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Empowering Communities through World Contraception Day Celebration

Ihorere Munyarwanda Organization (IMRO) recently marked the International World Contraception Day (WCD) with a series of impactful activities aimed at raising awareness and promoting access to contraception. WCD, celebrated annually on September 26th, focuses on empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health, advocating for family planning, and enhancing the availability of contraceptive methods.

Pre-WCD Activities: Building Momentum

Leading up to the celebration, IMRO spearheaded various initiatives to amplify the message of WCD within the Rwandan community. These initiatives included the production of visibility materials such as T-shirts, files, and promotional materials with the National Theme and related messages. Additionally, IMRO organized radio and TV spots to announce and promote the WCD celebration, engaging with popular channels like RBA (TV & Radio) and its community radios.

A robust social media campaign was also launched on Twitter and the official website, utilizing the hashtag #WCD2023 to maximize reach and engagement. These efforts set the stage for the main event and ensured that the message of family planning and contraception reached diverse audiences.

Celebration Activities: Building Healthy Communities

Under the theme “Build Healthy Communities and Sustainable Development through Promoting Contraception Use,” the celebration unfolded with an opening address by the Mayor of Nyamasheke district. The Mayor highlighted the challenges faced by the district, emphasizing the importance of improved health standards and increased accessibility to contraceptive services. The Mayor expressed gratitude to President HE Paul Kagame and acknowledged the support of various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), UN representatives, and partners in advancing healthcare in the region.

Speakers Advocate for Family Planning

Various representatives and leaders from different organizations delivered insightful speeches during the celebration. The overarching message emphasized the vital role of family planning in fostering healthier lives and sustainable development. The challenges of low family planning utilization were attributed to the limited availability of contraceptives, prompting a call to examine regulations hindering adolescents’ access to family planning methods.

Closing Remarks: A Unified Call to Action

The event concluded with the Director of Health for Nyamasheke district expressing gratitude for the collective efforts and encouraging continued support for family planning. The importance of comprehensive information on family planning and the need for increased awareness were highlighted. The Director officially closed the event, emphasizing the essential role of health in overall development.

IMRO extends sincere thanks to all participants, speakers, and collaborators for their contributions to the success of the World Contraception Day celebration. The organization remains committed to advancing reproductive healthcare and building healthier communities globally.

Transformative Training on Safe Abortion Empowers Medical Doctors & Healthcare Professionals

In a significant effort to advance reproductive healthcare, the International Medical Relief Organization (IMRO) organized a groundbreaking Values Clarification and Attitudes Transformation Training for Medical General Doctors Practitioners on Safe Abortion. This four-day training, held at the Grand Legacy Hotel from November 28th to December 1st, 2023, aimed to equip medical professionals with a profound understanding of safe abortion and its crucial role in reproductive healthcare.

Purpose of the Training: The primary goal of this training initiative was to provide 21 medical general doctors practitioners from various hospitals and 5 staff members from consortium members (IMRO, HDI, RNGOF, GLIHD, Strive Foundation Rwanda, and MDFC) with a clear understanding of safe abortion and its importance in reproductive healthcare. The training focused on disseminating information on the human rights perspective of abortion, dispelling myths and misconceptions, and promoting an understanding of the legal and policy frameworks surrounding abortion. The ultimate objective was to increase tolerance and reduce stigma among staff members towards those seeking abortion services.

Opening Ceremony: The event commenced with a warm welcome from Rosine Izabayo, representing Aimable Mwananawe, the Executive Director of IMRO. Melina Gaju served as the moderator for the training, emphasizing the importance of acquiring and applying knowledge gained from top trainers in Values Clarification and Attitudes Transformation (VCAT) on Safe Abortion.

Rosine Izabayo

Melina Gaju

Dr. Lawrence, speaking on behalf of RBC, underscored the positive impact of VCAT training on the nation. He highlighted the potential for medical practitioners to offer secure abortion services, addressing critical issues such as maternal fatalities, unintended pregnancies, and the overall improvement of women’s well-being. Emphasizing the collective responsibility in addressing safe abortion, Dr. Lawrence officially opened the training.

Dr. Lawrence

Chris from HDI emphasized the training’s objective to underscore key factors contributing to abortion as a focal point, including maternal deaths, limited information, and poverty. He urged medical practitioners to familiarize themselves with policies and laws related to safe abortion, addressing issues of unprofessionalism, myths, beliefs, morality, and ethics. Chris concluded with a hope that participants’ values would be transformed, emphasizing the essential role of respecting laws within the legal framework.

Chris from HDI

Training Sessions Highlights: The training covered a comprehensive range of essential topics related to safe abortion. Sessions included exploration of legal frameworks on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and safe abortion, discussions on international and regional human rights and policy frameworks, and addressing barriers to safe abortion.

Me John Mudakikwa, on day one, delved into legal frameworks on SRH and safe abortion, emphasizing the importance of ensuring legal protection and access to safe abortion services. He covered international and regional human rights standards, highlighting the significance of the Maputo Protocol and global soft law agreements.

Me John Mudakikwa

Facilitator Mporanyi Theobald, on days 2, 3, and 4, examined the epidemiology of unsafe abortion in Rwanda. The training engaged participants in thought-provoking discussions around values and ethics on safe abortion, using the social-ecological model to understand multifaceted aspects influencing decision-making. Participants actively participated in exercises such as the “Four Corners,” which explored diverse perspectives on SRHR and safe abortion.

Mporanyi Theobald

Closing Ceremony: The closing ceremony began with a recap for attendees who were not present for all four days, followed by summaries of the training sessions. Dr. Amiel from GLIHD summarized content related to the legal framework on safe abortion and VCAT sessions. Aimable from IMRO expressed gratitude to participants for their active involvement.

Aimable from IMRO ED

Dr. Lawrence, acting as the guest of honor on behalf of RBC, commended participants for wholeheartedly engaging in the training. He emphasized the need for participants to ensure the proper provision of Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC), highlighting its inclusion of psychological and essential elements. Dr. Lawrence urged participants to champion HIV prevention and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and officially concluded the training session.

In closing, IMRO extends heartfelt thanks to all participants, trainers, and collaborators for contributing to the success of this transformative training. The organization remains committed to advancing healthcare knowledge and promoting comprehensive reproductive healthcare services globally. For further insights, explore the detailed activity report.

Empowering Staff through Values Clarification and Attitude Transformation (VCAT) Training on Safe Abortion

Grand Legacy Hotel, May 16th-19th, 2023

In an endeavor to enhance knowledge and foster collaboration, a four-day Values Clarifications and Attitudes Transformation (VCAT) training on Safe Abortion was conducted at the Grand Legacy Hotel from May 16th to May 19th, 2023. The event brought together 26 staff members from various consortium members, including IMRO, HDI, RNGOF, GLIHD, Strive Foundation Rwanda, and MDFC. Emmanuel Mugabarigira moderated the training, with welcome remarks from Aimable Mwananawe, the Executive Director of IMRO.

Topics Covered During the Training:

The comprehensive training covered crucial topics related to safe abortion, commencing with an examination of the epidemiology of unsafe abortion in Rwanda. On day one, Mr. Tom Mulisa delved into legal frameworks on sexual and reproductive health, emphasizing the international and regional human rights and policy frameworks. The importance of standards, the Maputo Protocol, General Comment No 22, and the Maputo Plan of Action were highlighted. Sessions also addressed barriers to safe abortion and strategies for implementation.

Days 2 to 4, facilitated by Mr. Mporanyi Theobald, focused on values and ethics, utilizing the social-ecological model and the “Four Corners” exercise to deepen understanding. Comprehensive abortion care (CAC) was emphasized as a holistic approach, and participants enhanced their knowledge, communication skills, and advocacy efforts. Community engagement strategies, counseling importance, and advocacy for reproductive healthcare services were discussed.

Expectations and Closing:

Dr. Kagaba, the Executive Director of HDI, expressed expectations for participant comfort, active engagement, and free expression of thoughts. The training aimed at self-assessment and knowledge enhancement.

During the closing ceremony, Fiston from GLIHD summarized legal framework content, and Yassina from RNGOF summarized VCAT sessions. Aimable from IMRO expressed gratitude for active participation, emphasizing the training’s goal to empower staff collaboration. Nooliet, representing RNGOF, thanked IMRO and encouraged participants to apply their knowledge. Dr. Janvier, representing RBC, highlighted reproductive health’s importance and commended consortium efforts.

Dr. Janvier officially closed the training, expressing RBC’s commitment to collaboration and participants’ responsibility to disseminate acquired knowledge.

In conclusion, the VCAT training marked a significant step toward fostering understanding, reducing stigma, and promoting access to safe abortion services. The consortium’s collective dedication and the commitment of participants reflect a shared vision for a healthier future in Rwanda.

Empowering Communities: IMRO Rwanda’s HIV Prevention Campaign in Muhanga District

Introduction: In a concerted effort to advance HIV prevention and community engagement, IMRO Rwanda recently orchestrated a vibrant campaign in Muhanga District. This multifaceted initiative seamlessly integrated a football match, HIV testing, and condom distribution, creating an interactive platform to disseminate essential messages on HIV prevention.

Activity Details:

  1. Football Match Participants:
    • Teams representing diverse segments of the community engaged in a spirited football tournament.
    • Participants included the Rwanda National Police, District Stakeholders, Taxi Moto Drivers, and Muhanga Youth Volunteers.
    • The friendly competition aimed to foster camaraderie, community spirit, and relay crucial health messages.
  2. HIV Testing and Condom Distribution:
    • Simultaneous with the football match, an HIV testing and condom distribution initiative unfolded.
    • A total of 161 individuals voluntarily underwent HIV testing, with one person testing positive. Immediate referral ensured commencement of Antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.
    • An impressive 20,424 condoms were distributed to promote safer practices within the community.
  3. Championship Outcome:
    • The Muhanga Youth Volunteers Team emerged victorious in the football championship, showcasing teamwork, sportsmanship, and community engagement.

Outcomes: The campaign achieved success on multiple fronts. The football match, beyond providing entertainment, served as an effective conduit for disseminating HIV prevention messages to a diverse audience. The substantial turnout for HIV testing indicates a positive community response, with one individual promptly identified and referred for necessary care.

Recommendations: Building on this success, IMRO Rwanda advocates for the continued implementation of mass campaigns, specifically targeting key population groups like Female Sex Workers (FSWs) and Men who have Sex with Men (MSM). These campaigns should focus on enhancing HIV knowledge and encouraging the utilization of HIV services, particularly in the post-COVID-19 period.

Conclusion: IMRO Rwanda’s HIV prevention campaign in Muhanga District demonstrated the effectiveness of combining sports, community engagement, and health services to convey crucial messages on HIV prevention. Integrating testing and condom distribution within a community event exemplifies the potential for holistic approaches to public health initiatives. Ongoing efforts in this direction are indispensable for sustaining community awareness and engagement in HIV prevention activities. IMRO Rwanda remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering healthier communities through innovative and inclusive interventions.

🏆 In a thrilling conclusion to the World AIDS Day (WAD) championship, the Muhanga Youth Volunteers triumphed over Muhanga District Staff, with the spirited support of IMRO Rwanda campaign.

The #WADChampions showcased exceptional teamwork and dedication, underscoring the significance of community engagement in HIV awareness. This victory not only celebrates athletic prowess but also highlights the collaborative efforts of organizations and individuals in promoting HIV prevention and community unity. 🌟⚽

                                           “Spectators observing the football match.”

                                “Individuals assembled for HIV testing and the retrieval of condoms.”

Fostering Collaboration: IMRO Rwanda’s Quarterly Stakeholder Coordination Meetings

Introduction: In the pursuit of addressing the unique challenges faced by key populations in Rwanda, IMRO Rwanda has championed an innovative approach to stakeholder collaboration. With a specific focus on the elevated HIV prevalence rates among Female Sex Workers (FSWs) and LGBTIQ+ Communities in Muhanga, Ruhango, and Rubavu Districts, IMRO Rwanda initiated quarterly stakeholder coordination meetings at the decentralized level. These gatherings serve as a crucial platform for informed dialogue, collaborative strategizing, and proactive efforts to combat stigma and discrimination.

Methodology: The quarterly stakeholder coordination meetings were meticulously organized in collaboration with the National HIV Program and local health authorities. Diverse participants, including representatives from district stakeholders, healthcare providers, local law enforcement, and key population group representatives, actively contributed to these engaging sessions. The structured format of the meetings provided a conducive environment for stakeholders to discuss pressing issues such as HIV prevalence rates, barriers to healthcare access, and innovative strategies to combat stigma and discrimination.

Results: The quarterly stakeholder coordination meetings have yielded impactful results, emphasizing the necessity for persistent efforts to enhance HIV testing and treatment rates among FSWs and LGBTIQ+ Communities. Key outcomes include:

  1. Enhanced Collaboration:
    • Strengthened collaboration and coordination among stakeholders for more effective and targeted interventions.
    • Improved communication channels between various stakeholders to streamline efforts in addressing key population issues.
  2. Heightened Awareness:
    • Increased awareness and comprehension of key population issues among diverse stakeholders, including district representatives, healthcare providers, and local law enforcement.
    • Greater understanding of the multifaceted challenges faced by key populations in accessing healthcare services.
  3. Empowerment of Stakeholders:
    • Empowered stakeholders to identify gaps and challenges in the existing approach to key population issues.
    • Facilitated the formulation of strategies to overcome obstacles and enhance the impact of interventions.

Impact: The quarterly stakeholder coordination meetings have played a pivotal role in addressing complex issues related to key populations in Muhanga, Ruhango, and Rubavu Districts. The impact includes:

  1. Effective Collaboration:
    • Strengthened collaboration has led to more targeted interventions, ensuring that resources are utilized efficiently to address key population issues.
  2. Increased Awareness:
    • Greater awareness among stakeholders has resulted in a more informed and sensitive approach to the unique challenges faced by key populations.
  3. Strategic Formulation:
    • Stakeholders are now equipped to identify and strategically address gaps and challenges, fostering a more proactive and systematic approach.

Conclusion: The success of the quarterly stakeholder coordination meetings underscores the importance of ongoing collaboration and dialogue in addressing key population issues. IMRO Rwanda remains committed to sustaining these efforts, recognizing the necessity of regular coordination to navigate the dynamic landscape of challenges faced by FSWs and LGBTIQ+ Communities. By reinforcing stakeholder capacity and maintaining a focus on collaboration, IMRO Rwanda aims to continue making a meaningful impact on the well-being and health outcomes of key populations in Rwanda.

Coordination meeting in Rubavu District

Coordination meeting in Muhanga District

Coordination meeting in Ruhango District

Presentations from IMRO Program Director

Empowering Communities: IMRO Rwanda’s Community-Led Monitoring Training for FSWs and LGBTIQ+ Community

Introduction: In its unwavering commitment to an inclusive healthcare system, IMRO Rwanda recently conducted a groundbreaking training program for key population peer educators. This initiative aimed to empower Female Sex Workers (FSWs) and Men who have Sex with Men (MSMs) through the implementation of Community-Led Monitoring Tools. The training sessions, held in Ruhango, Muhanga, and Rubavu, showcased IMRO Rwanda’s dedication to fostering a healthcare landscape that addresses the unique needs of marginalized communities.

Training Components: The training program encompassed a comprehensive array of tools designed for community-led monitoring. These included:

  1. Final Tool – FSWs and MSMs Screening Form:
    • Emphasized the initial identification of key populations.
    • Detailed questions for a comprehensive screening process.
    • Facilitated systematic categorization for targeted interventions.
  2. Tool for FSWs & MSMs Weekly Sessions:
    • Focused on planning and conducting engaging educational sessions.
    • Provided guidance on creating informative sessions to build trust.
    • Emphasized the importance of regular interaction for sustained support.
  3. FSW & MSMs Referral Form:
    • Highlighted the significance of timely and appropriate referrals.
    • Outlined a structured referral process for essential services.
    • Promoted collaboration with healthcare providers and support organizations.
  4. Final M&E Reporting Tool FSWs & MSMs:
    • Ensured a systematic approach to monitoring and evaluation.
    • Facilitated the collection of key data points for impact assessment.
    • Encouraged continuous improvement through feedback and analysis.
  5. FSWs and MSMs Data Collection Tool for Community:
    • Equipped peer educators with tools for gathering community-level data.
    • Focused on trends, challenges, and successes within key populations.
    • Strengthened the capacity for evidence-based decision-making at the community level.

Training Methodology: The training methodology adopted was dynamic and inclusive, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience. Key features included:

  1. Hands-On and Interactive Workshop:
    • Conducted through practical exercises, case studies, and group discussions.
    • Facilitated participatory learning for real-world application.
  2. Innovative Approaches:
    • Integrated multimedia presentations, scenario-based simulations, and interactive role-playing exercises.
    • Aimed to captivate participants, enhance retention, and encourage active participation.
  3. Peer Learning Networks:
    • Established a peer-to-peer learning network for ongoing knowledge exchange.
    • Encouraged sharing of experiences, insights, and best practices.
  4. Continuous Feedback Mechanism:
    • Incorporated regular feedback sessions to adapt to participants’ evolving needs.
    • Ensured the training remained responsive and effective.

Key Outcomes: The tangible outcomes of the training program included:

  • Demonstrated proficiency in using monitoring tools by peer educators.
  • Increased awareness of challenges faced by FSWs and MSMs.
  • Improved collaboration between peer educators and healthcare providers.
  • Enhanced community-led monitoring capabilities for effective intervention.

Participant Demographics: The participants exhibited diversity in age, gender identity, and geographical representation:

  1. Age Range:
    • FSWs: Aged 18 to 40, reflecting diverse life experiences.
    • LGBTIQ+: Aged 18 to 32, capturing the specific dynamics of this community.
  2. Gender Identity:
    • Diverse representation including female sex workers, gay, bisexual, transgender, and lesbians.
  3. Geographical Representation:
    • Participants from Muhanga, Ruhango, and Rubavu, providing regional perspectives.

Conclusion: IMRO Rwanda’s Community-Led Monitoring Training has equipped key population peer educators with essential tools and knowledge. By empowering community leaders, this training contributes to a more informed, inclusive, and responsive healthcare system for FSWs and MSMs in Rwanda. IMRO remains steadfast in its mission – Implementing Measures for Results and Organizing communities for a healthier and more equitable future.

CLM Training with FSWS Peer Educators in Muhanga District

CLM Training with LGBTIQ+ Peer Educators in Muhanga District

CLM Training with FSWS Peer Educators in Ruhango District

CLM Training with LGBTIQ+ Peer Educators in Ruhango District

CLM Training with FSWS Peer Educators in Rubavu District

CLM Training with LGBTIQ+ Peer Educators in Rubavu District

CSOs in Justice and Human rights rejoice excellent collaboration with gvt institutions

By Safi Emmanuel

Civil Societies Organizations which focus their activities on justice and human rights celebrate excellent relationship with government institutions in terms of curbing the issues that affect negatively the citizens.

Testimonies were shared by different members of CSOs, who attended the training organized by Ihorere Munyarwanda Organization (IMRO) in 11 districts across the Country, through a three year project “Strengthening Rwandan Civil Society Organizations’ Capacity to Influence Policy in Justice Sector”.

Unlike previous years, currently CSOs are considered to be the best partner of public institutions rather than being seen as “critics” of government’ weaknesses and hurry to report to their donors.

According to Charlotte Mukandugutse, policy and legal advisor at IMRO, this project, which is at the endline was initiated to identify justice sector CSOs by showcasing and timely report their activities which result the elimination of “mistrust between CSOs and Government that was persistent and hinder the sustainable socio-development of the citizen, who, both CSOs and Government declare to serve” She said.

She went saying that, the main objective of the project was successfully achieved during these three years.

Identifying CSOs, eliminating mistrust among CSOs and government, enhancing CSOs coalition as well as increasing capacity building of CSOs in justice and human rights were their main concern while initiating the project.

According to Mutaganda Fabien, a consultant on the role of CSOs “ No outstanding socio-development can be achieved without the inclusion of CSOs, Government and Private Sector, the trio is the major sectors towards development once, each of them plays its role effectively and efficiently, these are three pillars that should always stand together, once one is weak or does exist,  citizen’ development cannot be attained” He urged the participants while training them on how to conduct an effective advocacy.

The major role of CSOs is to monitor government actions and provide for advice, empowering and educating citizens in decision making and ensuring service delivery to citizen is effective.

Nsengumuremyi Aphrodis, Director of Irere Urere Organization in Muhanga District said that, lack of coalition among CSOs is a big challenge, though he welcomes public institutions’ efforts in strengthening and collaborating with CSOs.

“The District frequently support us in action planning, the challenge comes in when each organization implements their own activities which result duplication of works. This training helps us to understand the role of coalition while carrying out advocacy which also reduces the loss of budget which can be spent on duplicated activities” He said adding that,

“I appreciate this training as now I am equipped with the skills of how to conduct effective advocacy, because sometimes we could fail to reach our goals due to lack of basic knowledge of how to analyze policy brief and position paper, which are the main tools to take into account while preparing advocacy-related activities”

Frequent issues that affect citizens, according to CSOs members include; lack of awareness on their rights, land disputes, domestic violence, and poor service delivery, among others.

Jane Umutoni, Vice mayor of Rwamagana District in charge of Social affairs recognizes the achievements made through IMRO project.

“We appreciate IMRO with their coalition by initiating this activity, CSOs are non –governmental organizations but support government, we recognize that.  Not only do they help us to know some issues and problems of our citizens, and not only do they help us to identify them but also, they support us in seeking for solutions” She said during a press interview.

According to Umutoni, CSOs criticism should not be taken as a negative compliment, rather, it should be considered as the best approach of correcting adjusting the problem.

“ Our view is that, once CSOs criticize something inappropriate, they want to seek for solutions, they reach out to the community, if they notify us on unsuitable issues, it is our duty to correct them” She added.

Jane Umutoni, Vice mayor of Rwamagana District in charge of Social Affairs.

The project  “Strengthening Rwandan Civil Society Organizations’ Capacity to Influence Policy in Justice Sector” was initiated in 2018 and ends in 2022 thanks to the coalition of Ihorere Munyarwanda, Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights Development (GLIHD), Health Development Initiative (HDI) and Rwanda NGOs Forum for HIV and Health Promotion (RNGOF) which the best example of strength of coalition.

Some of the challenges faced by CSOs include; lack of self-identification as duty-bearers, poor understanding of CSOs on their advocacy and service delivery roles, unclear monitoring and evaluation mechanism of the CSOs from MINALOC down to the District level, to mention few.

JRLOs, CSOs reveal success, gap in strengthening Rwanda’s justice sector

Justice, Reconciliation, Laws & Order Sector Strategies (JRLOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working in justice sector have revealed the constraints and success made during a three- year project “Strengthening Rwanda Civil Society Organization ‘capacity to influence policy.

It is a project that was initiated and implemented by Ihorere Munyarwanda (IMRO), Health Development Initiative (HDI), Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights and Development (GLIHD) and Rwanda NGOs Forum for HIV/AIDS and Health Promotion in 12 Districts of Rwanda.

The project that is phasing out in June 2022, aimed at decreasing the mistrust and misconception of some government officials who consider CSOs as organizations that work for their own and donors’ interests by negatively reporting different issues of the country in which they operate.

Charlotte Mukandungutse, the project coordinator revealed that after meeting and deeply sharing ideas with the CSOs and JRLOs members, a significant improvement has been made and there is a reason to celebrate despite some challenges in justice and human rights sector in Rwanda.

CSOs members revealed their pride as the project has increased the awareness of mind-set change and stereotypes that these organizations are disguised in helping poor and vulnerable people while their real hidden agenda is to tarnish the image of the country to please their donors and sponsors.

“This is now three years of this project implementation, there is still poor cross-collaboration but we have realised some positive changes where government actors no longer consider us as rivals and tools of donors whose aim is to negatively criticize and report negative issues of our country, thanks to this project they understand that we are here as partners to help government achieve its goals and objectives. We all work for the interests of the citizen, this is one of the major achievements we are proud of and wish to increase for the betterment of the citizens’ rights and justice”. She said.

Kabera Nyiraneza Ange, Civil registrar officer of Rwezamenyo Sector, Nyarugenge District said that JRLOs and CSOs have still a huge task of educating Rwandan citizens on legal procedures, otherwise social economic development will hardly be attained.

“Citizens in our society do not have high understanding on judicial process, even when, as leaders try to help them legally, some of them show dissatisfaction by seeking higher officials. At this stage they spend most of their time for instance resisting executed trials and they end up in extreme poverty because they do not have time to work for their families” She said.

CSOs organization desire to have a significant contribution in justice sector priorities at the District level within imihigo to tackle the issues that negatively affect the achievement of justice and human rights.

 

According to Jean de Dieu Nkurunziza, Civil Registrar of Nyamirambo Sector, the meeting leaves an exercise for both government authorities and CSOs to fulfil their duties and improve on.

“I appreciate this meeting, I have gained more about how CSOs operate in the interests of our citizens. But, we are challenged by over tasks which results in not fully fulfilling our duties of deeply educating our people we were employed to serve, that is why most of them tend to take their complaints to high level officials” He noted.

Cresence Mukantabana, Executive Director of Réseau de Development des Femmes Pauvres au Rwanda and Vice-president of Nyarugenge District Joint Action Forum (DJAF), the project has contributed in reducing this mistrust because, both government and CSOs work exclusively on the centre of citizens’ interests.

He appreciated the project saying: “I really tell you that Nyarugenge District recognises your contribution as CSOs, I recommend the concerned entities to sustain what you have implemented within these three years, and project phase-out should not be project mission end.” She urged the participants.

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Participants appreciate the refresher on SRH organized by IMRO

Ihorere Munyarwanda (IMRO) has organized training gathering almost 30 Civil Societies, working in Reproductive Health to gain refreshment on the rights of Key populations and other vulnerable people affected by SRH stereotypes.

SRH is Sexual Reproductive Health.

Participants who managed to attend three days, they never hesitated to express how fruitful and contributing the training was.

Nyiranzeyimana Joyeuse works Réseau des Femmes Oeuvrant pour le Développement Rural

“I have acquired much in this three-day training. I have learned a lot about LGBT, the status of those who practice transgender, before attending this training I was a bit confused.

I thought gays and lesbians might have mental disorder, thanks to this training, I was able to differentiate them from people who have mental impairments, as it is scientifically proven that they were born with such sexual orientation feeling” She testified adding that the society should welcome them as they are and community should know that they deserve human rights as any other human being.

“In our society, we judge them as people who are out of social and culture norms, others consider them as mentally disturbed people, but I have to tell them to change their mindset towards this Key population group, their sexual orientation is not their choice but it is the attitude and character they were born with” She added

After distinguishing the innate character with artificial one, the society will know how LGBT deserve their rights and how they should be treated fairly.

Legal rights on Sexual Reproductive Health…..

According to Joyeuse “ The training has shed light on safe abortion which is still a big issue in our society. I was able to get clear explanation of five stages of permissible safe abortion.

“I really did not know there is sexual reproductive health law” She said

About a hot topic on whether Rwandan government should allow LGBT people to legally marry, Joyeuse said “ I think it would take some time to legalize this issue. There would be some cultural perspectives, let us first of understand these people and legalize their marital rights after”

She recommends that this refreshment should be   organized frequently because it hugely contributes to their knowledge. For many occasions people are abused, violated, discriminated against and remain silent due to ignorance of laws that can defend them.

Munyeshuri Jean Donald, representative and chairman of COPORWA organization that advocates for “Abasigajwe inyuma n’amateka” marginalized people  widely known as “Batwa”

“There is a group of people, we usually exclude such as sex workers, LGBT people as well as people with disabilities. I have learnt that there are Sexual Reproductive Health laws that defend the mentioned people and that they have the human rights as any other person in the country” He said

“But we still have a long journey to walk. We request the government to increase the awareness of those laws within the community, many people are not aware of sexual reproductive health law yet it was enacted since 2016, mainly for abasigajwe inyuma n’amateka community, who are left a bit behind compared to other Rwandan communities” He added

He went on saying that “You may find like three or five family members of this community  living in the same house, this increase the child birth rate and incestuous acts which should be avoided once they get enough knowledge on Sexual Reproductive Health laws and rights, including condom usage and safe abortion”

Bananawe Aimable, IMRO Coordinator appreciated the participants contribution throughout three days of training and pledged to continue working with them and following up on how they are putting into practice the acquired knowledge in their respective Organizations.

“IMRO, CSOs played a remarkable contribution to our citizens’ welfare” Mayor Jacqueline

The mayor of Muhanga District, Jacqueline Kayitare, valued activities carried out by Ihorere Munyarwanda Organization, with other 30 Civil Societies Organizations (CSOs), on law and human rights education and awareness, within 3 years operating in Muhanga District.

She made the remarks while addressing participants who attended CSOs, JLROs project evaluation as it is at phase out.According to the Mayor of Muhanga, CSOs role is irreversible in people’s well being mainly, IMRO, through JLRO’s  have increased our citizen’s awareness on legal and human rights, which are the basic engine to any society’s adequate progress.

“As the this project is phasing out, CSOs have tremendously contributed in law awareness, as public officials, we are also mandated to educate our citizens their rights but we have a limited time compared to CSOs working in law sector, they have enough time and people feel comfortable towards them” she noted, urging some public officials who conceal violence-related issues for the fear of being judged as under performers, to stop such misconducts.”

 

 

Mayor Jacqueline Kayitare Muhanga District

Domestic Violence, teen pregnancies are among the most cases that were identified during different citizens’ outreach carried out by IMRO and MAJ, jointly.

During this meeting, it was revealed that some Rwandan parents are still reluctant to report criminals, mainly on teen pregnancies issues, due to cultural background reasons and poor mindset, which negatively impact the victim and her baby.

Nyirahabimana Jeannette, a beneficiary who participated in IMRO’s campaigns on law awareness and human rights recognizes the support and pledges to be the referral to her neighbors on various human rights understanding.

“ Before participating and attending various campaigns on law awareness I had different attitude  regarding my rights, for instance, when it comes to reporting criminals, my initial alternative was to conceal information, fearing to ignite irritation  amongst my family members, but after deeply being educated and explained how this could negatively impact my society, I have changed for once for all” She testified.”

 

One of participants contributing during the session in Muhanga District

IMRO, CSOs have recommended Muhanga District officials and other partners to increase cross- collaboration and decrease the level of mistrust and stereotypes towards CSOs, where some public officials consider CSO’s as gain-seekers rather that a partner whose main mandate is the citizen’s welfare, as it is for public institutions.

Charlotte Mukandungutse, IMRO advocacy Manager said “We appreciate partnership the support of Muhanga District throughout three years we have operated here, but there are some hindrances to achieve our citizens development on law awareness, mistrust between CSOs and Public sector, we are optimistic, this mindset will be eradicated” She recommended

 

Mukandungutse Charlotte, IMRO Advocacy and Policy Advisor

The project also is being implemented in other 10  districts across the country.