The Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC) is undertaking a campaign to change the mindset of young men and women as part of efforts to end gender based violence through Boys 4 Change clubs in all 55 secondary schools of Karongi District.
Under the project Prevention+, the programme seeks to address the root causes of gender-based violence: the social, economic, religious, and cultural contexts that shape attitudes.
The Prevention+ approach intervenes at four levels of society: individual, community, institutional, and government.
By doing so, the programme seeks to ensure long-lasting impact, and to transform the mutually reinforcing social and structural factors that support gender-based violence and allow it to persist.
Chrystel Intaramirwa, the project coordinator, explained that the Karongi-based project creates Boys for Change clubs in each secondary school made of 60 people including 30 females and 30 males who meet once in week to discuss gender issues.
She says that the groups are assisted by the school based staff trained by RWAMREC.
The training includes equipping staff with necessary tools and know-how to interact with young and adult men, women, and couples in a manner free from discrimination and bias.
“The project’s actual target is the youth and through Boys 4 change clubs approach, that means that young men and women participate in comprehensive gender-based violence prevention programmes that, at an early age, young men and women, begin discussing together how to think and talk about gender equality, sexuality, and non-violent relationships,” she told The New Times.
She added that at the beginning of the project the clubs only included male students but later decided to include girls as well.
This, she said is because gender-based violence occurs most often in the context of relationships, and prevention requires a collaborative effort.
Prevention+ is a five-year multi-country programme that envisions a world where healthy, respectful, and equal relationships are the norm.
Apart from Rwanda, Under Rwamlec management, the project is active in Indonesia, Pakistan, , and Uganda, as well as in parts of the Middle East and North Africa region.