Local Media practitioners have gained knowledge on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights legal framework in order to deliver harmonized messages on safe abortion.

The training that was prepared by Ihorere Munyarwanda Organization (IMRO)Rwanda in collaboration with Health Development Initiative (HDI), Rwanda NGOForum on Aids and Health Promotion and the Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights and Development (GLIHD) has on its first session gathered 15 journalists from different media houses with the aim to deliver harmonized messages on safe abortion.

The two-day training started on May 17, 2021 and was concluded on May 18, 2021, having over 30 journalists trained in two sessions to comply with Covid-19 prevention measures.

Aimable Mwananawe, IMRO National Coordinator mentioned that this training will increase awareness of media professionals on the current legal framework on access to safe abortion and family planning status in Rwanda.

Aimable Mwananawe, IMRO National Coordinator/ Photo by Elias.H

“We wanted to further capacity of different institutions and we started to train Civil society organizations on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and now is the round of media, journalists are the important workforce to Rwandan society to quickly spread the information to the entire community so, we decided to equip them with the knowledge on SRHR on both technical and legal frameworks on safe abortion so that they are enabled to report accurate and evidence-based information.” Mwananawe noted.

He said that the existing advocacy is emphasizing on adolescents so that they grow up knowing the rights and legal provisions on safe abortion.

Emmanuel Mugisha, the Executive Secretary of Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) who participated to this session as a trainer said it is vital to equip journalists with knowledge on the legal framework for them to report on such sensitive SRHR topics.

Emmanuel Mugisha, the Executive Secretary of Rwanda Media Commission (RMC).

“Having media professionals equipped with accurate information on SRHR and the fight against GBV will enable a good flow of information to the public.” Mugisha said.

Mugisha reminds Journalists especially those working on You Tube Channels to abide by professional ethics while reporting on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights.

One of the objectives of this training is to increase public awareness of women’s need for safe abortion, in order to increase public understanding and support.

The Rwandan law provides that a woman is allowed to terminate a pregnancy of up to 22 weeks under 5 conditions that include the pregnancy being a result of rape, forced marriage, incest, or if the mother or baby are at health risk.

Slightly over a year after Rwanda changed the law on abortion, the number of women seeking to carry out the procedure appears to have increased.

Erphase Karamage, the in charge of Reproductive Health, Maternal and Child Health at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) said one of the existing gaps in Sexual Reproductive Health Reporting consists of biased information.

“Journalists need to increase efforts in communicating the law on abortion so that Rwandans get to know its rationale”.

Nooliet Kabanyana, Executive Secretary of Rwanda NGOs Forum on AIDS and Health Promotion urged journalists to be strategic in their daily news reporting by not intruding privacy while informing the community about safe abortion.

Nooliet Kabanyana, Executive Secretary of Rwanda NGOs Forum on AIDS and Health Promotion./Elias.H

“Media help us to fast track awareness and mobilization of existing laws to better inform the community.” She said.

Dr. Anicet Nzabonimpa, health researcher and reproductive health expert warns adolescents to not try unsafe abortion as this can definitely affect or terminate their lives.

Dr. Anicet Nzabonimpa, health researcher and reproductive health expert.

At least 17,849 teenagers were impregnated across the country in 2016, 17,337 teenagers were impregnated in 2017 while 19, 832 teenagers were impregnated in 2018 — and from January to August 2019 alone, 15,656 teenagers were impregnated.

The recent Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey, sixth of its kind, shows that reproductive health education and teen pregnancies are still an issue among the youth.

The survey published by the Rwanda National Institute of Statistics (NISR) found that the rate of teenage pregnancies and births in Rwanda is at 5.2 per cent, having decreased from 7.3 per cent in 2014 to 2015.

Trained Journalists with Officials posing for a group photo./Elias.H



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