Rwanda’s Isange One Stop Centre could have been, until now, only making victims of gender-based violence and child abuse ‘feel at home’ but the influence looks likely to spread further in the globe in the coming years.
This comes after the Interpol General Assembly that closed in Kigali yesterday recognised the effort of the holistic approach as an example of best practice for preventing and responding to gender-based violence and child domestic abuse.
Isange is a Kinyarwanda word that means “Feel at home” and the one-stop centres, now 17 in all across the country, are intended to complement national efforts in responding to gender-based violence.
Interpol secretary-general Jürgen Stock said the Isange centre’s multi-agency approach to deliver a unified service is a model not just in dealing with gender-based violence and child abuse, but for all types of crime, and Rwanda is to be commended for this innovative and effective programme.
This underscores the reason several governments from the continent have been sending delegations to examine the workings of Isange centres and report their findings with a view to replicating the ideas in their country.
Inaugurated in 2009, Isange One-Stop Centre had turned out to be one of the hallmarks of the current government’s efforts to create a society and a country where equality for all is given utmost attention.
In just six years, the days when wife battery, forcing women into marriage, denial of rights to inheritance based on gender and child abuse are looking things of centuries past. But the real face of Isange centre is how it operates.
Isange is a specialised free-of-charge referral centre where victims of gender-based violence and child abuse can find comprehensive medical care, psychosocial support, police and legal support, and collection of legal evidence.
Indeed, like Gender and Family Promotion minister Oda Gasinzigwa said, gender-based violence is one of the global threats that hinders sustainable development and is the most extreme expression of unequal gender relations in society.
This means that the Isange centre model, seeing as it espouses close working with police, sector, cell and village leaders, hospitals and health centres, should be replicated in countries where leaders are looking for the best approaches to tackle GBV challenges.
Isange centre is a testimony of good governance and its recognition should spur leaders to advance more such approaches to alleviating challenges to social, economic and political transformation.