reporting could bring girls to getting unwanted pregnancies, risky abortion and other psychological disorders. She recognized the big work done by the Government of Rwanda in dealing with GBV and urged young people to keep away from risky behaviours for better future.
The representative of RICH, Bishop Gapira Faustin expressed gratitude to Rubavu district officials for the good partnership and collaboration throughout the preparation of the campaign. He thanked Oxfam Rwanda for the support given to the Rwanda Interfaith Council on Health to implement the CSRHR project in the six districts. He assured that religious Leaders are committed to play their vital role to fight against GBV through their structures and channels as they reach larger population. He continues saying that they are ready to motivate community to report GBV cases on time and provide support to the victims for socio-economic reintegration.
On behalf of OXFAM-Rwanda Country director, Mrs Eugenie INGABIRE addressed the community thanking everyone for taking time to attend the campaign. She specifically said that Oxfam Rwanda recognizes the effort of Rwandan government and its partners in GBV response.Mrs Eugenie informed participants about the CSRHR project, its objectives, expected outcomes, beneficiaries, location as well as key project partners. Speaking on the objectives of the campaign, she said that it not possible to have peaceful and secured families if we do not fight GBV. She therefore called upon everyone to play their role through sensitizing their communities for behaviour change, reporting GBV cases to IOSC and provide support to victims.
The guest of honour for the event was the Executive Secretary of National Women Council, KAMANZI Jacqueline. In her closing remarks she commended organizers of the campaign for its relevance and contribution to the welfare of families and Rwandan society in general. She said that the event was also part of activities related to the celebration of international day of girl child and national family campaign. She urged everyone to strive for the good of the family to make it a goof environment free of violence of any kind and specifically called upon young ladies and boys to keep away from anything that may expose them to violence and exploitation.Concluding her speech, the guest of honour thanked everyone for participating in the campaign and requested them to share the acquired message with their fellow community members.
In addition to messages from speeches and presentations, there are other messages that have been passed through poems, songs, sketch, (as described by the following images) media and IEC materials during and after event. Through those channels, the artists transmitted messages against Gender-Based Violence. Besides that , the message was spread to larger population through local radio stations, Rwanda Television and popular online newspapers. pamphlets and flyers with GBV messages have also been distributed among participants.