Sexual and gender-based violence cases could drop further with new efforts being undertaken by government and the World Bank Group.
The joint effort follows the signing of a $15 million (about Rfw10 billion) deal in Kigali yesterday.
The funding will provide integrated health and counselling services as well as legal aid to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the country.
The financial agreement is part of a$107 million regional project, the Great Lakes Emergency SGBV and Women’s Health Project, approved by the World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors on June 28, to Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, and the International Conference to the Great Lakes Region to help survivors of gender-based violence.
Amb. Claver Gatete, the minister for finance and economic planning, said government is committed to ensuring that gender-based violence is routed from the country.
“Rwanda remains committed to fight sexual and gender-based violence to ensure that it is drastically reduced and that victims access appropriate services that would help free them from all forms of violence and discrimination,” Amb. Gatete said during the signing ceremony in Kigali.
According to the minister, the project will support delivering an integrated package of short and medium term assistance to survivors of SGBV at both community and health facility levels through scaling-up Isange One-Stop Centre.
The project will support strengthening six of the existing nine centres and establishing 17 new centres in several districts across the country as per the National Scaling-up Strategy, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, Henriette Umulisa, said.
Carolyn Turk, the World Bank country manager, said the Bank is impressed with Rwanda’s efforts to combat gender-based violence.
“The developmental impacts of sexual violence are high and require an integrated approach to support some of the most vulnerable populations in the Great Lakes region as well as Rwanda,” Turk said.
“This Project is the first IDA operation of the World Bank Group to support comprehensive services for survivors of sexual violence in the Africa region.”
The Great Lakes Emergency SGBV and Women’s Health Project will directly benefit more than 29,000 women and girls in the country, while supporting and complementing the ongoing efforts from the Rwandan government and its partners, Turk added.
The government, in partnership with various stakeholders, established the first Isange One-Stop Centre at the Police Hospital in Kacyiru, Kigali, in 2009.
The centre offers a wide range of services to help victims of gender violence, including medical, psycho-social, forensic and legal services.
THE CASE FOR ISANGE CENTRE
One of the first cases reported to Isange One-Stop Centre concerned a mother who discovered that her 14-year-old daughter had been repeatedly raped by the girl’s guardian. N
ot knowing where else to turn, the mother contacted a UN programme officer who in turn referred her to the Centre’s hotline.
Here, the violence-affected woman or girl has the chance to have her case be investigated - and perpetrators of violence to be persecuted.
In 2006, the Centre investigated 1,777 rape cases, referred by Rwandan police, resulting in 803 convictions. Staff also helped to ensure evidence was available for court proceedings.