The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) regional director for East and Southern Africa, Dr. Julitta Onabanjo said that Rwanda’s clarity and the political will in addressing Gender Based Violence and Child Abuse is worth emulating by countries within the region.
She made the remarks, yesterday, at Rwanda National Police (RNP) General Headquarters, where she held a meeting with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Emmanuel K. Gasana, and also toured the Regional Centre of Excellence on GBV and Child Abuse and Isange One Stop Center.
Dr. Onabanjo was accompanied by Mark Bryan Schreiner, UNFPA Country Representative and several officials.
“We commend Rwanda for the efforts put in place to end Gender Based Violence and Child Abuse. The UN has partnered with the Government of Rwanda on several grounds to put an end the vice. Covering the region of 23 countries, I can benchmark how well Rwanda has responded to address these challenges,” said Dr. Onabanjo.
In her observation after visiting the Regional Centre of Excellence on GBV and Child Abuse and Isange One Stop Center, Dr. Onabanjo said: “Indeed, I have seen a coherent vision of what is being done here and how it has been implemented through a number of partners and institutions working together with communities.”
She added that responding to GBV, one has to start with preventing it and that it starts with individuals and communities not only understanding their rights but fundamentally being able to address those rights.
On what Rwanda can offer the region, Dr. Onabanjo said: “The clarity in Rwanda’s direction, the implementation of the multi-sectoral approach, and the ability from the top most level informs other levels on how best to refine the programmes and the scale of sustainability, and this is a good lesson to learn from.”
At the Regional Centre of Excellence on GBV and Child Abuse, Dr. Onabanjo was received by the centre’s Executive Director, Chief Supt. Lynder Nkurunga.
The centre is a continental comprehensive system put in place by African security organs for the collection, management and sharing of information and best practices related to gender-based violence (GBV).
The center also host the Kigali International Conference Declaration (KICD) secretariat and coordinate its activities, as well as serve as a centre for capacity building, advocacy data collection, information exchange and documentation of best practices.
While visiting the main Isange centre at Kacyiru District hospital, Dr Onabanjo was given an insight into the idea behind its establishment and services offered.
Isange, which started in 2009 as a pilot project, offers free psycho-socio, medical, legal and counseling services to victims of GBV and child abuse.
Under its scale-up programme, Isange, which offers all services for free, has so far been established in 44 other hospitals across the country.
Supt. Shafiga Murebwayire, the coordinator of Isange centres, said: “We do a lot of things to ensure that a victim gets all the required services. We give them medical services through which we also get evidence to strengthen the judicial process against the culprit, and give them counseling to ensure that a victim is fully rehabilitated and gets justice.”
Isange, loosely translated as ‘feel at home’, is run by Rwanda National Police with other partners including the ministries of Health, Justice, and Gender and Family Promotion.