KIGALI - Tomorrow, March 8, the world celebrates 100 years of women achievements in society. The New Times, Rwanda’s Leading Daily, is among several global media outlets that have partnered to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of International Women’s Day (IWD).
Several stories have been collected under the theme ‘Dreams for My Daughter’, introduced by the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood (WRA), an international coalition of 150 countries. WRA’s common goal is to ensure that pregnancy and childbirth are safe for all women and newborns in every country around the world.
The First Lady, Jeannette Kagame is the Patron of Rwanda’s WRA National Alliance.
According to Arthur Asiimwe, The Director General of Rwanda’s Health Communication Centre, Rwanda has registered immense strides in reducing maternal and child mortality rates over the past five years.
“Rwanda’s maternal and child mortality rates have reduced by 60 percent over the past years because a lot of mobilization is done in behavior change to improve people’s perceptions about antenatal and prenatal care as well as efforts to bring health incentives to rural areas,” he said.
Asiimwe added that Rwanda’s government has a strong political commitment to meet the Millennium Development Goal 5 target, to reduce Maternal and Child mortality rates by 2015.
“Through involving women leaders from the top to grassroots, women should be able to have healthy lives, give birth in health facilities, heal after delivery, have healthy children, and be fully aware of their rights,” he said.
In a WRA press statement, Sarah Brown, WRA Global Patron said, “I know in my bones we can win this fight to save the world’s mothers. Just a few years ago, maternal mortality was listed at the heart of the UN Millennium Development Goal target to reduce global poverty, yet was not even on the agenda at international summits. Today it is top of the international political agenda.”
“Women are the heart of our families, communities, and nations. When people raise their voices to demand changes that we know will save mothers’ lives, governments respond.
We need the power of the media to raise awareness and involve people in the movement for change, locally and globally,” said Deborah Clark, Communications Director, WRA US.
“The media is amplifying the voices of people from all walks of life who demand that governments translate promises to action. And, when governments act, they are shining a spotlight on the changes to be made so every woman everywhere has lifesaving care,” Clark explained.
Patrice Mulama, Executive Secretary of the Media High Council said that even though women participation in the media is below 30 percent in Rwanda, sensitization campaigns should be able to encourage them to enroll into journalism practice in order to increase media coverage on gender issues.
“Research has shown that in places where there is gender balance, there is more productivity. The Media High council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Gender Monitoring Office to streamline media coverage of women issues,” Mulama said.