International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Rwanda Calls for Unity against Gender Based Violence

“This is why we walk and mobilize, because every girl that is defiled is one too many, every women that has to live in fear of gender based violence, is one too many.” -UN RC in Rwanda

Date: Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Over 1,000 people, consisting of Government Officials, Defense Forces, Development Partners, Youth and the general public joined UN Women Rwanda in a march to raise awareness and #SayNo! to Violence Against Women and Girls
Over 1,000 people joined UN Women Rwanda in a march to raise awareness and #SayNo! to Violence Against Women and Girls. Photo: UN Women/ Tumaini Ochieng

The UN Resident Coordinator joined the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, various Government Officials, Development Partners and hundreds of youth in a 3-kilometre march to raise awareness against gender-based violence and especially child defilement. The march, followed by an event at the National Stadium, commenced the global and national achievements in fighting gender based violence, while highlighting the work left to do.

Echoing the commemoration of the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, the Kigali Convention Center, the symbol of Rwanda’s renaissance after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis, was also lit in orange in support of the Campaign. In the same line, the building hosting the EU delegation in Rwanda and some UN Agencies was also lit in Orange while the EU delegation heads and staff took a stand against gender-based violence fronting an orange signage against this violation of human rights.

The 2018 national theme for the Campaign was Building the family we want, say no to child defilement” in a bid to fight against the increasing occurrences of teenage pregnancies that the country has experienced in recent years. One of the country’s districts, Kirehe, reported that cases of teenage pregnancies rose from 302 to 796 cases from 2017 to 2018. A survey conducted between July and September 2017 in the Western Province has revealed a rise in teenage pregnancies with an average of 25 girls being impregnated every day.

The iconic Kigali Convention Centre was lit in Orange during the 16 Days of Activism as a symbol to #SayNo! to Violence Against Women and Girls. Photo: UN Women/ Tumaini Ochieng
The iconic Kigali Convention Centre was lit in Orange during the 16 Days of Activism as a symbol to #SayNo! to Violence Against Women and Girls. Photo: UN Women/ Tumaini Ochieng

Professional women, feminist groups, men, youth and the media, all rallied to “Say No” and mark the campaign through panel discussions, televised and radio shows, awareness raising events and other marches. The various activities from UN Women and its partners’ were largely covered on various media platforms, from TV coverage on national broadcasters to a wide range of online articles in national and international media.

In addition, a successful social media campaign was rolled out through UN Women and its partners’ social media platforms. At national level, the hashtag #OrangeRwanda gathered over 186,000 impressions and reached close to 143,000 accounts worldwide with tweets sent from UN Agencies, Development Partners, Government Institutions, and social media influencers.

This year’s campaign manifested an increased engagement from the youth in the various initiatives, further reiterating their critical role in creating a country free from all forms of violence.