The National Women’s Council (NWC) yesterday, officially, opened the “16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV)” in Kigali.
It kicked off with a peace march from Kacyiru roundabout to Amahoro National Stadium and a women soccer game between the government and the Civil Society
The campaign is an international drive originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.
The launch of the campaign coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It will conclude on December 10, International Human Rights day.
NWC president, Francesca Tengera, said this year’s theme is, “Peace in the home, to peace in the world; Lets challenge militarism and end violence against women”.
She said that during the 16 days, a number of activities will be carried out in a bid to raise awareness against GBV because some people are still ignorant of their rights, which leads to a rise in cases of violence.
Tengera said that there would be sensitisation campaigns in communities and schools to teach the public about the various forms of gender based violence and how to avoid and deal with it.
“We have various activities in several districts and from the grassroots, to sensitise Rwandans about gender based violence so as to reduce its plight,” Tengera said.
She called for a change of mindset among those who still believe that women are inferior to men, hence reserving the right to physically and psychologically abuse them.
Tengera, however, noted that there was a growing trend of women abusing men, but for fear of ridicule or ignorance of the law, such cases are unreported.
The head of Transparency Rwanda, Marie Immaculee Ingabire, said there were GBV committees at the grassroots level to the issue.
She also confirmed that no new strategies were implemented in the past 16 years but rather existing ones were reinforced coupled with raising awareness.
Ingabire, who is also a gender activist, urged men and women to comply with the law and respect each other and realise that none is more dominant than the other.