Rwanda officially launches its HeForShe Campaign and flags off the IMPACT 10x10x10 Program

Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Kigali

Rwanda Parliament plenary room hosting the official launch of the HeForShe Campaign. Photo credit: Christian T. Mulumba/UN Women
Rwanda Parliament plenary room hosting the official launch of the HeForShe Campaign. Photo credit: Christian T. Mulumba/UN Women
Kigali, 18 Sept 2015 – Following the global launch of the HeForShe campaign in September 2014, the launch of the IMPACT 10x10x10 in January 2015 and the announcement of H.E. President Paul Kagame in June this year that he has joined UN Women’s HeForShe solidarity movement as an IMPACT 10x10x10 champion, Rwanda has officially launched its HeForShe campaign and flagged off the implementation of its IMPACT 10x10x10 Program.
Rwanda is leading the way, as one of 10 countries in the world that has committed to take bold, game-changing action to achieve gender equality through the IMPACT 10x10x10 program, which engages governments, corporations and universities to address deficiencies in women’s empowerment and gender equality. Each sector will identify approaches and implement plans for addressing gender inequality.

Within the framework of the IMPACT 10x10x10, Rwanda has committed to bridge the gender digital divide and attain parity in ICT access, usage and innovation by 2020; triple girls’ enrollment in Technical & Vocational Training to advance women’s employment opportunities; and eradicate Gender-Based Violence in all its forms.

MPs and other participants filling the Parliament plenary room waiting for the official launch. Photo credit: Christian T. Mulumba/UN Women
MPs and other participants filling the Parliament plenary room waiting for the official launch. Photo credit: Christian T. Mulumba/UN Women
The launch occurred at the Rwanda Parliament to which participated an energetic audience of Honorable Members of Parliament and Senators including the President of the Senate, Honorable Ministers, Senior Government Officials, distinguished members of security organs, representatives from international and regional organizations including 14 UN Agencies, women and youth organizations, representatives of civil society and universities, district mayors, the private sector and the media. More than a thousand people, filled the Rwanda Parliament Auditorium.

The guests of honor to the event included Hon. Makuza Bernard, President of the Senate of Rwanda who stood on behalf of the President of Rwanda, Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Hon. Oda Gasinzigwa, and One UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Lamin Manneh. They all imparted to the audience an inspiring message for each man and boy to take on the role of being HeForShe champions in their own lives.

Group Photo: Minister of Youth & ICT, Minister of Gender, President of Senate, One UN Resident coordinator, UN Women Representative a.i and other guests. Photo credit: Christian T. Mulumba/UN Women
Group Photo: Minister of Youth & ICT, Minister of Gender, President of Senate, One UN Resident coordinator, UN Women Representative a.i and other guests. Photo credit: Christian T. Mulumba/UN Women
In her address to the audience, Hon. Oda Gasinzigwa, Minister of Gender and Family promotion shared Rwanda’s progress to raising awareness around the HeForShe concept and commended the involvement of H.E. the President Paul Kagame: “I thank the H.E. President Kagame for taking on this campaign and for being one of the HeForShe IMPACT Champions. Through him, Rwanda has chosen to give women value in order to support the development of our country.” Hon. Oda Gasinzigwa pledged to all possible in order to achieve Rwanda’s IMPACT 10x10x10 commitments.
MPs and other participants filling the Parliament plenary room waiting for the official launch. Photo credit: Christian T. Mulumba/UN Women
In 2008, Rwanda became the first and only country in the world to have majority female representation in its parliament at 56% – nearly double its 30% quota for women – and since 2013, women have occupied an average of 64% of parliamentary seats. Building on this strong track record for women, Rwanda has made the three bold commitments towards the achievement of parity.

Men singing along to the HeForShe song. Photo credit: Christian T. Mulumba/UN Women
Men singing along to the HeForShe song. Photo credit: Christian T. Mulumba/UN Women
One UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Lamin Manneh also commended the efforts led by H.E. the President and the Rwanda Government in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment: “To H.E. Paul Kagame, supporting the cause of women is a natural tendency. As far as he is concerned, we should not have any debate around this issue! None at all!” Mr. Manneh further quoted H.E. the President on his statement in regards to GBV: “Rwandans need to respect each other and their spouses. Gender base violence will not be tolerated. Asking a man to stop beating up his wife shouldn’t be negotiable; we have the responsibility to apply the law to stop it. ”

The President of the Senate of Rwanda, Hon. Makuza Bernard reminded the audience the reasons why the Government chose to select the three specific IMPACT 10x10x10 commitments and discussed their importance and benefit in regards to the country’s common development goals. He emphasized that: “women constitute 52% of Rwanda’s population. To undermine their development is to disrupt the country’s development. I thank Rwanda men and boys for understanding the value of gender equality to our country.”

Exhibition tent during the official launch. Photo credit: Christian T. Mulumba/UN Women
Exhibition tent during the official launch. Photo credit: Christian T. Mulumba/UN Women
The HeForShe Campaign in Rwanda is also an opportunity to celebrate and appreciate the contribution of men and boys to gender equality and women’s empowerment; it encourages further commitments which will support the attainment of Rwanda’s development goals.
This message was brought to life by by a group of young singers and music producers, all aged between 19 and 23 years old: Manzi Robert, Izere Daniel, Mucyo David and backup singers Weys Victoria and Ntwali Eric, who collectively produced and performed live at the launch the HeForShe song composed for the launch, Raise Your Voice. Together they are using music to inspire generations of champions of gender equality.

The launch event additionally featured an outdoor exhibition to showcase Rwanda’s success thus far in combating GBV, and encouraging women to enroll and work in Information, Communication, Technology and Vocational Training classes and sectors.

The government’s commitment to theses IMPACT initiatives have been highlighted over the past few months. Early last month, during the KICD Command Post exercise “Africa UNITE II” where H.E. President Paul Kagame condemned GBV and emphasized the need for security organs to prioritize the issue and called upon all men to join the campaign for action that will yield tangible results for Rwanda.