Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF), Western Province Administration, Karongi District Administration and its residents commend Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC) for its significant role in the fight against polygamy and Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Karongi District.
It was expressed in the official conclusion of a five-year prevention+ programme that has been carried out by RWAMREC in the district of Karongi.
The project whose achievements were handed over to the district for follow up and sustainability contributed to creation of a gender-just society by transforming harmful social norms that drive GBV; and ensured that these changes are rooted in a legal system that supports them.
Residents of Karongi District say they are experiencing a positive step towards fighting polygamy and reducing GBV in the region through the Prevention + programme carried out by RWAMREC, the organization striving for the Advancement of Gender and Integrity and Combating Sexual Violence.
Thomas Ntigashira, a resident of Nyantwa village in Bigugu cell in Rwankuba sector, one of the alleged perpetrators of sexual harassment, says that polygamy and Gender Based Violence (GBV) have greatly decreased where he lives.
“We have been discussing this issue frequently on family evenings (the so-called parents’ evening), which has led to a sharp decline in the practice of polygamy, and GBV, consequently” he says.
“The issues of polygamy and GBV in Karongi will soon be a history because of the education provided by RWAMREC,” proudly said Mukase Valentine, the district’s vice-mayor in charge of social affairs.
She also confirmed the decline in polygamy and recognized that the increased knowledge and skills for Parents Evening Dialogue committee members to handle cases of GBV in the community are contributing in the reduction of related complaints to local authorities.
Achievements are tremendous and appraisable
RWAMREC Executive Secretary Fidel Rutayisire says that the programme increased understanding of men working with their wives as partners with equal participation in household decision making on property use and management.
“Thanks to Prevention+ programme, men and women are sharing domestic activities in the respective households, healthy relations are increased and domestic violence between couples are reduced”, he adds.
Ntigashira, the resident argues that only in the village of Nyantwa where he lives, 190 out of 191 families legalized their marriages due to a campaign by RWAMREC through the Prevention + project.
Some other achievements include mutual respect and healthy partnership between girls and boys at secondary schools, improved living conditions in families, change of attitudes and behaviors of men now acting as role models to change their peer, to name just these.
Households were made to come together for striving for their economic growth.
Thomas Ntigashira affirms that recognizing the value of the cooperation of husband, wife and children in the family has contributed to the development of his family.
The Permanent Secretary in the MIGEPROF, Ms. Ingabire Assumpta, on her side, argues that the issue of polygamy is serious, followed by family violence, and until a man kills a woman or a woman kills a man. It is also found that households with these problems are in dire need.
“As you have seen, the project has strongly emphasized the principle of equality and the fight against violence but through all their programs on family evenings. When the participating families hear the intended conversation, women and men feel their role in building a strong and secure family, feel the role of everyone in the development of their home, it is difficult for a man who has already heard the principles of gender to go to prostitution, to say he wants other women because he already knows what it means to build a healthy and wealthy family,” said PS Ingabire.
She goes on to say that building a family requires a man and a woman to work together in everything, to consult and work together to make decisions that promote their family. She, therefore recommend Karongi district to sustaining the achievements.
The project (Prevention +) began its work in 2016 and officially ended on Thursday, October 22, 2020. Implemented by RWAMREC in collaboration with Promundo and Karongi District, it aimed at building a Rwandan society that promotes the principle of equality and combating sexual violence, changing attitudes towards gender-based violence.
Some of the activities of the project include encouraging men to attend parents’ evenings, training evening committee members, training 12,000 couples, and a total of 122,000 people and 64 youth groups for change (youth for change) in high schools.
The organization has worked with local institutions including family evenings, helping to build families with peace and development, and training young boys and girls to change attitudes at a young age. They have also helped boys and girls to raise awareness about reproductive health.