Home Society Addressing Family Conflicts Through Community-based Child and Family Protection Volunteers 

Addressing Family Conflicts Through Community-based Child and Family Protection Volunteers 

by Bercar Nzabagerageza
9:02 pm

Inshuti z’Umuryango are cleaning their hands using a hand sanitizer as one of COVID19 prevention measures before they get into a family they wanted to visit.

Mugabo and his wife Ntawangundi are a couple with 4 children living in Nyanza District.

They used to live in harmony, working together for development of their family and children. Unexpectedly, a family conflict emerged. 

“Our conflict originated from a number of issues we disagreed on,” said Mugabo. 

 “The conflict escalated quickly to the extent that communication was totally cut off between us and we often fought,” he added in a regretting voice.

This situation became unbearable for Ntawangundi and for their four children to survive. The elder child could not cope up with his parents’ conflict, thus he left the family to stay with a third family.

 “Apart from beating me, there were many other bad behaviors that I couldn’t bear with. I decided to separate with him to live with my relatives,” said Ntawangundi 

While leaving the family, Ntawangundi went with the youngest child leaving behind his three siblings. The latter suffered even more, because their father would wake up early morning to go about his work only to report back home late in evening.

According to Mugabo, he and his wife had just focused on their conflict without thinking on repercussion their separation would have on their dear children.

” My child who used to have the highest score in class told me that he did not expect the same performance due to his late coming and lack of concentration as he was preoccupied by domestic work,” he said.

Inshuti z’Umuryango (IZU)/ Friends of the family (community-based child and family protection volunteers) identified the case and started working with Mugabo and Ntawangundi. But they failed to reconcile them before Ntawangundi went away from the family. 

“Before leaving the family, I informed IZU of my departure as they had already started mediating us,” said Ntawangundi.

 Being aware of that, Inshuti z’Umuryango increased physical mediation sessions with Mugabo while on the other hand, they kept individual sessions with Ntawangundi on telephone. 

“The process took us much time and devotion but we finally succeeded to reunite the couple which is now living in harmony,” said Semana one of the two IZU who helped the family.

“We were much concerned about their children that is why we did our best to reconcile the couple.” 

Thanks to the support of Inshuti z’Umuryango, Ntawangundi and her wife are now living in harmony and both recognize IZU as the source of their current happiness.

“I was in permanent anger but I’m now happy with my husband. He really loves me and gives me his time. You can look at him; he has grown fat because of peace we now have at home,” testified Ntawangundi. 

“I can confirm that our children are studying well with much support from both of us.  I thank IZU for their support.”

On his side, Mugabo commends Inshuti z’Umuryango for their work and kindness. He reveals one of the secret that help IZU to reconcile families.

“I trusted IZU because I never heard them disclosing the secrets of the people they have assisted. I will never stop from thanking them for the role they played to reconcile me with my beloved wife,” he said.

It’s been more than three years since Inshuti z’Umuryango supported the couple to reconcile and now the whole family is living happily.

Inshuti z’Umuryango/ Friends of the Family (IZU) in a reconciliation session

Their neighbors and local leaders testify that the family live in harmony. However, Inshuti z’Umuryango have not stopped from accompanying them.

“Even though they have reconciled, we don’t abandon them. We keep doing follow ups to make sure they achieve more things” Said Semana.

The family of Mugabo and Ntawangundi, is one of many families that were supported by Inshuti z’Umuryango to solve their dispute in the best interest of their children. 

Inshuti z’Umuryango (Friends of the Family) are community-based child and family protection volunteers, with two placed in every village across the country.

This nationwide cadre of 29,674 volunteers was established in 2016 by the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) through the National Child Development Agency, in collaboration with government partners including UNICEF to strengthen the child protection system in communities.

This community workforce pillar of the child protection system responds to the everyday needs of Rwandan children and families. Through household visits, Inshuti z’Umuryango identify and handle child protection concerns that may come up.

Note: The names of Ntawangundi and Mugabo, have been changed to protect their identities

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