A total of 160 elders including 112 females and 48 males have completed a month-long Civil Leadership Training on family planning and gender equality that will help them fight against family and gender-based violence in their communities in Nyarubaka Sector, Kamonyi district─ Southern Province.
The training, which was conducted by Global Civic Sharing Rwanda (GCS Rwanda), in 8 sessions to comply with COVID-19 preventive measures, is part of the “Self-reliance Project for Vulnerable People based on civil empowerment in Rwanda, Second Phase” started on September 21 to October 15, 2020.
The project is an initiative of GCS, a South Korean development organization operating in Rwanda, with the support of Korea International Cooperative Agency (KOICA).
The trainees were selected in 40 resident self-help groups also facilitated by GCS in the Nyarubaka sector to represent about 1400 group members and be ambassadors of gender equality and promotion of family planning methods.
“The most important lessons we got are gender equality skills in families and promoting family planning. Families are living in poverty because they don’t take a step to plan for children before they produce them, we are going to be agents of change in our groups and communities,” Joel Twagirimana, a trainee said.
“People need to produce a certain number of children depending on their financial capacity to raise them well, pay their school fees easily and cater for other family necessities,”
“The absence of these family needs like food cause family violence that has been recurrent in our communities and depression of both parents and children,” he said.
Twagirimana added that there is a need to change the wrong perception of people producing children hoping the government would take care of them.
“We shall move to every home spreading the good message based on the training we received in this training, with GCS as the facilitator,” he pointed out.
Over 50 years ago, the world declared that “parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and the spacing of their children,” at the United Nations International Conference on Human Rights in Tehran, on 13th May 1968.
However, parents are encouraged to space their children and embrace family development, and combat poverty in their families.
In November 2018, Rwanda was chosen for its family planning successes and experiences gained that can serve as lessons as the world strives to achieve its target under SDG 3, “universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information, and education.”
The GCS “Civil leadership training” including family planning in Nyarubaka sector fits in Rwanda’s outreach campaigns to promote access to family planning information and services, in the spirit of leaving no one behind.
“The training went well, trainees represented about 1400 group members. But they have been advised to go to all communities teaching them through Self-help Groups (SHGs),”
“Our support is an addition to the government efforts to promote family planning and economic development in families. Families cannot have economic development without members discussing what would be best for them,” Aimable Twagirayezu, a Project manager at GCS said.
“Gender equality is not at the level where we would like it to be. We trained them, they also needed these skills and we expect them to be the ambassadors in their communities,”
Twagirayezu added that they discussed with Nyarubaka sector authorities and came up with the decision to train them on gender equality, family planning through civic leadership in order to support and complement existing government programmes.