GATSIBO — Three NGOs have launched a campaign to reverse the spread of HIV/Aids in Gatsibo District.
The NGOs, Care International, Rwanda Women Network (RWN) and Forum des Activistes contre la Torture (FACT) on Tuesday officially launched their project dubbed ‘Communities Allied Against Violence and AIDS (CAVA) in Nyagihanga Sector.
The project co-sponsored by the European Commission and Care UK has got a two and half years mandate to carry out its interventions.
Marie Mediatrice Izabiliza, the CAVA project manager told The New Times in an interview that their project aims at addressing the socio-economic and cultural root causes of HIV/AIDS and gender violence in Gatsibo.
She noted that they have chosen Gatsibo district because different researchers have named Gatsibo as the district with the highest incidences of physical violence against women in the Eastern Province.
The project will operate in four sectors of Kiziguro, Murambi, Muhura and Nyagihanga.
The project manager said the key interventions would include; organising vulnerable members into groups to form Village Saving Loans(VSL), and training peer educators The peer educators [teachers and students] would be used to sensitize their peers and the larger community on the prevention of gender violence and HIV/AIDS.
According to Izabiliza, the project will establish CAVA committees at the grassroots level whose members, together with local leaders will design the necessary strategies.
It will also apply an integrated mechanism called community based and participatory approaches-using social interaction and analysis to identify common root causes of HIV/AIDS and gender based violence among communities.
Under the arrangement, Izabiliza said local authorities and members of other institutions like police and local defence will be trained on HIV/AIDS, violence and human rights to supplement their work force.
The project seeks to economically empower about 70 per cent of women vulnerable to their areas of intervention through the VSL scheme.
"We shall help these people to access loans from local banks like Bank Populaire. Our staff will guide them on the necessary procedures of accessing loans. We want to uproot poverty in the communities since poverty is one of the causes of gender based violence in our communities," Izabiliza told the audience.
The head of the European Commission delegation, Ambassador David MacRae, called upon all women in the district to always report cases of violence encountered to the responsible authorities if they are to curb the vice.
He added that they should share ideas on how to solve the problem in their respective communities.
Dr. Charles Ntare who represented FACT, reaffirmed their commitment to work together in sensitizing youth on issues of gender based violence.