The Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN) made history by being among the winners of the inaugural Avon Communications Awards at the 2nd World Conference of Women’s Shelters that ended on March 1, 2012 in Washington, D.C.
The conference, organised by the Global network of Women’s Shelters and the US National Network to end Domestic Violence, discussed the innumerable ways that women are victims of domestic and gender-based violence, including how the problem could be addressed.
The Avon Communications Awards for Speaking Out About Violence Against Women provided some of the major highlights at the conference by recognizing award-winning campaigns against gender-based violence on women.
The Rwanda Women’s Network won the “Break The Silence Award” with their poster depicting domestic violence, while calling upon the community to take responsibility by responding to the problem.
“This recognition tells us that we are doing the right thing, and we are indeed encouraged to continue the struggle until women live in a world free of violence,” said Mary Balikungeri, RWN Director and Founder, when accepting the Award.
The Award, which was in four categories, is an initiative of the Avon Foundation for Women whose Ambassador is the actor Reese Witherspoon. The four categories included Storytelling; Innovative Campaign; Break the Silence; and Global Excellence in Communications.
A citation on the impact of the award winning poster shows, “… a man physically abusing a woman with children witnessing the assault, and a neighbour running to her rescue demonstrating that violence against women is a societal problem and encouraging community responsibility and victim assistance.”
Rwanda Women’s Network is a national humanitarian non-governmental organization dedicated to promotion strategies that empower women. The organization works with survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, victims and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), as well as other vulnerable groups including poor and vulnerable women, children and people living with HIV/Aids.
Balikungeri expressed her gratitude to the Avon Foundation, and its partners on the particular campaign project, the One UN (UNAIDS and UN Women), the women and communities working with RWN for making it possible.
The RWN is a previous recipient of two other international awards; the 2007 UN-Habitat Dubai International Award and the 2006 UNDP/UNAIDS Red Ribbon Award.