Last week, a Non Government Organisation (NGO), Rasea Des Femmes, organised a two-day training for over 100 women in Musanze district, on how to fight gender based violence against girls especially nursery and primary school children.
Among the resolutions which were taken after the work shop was to set up anti-gender based violence clubs-SARA, in schools and different sectors where members would discuss the causes of child abuse and how to deal with it.
However, it should be noted that our social-cultural setting dictates that ‘women are confined to doing domestic work, be submissive to men and to bear children.’
It is against this background that women have for centuries been denied equal competition with men-and this escalates gender violence.
Women are a driving force in families and nations, yet their significance is highly compromised right from home due to culture. Whereas boys are given priority, girls’ rights are always violated.
Our entire patriarchal society dictates that when resources in families become scarce, the priority is given to boys, whether it is school fees, or support of any kind, leaving girls to ‘stay at home’
Just like Rasea des Femmes’s role, there should be continuous campaigns to enable families overcome the cultural mentality still embedded in people’s minds. Violence against women exists in schools, families and at work places across a large spectrum of the society.
Twenty nursery school teachers who participated in the workshop, committed to set up anti gender based violence clubs in their schools and to spearhead the awareness campaign.
They promised to take other teachers on board in assessing how, when and why gender based violence occur.
Whereas Rwanda is an agro based economy, farming in rural communities is an activity carried out by women, they are required as a social obligation, to feed the families and spare a few excess for sale.
Socially, a man is the bread winner with responsibilities ranging from supervising the family, going out for local meetings, meeting with other men in the evenings and being a head of the family.
During the workshop, participants were challenged to adopt the fight against gender violence in their family performance contracts.
The third Millennium Development Goal, which aims at empowering women, should be enforced, civil society organisations ought to embark on fighting gender violence, through continued advocacy.