Faith Victory Association (FVA) in partnership with Action Aid Rwanda officially launched the Speak Out and the Amplify Change Projects on 18th September 2018 at Umubano Hotel in Kigali. The Speak Out project also referred to as “Addressing sexual and reproductive health rights and gender based violence in Rwanda” is funded by UK Aid while the Amplify Change Project also referred to as “strengthening the effectiveness of women organisations’ advocacy to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights and to fight gender-based violence” is funded by Amplify Change. The Speak out project is being implemented in Nyanza, Karongi, Gisagara and Nyaruguru districts by FVA and the Rwanda Girl Guides Association in partnership with Action Aid international Rwanda. The Amplify Change project is being implemented by FVA and Action Aid in Musanze, Karongi and Gisagara districts. The launching ceremony brought together representatives from national and international non-governmental organizations, Gender Monitoring Office (GMO), the police, UN Women, DFID, religious leaders, Vice Mayors from the districts of project implementation among others.
During the launch, the Country Director of Action Aid Rwanda Ms Josephine Uwamariya expressed her gratitude to the stakeholders for their support in advancing the rights of women. She thanked the government for putting in place a strong legal and policy framework for supporting women. She noted however that there are gaps that exist and that stakeholders need to join hands to address violence and SRHR. She urged all stakeholders to own the initiatives that address GBV and SRHR and to take the responsibility to monitor what is being done.
The DFID representative in charge of the social development portfolio acknowledged the progress that has been made in promoting the rights of women and girls but also admitted that challenges still remain including engagement in unpaid care work and limited opportunities for girls and women living with disabilities. She noted that the UK Government is keen to support actions that eliminate barriers to Girl’s and women empowerment, eliminate violence against women and girls, promote girl’s education and economic empowerment. She expressed optimism that the projects will address existing GBV and SRHR challenges and called on all partners to work together towards the realization of the project outcomes.
The Vice Mayor in charge of social affairs in Nyanza district Ms Umutesi Solange who was also the chief guest noted that GBV and SRHR are government priorities evidenced by the policies that have been put in place. The Vice Mayor stressed that the good policies need to be implemented with support from several stakeholders including civil society actors. She noted that the government will work with CSOs to close the existing gender gaps. The Vice Mayor officially launched the two projects and pledged the government’s support in promoting SRHR and GBV prevention.
The Executive Director of FVA MR Willy Mwanafunzi in his remarks noted that FVA and its partners are committed to addressing violence and SRHR issues in the communities and called upon partners to support our initiatives. He noted that FVA will work closely with the local leaders in addressing violence and SRHR. He also pointed out that FVA has stationed focal persons in the districts of project implementation to ensure that FVA is closer to the project beneficiaries. He thanked Action Aid and the donors for the strong collaboration in addressing the existing GBV and SRHR issues.
The Speak Out and Amplify Change Project managers at Action Aid briefed the participants about the key components under each project. For the Speak Out project, the project manager noted that the 4 year project (2018 – 2022) will train girls on SRHR, women’s rights, leadership, create safe spaces and offer support networks. The project will also support the creation of clubs, conduct advocacy, conduct radio spots and engage with boys and men to shift social norms.
With regards to the Amplify Change project, the 2 year project (2018 – 2020) will build the capacity of 15 women rights organizations to conduct effective advocacy on SHRH and GBV policies and services. The project will also build a strong network of women’s organizations to engage on SRHR and GBV through campaigning and policy dialogue.
The launching ceremony strengthened collaboration between government line ministries and stakeholders and ensured a common understanding on project outcomes and sustainability. The participants pledged to support FVA, Action Aid and the Girl Guides Association in achieving the project goals.