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Caritas Rwanda supports empowerment of adolescents and youth to end early pregnancy and sexual violence

Support  of vulnerable by small live stocks

USAID Gimbuka, is a USAID-funded project implemented by Caritas Rwanda, under USAID-Caritas Rwanda Cooperative Agreement since 2012. The project is undergoing its third phase (2020-2022), with a particular focus on either OVC infected and affected by HIV/AIDS or victims of SGBV.

In our days Rwanda is facing a problem of early and unintended pregnancies among teenage girls that leave them vulnerable to school dropout, gender-based violence and sexually transmitted infections.

Rwanda has already taken significant steps to improve its legal and institutional framework for the protection of children’s and adolescents’ rights. However, further efforts are needed to raise awareness of sexual and reproductive health and the prevention of gender-based violence

Among the activities that are implemented by Caritas Rwanda/USAID Gimbuka there are anti gender-based violence activities, where in collaboration with local authorities raises awareness of the issue, help identify victims and link them with institutions that will help them, such as ISANGE ONE STOP CENTER.

Claire Uwamahoro OVC/HIV gender coordinator of Caritas Rwanda /USAID GIMBUKA project, highlighted the most common problems related to violence, including the fact that some people still believe that gender-based violence is a situation in which a suitable solution can be found between families, which may lead to various illnesses on the victim who has not been treated in time.

“The issue of reproductive health and sexuality have been considered as taboo into Rwandan culture to be discussed within parents and children even among couples. GBV between family members is still kept between them in a so called ‘protecting family reputation’, and this is a huge problem as the victim never gets the help, she/he needs” Claire declared.

Before getting to where the problem of gender violence occur, Claire Uwamahoro says that the first issue lays in the fact that in Rwandan culture parents don’t talk to children about reproductive health, for that child don’t have knowledge of what they are getting in to and what are the risks and consequences.

Through Internal Savings and Credit Groups (ISLG)created and formed by Caritas Rwanda /USAID Gimbuka, gathered parents are trained on combating sexual violence, explained how they can talk to their children and help them gain knowledge about reproductive health.

As Claire says, it’s not only parents that are trained, but also teenagers. Beyond being help to go back to school after drop outs, they are taught how to prevent unwanted pregnancies, to avoid and stay away from those who want to engage them in sexual relationships, and the project shows them how this affects their future lives.

“We deliver to them messages about gender-based violence, we explain to them that what they need is to take care of their growth, their education, and to prepare themselves for a better life in the future. We also help those who are victims of violence, we discuss with them, we encourage them not to stop living because of what they have been through.” Claire says.

Caritas Rwanda /USAID GIMBUKA launched its 3rd phase in 2020 and is covering RUBAVU, RUTSIRO, KARONGI, NYAMASHEKE and RUSIZI districts.

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