Gender equality: Premier calls for more efforts

There is need for concerted efforts in pursuit of gender equity at all levels so as to achieve the country’s development agenda, the Prime Minister, Anastase Murekezi has said.
Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi awards best performing girls in last year's national examinations during the national Women's Day celebrations in Ngoma District yesterday. (Courtesy)
Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi awards best performing girls in last year's national examinations during the national Women's Day celebrations in Ngoma District yesterday. (Courtesy)

There is need for concerted efforts in pursuit of gender equity at all levels so as to achieve the country’s development agenda, the Prime Minister, Anastase Murekezi has said.

The Premier made the remarks during celebrations to mark the International Women’s Day, in Ngoma District, Eastern Province, yesterday.

The day was marked under the theme; “Let’s strengthen performance contracts in development.”

“There is good will in ensuring gender equity. We can only achieve sustainable development through ensuring gender equity,” Murekezi said.

The premier noted that efforts to empower women should not be left to leaders alone, but every citizen should take it upon themselves if gender equity is to be visibly evident in the country.

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Women sing during celebrations to mark International Women’s Day in Ngoma District yesterday. 

Rwanda has ensured gender equity in all governance policies, including budget allocation as well as ensuring gender sensitive provisions in national constitution. However, the challenges are still many, he said.

He reiterated government’s commitment to ensuring gender equity, noting that; “everyone wins when women interests are put on the forefront.”

The Chairperson of National Women’s Council, Beatrice Mukasine, challenged women to take advantage of the existing policies to move ahead.

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Imbuto Foundation Director General Radegonde Ndejuru talks to one of the girls during the awarding ceremony. 

“Women should be at the centre of development; fighting human trafficking, fighting drug abuse, taking students to school, and good feeding in families. This will lead to family promotion and national development in the long run,” Mukasine said.

Mukasine noted that child birth-rate per family has reduced from six children to 4.5 children per family, reiterating that the journey is still long to ensure desired family planning policy of having at most three children per family.

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Prime Minister awards best students during the celebrations yesterday. 

The UN Resident Coordinator, Lamin Manneh noted that, even though there’re lots of gender related challenges to be “urgently tackled” on the global scale, Rwanda has a lot to recommend in terms of ensuring gender equity.

Rwanda has 64 per cent of parliamentary women representative, [compared to the average 21 per cent of female legislative representation for the rest of the world], Manneh noted, while 40 per cent of women occupy Cabinet in Rwanda.

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Residents enjoy maize during the celebrations

Yesterday’s celebration coincided with the 20th anniversary of Beijing declaration and Platform of action; the world’s roadmap for promoting gender equality and empowerment of women.

“We can see a strong commitment by the government in its vision of gender equality and ensuring stable and strong families in the country, which we applaud,” Manneh added.

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Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi (R) gives a cow to Egidia Nirere during the International Women's day celebrations in Ngoma District yesterday.

The International Women’s Day is celebrated annually, on March 8.

This year’s celebration in Rwanda has been used to evaluate performance contacts signed by women at district and sector levels during last year’s celebrations.

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Women listen to speeches.

Under the new contracts signed, yesterday, women committed to ensuring good feeding of children, hygiene in the homestead, fighting prostitution, ensuring that children attend schools, supporting fellow vulnerable women, resolving domestic wrangles and helping women street vendors get permanent stalls in established markets.

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School girls who were awarded by Imbuto Foundation.

“Women should do everything possible to reach their performance contracts for Rwanda’s economic transformation,” PM Murekezi urged.

“Let’s help one another so that our children can have food at school and also have girls attend school. Through this, we will reach our development goal.”

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Women sing during the celebrations.

The national Women’s Day celebrations also had a particular focus on the tenth edition of the presentation of awards to the best performing girls in national examinations by the Imbuto Foundation under the annual Girls Education Campaign.

Yesterday, 40 top performing girls received awards from the Prime Minister while a total of 420 primary and secondary school girls will be recognised countrywide, over the next few weeks.

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Women demonstrate their skills in riding bicycles

Championed by the First Lady Jeannette Kagame, the promotion of Girls’ Education Campaign consists of publically awarding girls who have excelled in national exams by giving scholastic materials, ICT training and funds to create savings accounts. Imbuto Foundation recognises over 400 girls countrywide annually.

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Mutimawurugo group march during the celebrations

The campaign was initiated in 2005, to motivate girls to perform well in school. Since then, over 3,800 girls have been recognised for their excellence while 156 have received IT essential training.

“Rewarding girls will have a bigger multiplier impact and encourage them to work hard,” Manneh said.

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Mothers’ Union group marches during the celebrations.

With 97.5 per cent rate of access to basic education for both boys and girls, Rwanda ranks high on the African continent in that respect which is one of the main pillars towards achieving Millennium Development goals.

Clarisse Mukete, 19, a student at Groupe Scolaire Cyambwe in Ngoma District said that, “parents should be supportive to the girls’ dreams for them to be able to overcome traditional gender stereotypes, gender based violence and poverty.”

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Women dance during  celebrations to mark International Women's day in Ngoma District yesterday. (All photos by John Mbanda)

Physically impaired Egidia Nirere, who completed high school last year, said “learning by her experience, no girl should feel any hindrance towards achieving their dreams.”

Nirere who studied Mathematics, Economics and Computer Science, was among 38 vulnerable women warded a cow by the National Women’s Council and Ministry of Gender and Family promotion yesterday.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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