Rwanda begins events to mark 16 days of women empowerment programmes

The National Cluster in the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion along with its partners in Rwanda has organized a series of advocacy activities to celebrate  “The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence” beginning today to 10th December.

The National Cluster in the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion along with its partners in Rwanda has organized a series of advocacy activities to celebrate  “The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence” beginning today to 10th December.

The 16 days of activism against gender violence were enacted as UN observed days since 25 November in 1981, in Rwanda, the National Gender Cluster in a communique to the press stated that they have organized major activities to honour the day.

These include educational workshops to increase sensitization of government structures like Gacaca, Land and Labour Laws, and the gender based violence bill.

The Cluster with partners including UNIFEM, Profemmes, and civil society organizations will also be showcasing the success story of two couples that have managed to overcome extreme cases of gender based violence, the couples will give their testimonies across rhe cocuntry.

The Cluster will further coordinate debate sessions in all institutions of higher learning in the country to increase awareness of the need to abolish gender based violence.

This year’s theme “Human Rights for Women-Human Rights for all”, according to the gender cluster is part of on going efforts to raise awareness and call for action against all forms of Gender Based Violence.

Observers and academicians note that much as Rwanda continues to be a model country in promoting women empowerment in Africa and the world, as evidenced by the virtue of the country having the highest representation of women in national and local legislative sectors than any other country in the world.

Rwanda also remains with many lessons to learn in gender promotion as it recovers from the fatal effects of the 1994 Genocide where scores of women were raped and alot more exposed to the most brutal punishment by especially the Interahamwe community vigilantes. There are many of the victims of this terror in Rwandan society.

In line with gender promotion in security forces, the Rwanda Defense Forces with help from the United Nations’ Development Fund for women recently established the Gender Desk, the desk is a component of the RDF’s programme to combat sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) both in Rwanda and within its peacekeeping missions.

MIGEPROF officials added that the 16 days of gender activism are also celebrated along with other important days in the UN awareness calendar. These include, December 1st as International AIDS Day, to take the opportunity to highlight issues related to the inter-section between HIV/AIDS and Violence Against Women, particularly sexual violence.

A document from the cluster reads in part; “..This campaign aims not only to raise awareness about Gender Based Violence issues and compel communities, government and other stakeholders to act to prevent violence, but to show the relationship between GBV and the violation of fundamental human rights, exposing the social, health, and legal ramifications of GBV. It also serves as a capacity building opportunity for women, encouraging them to speak out against SGBV and demand accountability for the protection of their rights.”

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