KIGALI - Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Wednesday commended the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) in its fight against gender-based violence and promised more support to the cause.
Ines Alberdi said this during a visit to the RDF headquarters, adding that her organisation is prepared to give the technical and financial support to the RDF.
“It’s my first time in the world to see a committed military chief who supports gender campaign and take his time to fight gender based violence, we shall support them technically and financially,” Alberdi noted following his meeting with RDF Chief of Defence Staff Gen James Kabarebe.
Alberdi had met Kabarebe to discuss different programmes involved in fighting GBV within the armed forces and encourage women participation in the force.
“We have been criticised by some people that we have a few numbers of women in our force but our philosophy is not numbers but quality women in the armed force who are equipped and able to have the same trainings and opportunity with their male counterparts,” Kabarebe said during the meeting.
He added: “We encourage women to join our force and we do that through sponsoring them to access education. After they join the force, we send them back to school,” Gen Kabarebe reiterated.
UNIFEM provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies to foster women’s empowerment and gender equality.
“I am impressed by the RDF’s programmes. We shall not only support them technically, we will see other areas where finance is needed,” Alberdi stressed.
According to Kabarebe, RDF forces have helped Sudanese women by escorting them as they do their chores and also taught them to make economical stoves that are fabricated locally which relieved them of the stress of finding fire wood and protect the environment.
Meanwhile, UNIFEM has helped the RDF gender desk by providing them with four cars and three motorcycles which help desks staff to reach out to all provinces in sensitisation and mobilisation campaigns.
RDF gender desk has managed to create GBV clubs in all cells of the country.