With a view of improving livelihoods of women in the region, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM yesterday signed a cooperation agreement with the Economic Community of the Countries of the Great Lakes Region (CEPGL) to promote this cause.
The agreement was signed during a ceremony that was held on Thursday at the UN headquarters in Kigali.
In her remarks, the Regional Director of UNIFEM’s Central Africa office, Josephine Odera, highlighted that this agreement will help ensure that gender aspects are included at all stages of planning.
“It is good to join forces for the purpose of a harmonised and coordinated regional approach to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
“As CEPGL launches regional development initiatives, it is important that woman’s priorities and needs are fully mainstreamed, allowing them full participation in the economic, social and political life,” she said.
The high level delegation from CEPGL led by the Executive Secretary, Ambassador Gabriel Toyi, assured their full support as regards to this new cooperation.”
“We intend to use UNIFEM as a technical advisor on various projects that we intend to implement in a bid to boost women’s lives. In Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), women are faced with so many challenges.
“Over 70 percent still live in poverty while many suffer from sexual and gender-based violence among others. We will undertake various activities to solve these problems thus empowering women in the region,” the Director in charge of Investment in CEPGL, Joseph Lititiyo Afata, told The New Times.
Afata also said that unless problems like these are addressed, sustainable social, political and economic development in the region will not be quickly achieved.
CEPGL is a regional organization founded in 1976 with a mission to promote economic integration and cross border cooperation among member states of Burundi, Rwanda and DRC.