Gender based violence is still a widespread problem in Rwanda; it is a complex problem, since some of its roots are enshrined in our cultural and belief based practices creating gender inequity, thereby fueling gender based violence. As a result, GBV negatively impacts the society, the economy and families. In fact, gender based violence affects all of us. Therefore, everyone is indebted to contribute to eradicate GBV. However, the sensitization should focus on the youth to ensure the young generation understand and promote values and principles of gender equity for the present days and the future to come.
To contribute to these efforts, Rwanda Interfaith Council on Health (RICH) has trained agents of change in order to join forces against GBV. These trainings have been given to targeted group of people including members of cooperatives (such as farmers, motards, taximen..), private sector, youth, university students , women associations and forums.
In the meantime, members of Cooperative Intambwe Motard (CIM) operating in Huye district; who have been trained as agents of change, have met to re-evaluate the work, to discuss their challenges they have met, and find together new approaches.
In this meeting, they also discussed on gender based violence, gender equity, their role in eradicating GBV. After, sharing their experience, it was unfortunately observed that motorcycle taxi operators are still among those who commit a lot of sexual violence. Regarding this, they have concluded that the journey is still long to eliminate GBV in our society.
For example, there were 522 unwanted pregnancies among girls between 10-18 years registered in 2012 in several schools countrywide.
The biggest perpetrators of sexual violence which leads to unwanted pregnancies were older men, commonly referred to as sugar daddies, teachers, and motorcyclists. Therefore, motorcyclists engaged to be an eye for their colleague and to be active in the community, it is an important asset to prevent and eradicate GBV.
RICH District Coordinator, Edith Kayitesi who was attending this meeting, urged motorcycle taxi operators to take the message to their colleagues and families.
While lauding RICH for its efforts in eradicating GBV, CIM president Athanase Hakizimana reminded motorcyclists promote gender equity starting in their families. He urged them in case one suspect either a colleague or a passenger of being involved in a GBV crime, they should report to the Police immediately because the security of Rwandans is everyone’s responsibility.
At the end of the meeting, Motorcyclists committed themselves to increasingly report wrongdoers including those who violate rights of women, girls, and children, but also to mobilize their colleagues and neighbors against GBV.