More than 400 heads of all villages and Cells of Nyaruguru District were asked to play key role in promoting gender equality, preventing and responding to Gender Based Violence in all its forms, more particularly child defilement and teenage pregnancy in their respective communities.
The call was made during the workshop that brought together all cell and village leaders of Nyaruguru District on 26 October 2019. The workshop was organized in the framework of the Gender Accountability Day events organized by the Gender Monitoring Office in collaboration of its different stakeholders including public institution, Non-Government Organizations and development partners namely United Nations Development Programme and UN Women.
Message by Governor
In their remarks, different officials who graced the event including the Governor of Southern Province CG Emmanuel Gasana reminded these local leaders that the Government of Rwanda has positioned its people at the center of the desired socio-economic transformation, adding that giving equal opportunity for both men and women, boys and girls is the only way to ensure the desired inclusive development.
‘‘Being a decentralized state, you are the ones that are closer to the people. You should use that opportunity to contribute to the change that Rwanda desires. You must know that both men and women are equal and should be given equal opportunities. Being a good leader starts with that understanding,’’ said the Governor.
‘‘Embrace gender equality principle and help your community residents to know the intention of promoting gender equality and this will bring positive change in your communities without anyone left behind,’’ added the Governor.
Statistics show that the number of females is still low at the local Government level, especially at cell and village levels compared to that of males.
Situation is Changing
Commenting on this status, different village leaders said that the low number of females at this level is linked to historical background where there are some females who still fear to participate in politics and that some of the community members who are still reluctant to vote for women in some positions, however, the situation is currently changing.
‘‘The situation has changed and we, women have got confidence to present our candidacies for leading in our villages. We have known that what a man can do, even a woman can do it,’’ said Athanasie Niyivuga, a Rutega village leader in Cyahinda Sector.
In addition to tipping them on their role in promoting gender equality and family cohesion, cell and villages leaders were also tasked to prevent and respond to issues of Gender Based Violence, especially child defilement and teenage pregnancy, child defilement and Human Trafficking.
Child defilement is a crime
‘‘Child defilement is a crime that is punishable by the law. You should not keep quite when there is a criminal who defiles a child. You must report it on time. Avoid any tendency to solve it through negotiations between families, because it is a serious crime that should be only handled by the justice,’’ urged the Governor.