By A Correspondent
The Umugore Arumvwa (The Woman Is Listened To) Project started in 2013 and is implemented by Rwanda Women’s Network in partnership with CARE Rwanda, with financial support of the European Union, in fie Sectors in Gatsibo District, Eastern Province.
The main objective of the project is to strengthen citizens’’ voice, as well as networks of civil society organisations, and hold local authorities accountable in the prevention and addressing issues of Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
In Gatsibo District, some of the major issues on gender-based violence include wife battery and rape, with battery of women mainly arising from misunderstanding within families, especially on utilization of land and other family property.
“The underlying concept for the project is that all citizens have the responsibility and duty to speak out and raise their voices against gender-based violence,” explains Mary Balikungeri, Executive Director, Rwanda Women’s Network.
The project employs the innovative score card process, in which communities identify GBV issues affecting them and present to their local leaders – service providers – to address. The citizens and service providers use indicators and keep a score on how the issues are being resolved, or the importance the leaders are giving the issues of concern. The citizens and service providers regularly “inter-face” by coming together to discuss the different scores. This leads to joint action plans to address the issues.
One of the outcomes of the project, according to Uwimana Immaculée, Coordinator, National Women’s Council, Kageyo Sector, Gatsibo District, “has been breaking the silence on GBV in the com-munity – the coming out and speaking in public about the forms of violence previously hidden in homes by both women and men.”