July 18, 2024

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Empowering Teenage Mothers: Gasabo District join forces with partners to Combat Gender-Based Violence and Promote Self-Reliance

By Isabella Iradukunda Elisabeth

The Gasabo District administration, in collaboration with security agencies, civil society organizations, and education institutions, has united in the fight against gender-based violence as part of Rwanda’s 16 Days of Activism to eliminate all forms of gender biases.

As a part of this campaign, on Thursday they came together to support teenage mothers who have given birth prematurely by providing them with tools after completing vocational training. This initiative aims to help these young mothers become self-sufficient despite their early motherhood.

During the event, Umwali Pauline, the District Executive Administrator of Gasabo, highlighted that the number of teenagers giving birth prematurely is decreasing.

In response to this issue, approximately 900 teen mothers have been assisted in learning various professions, enabling them to develop themselves and raise their children without relying on external support.

Umwali stated, “The fact that we have 900 teen mothers who have given birth indicates the existence of gender-based violence. As a district, we have supported them in learning different vocational skills such as mechanics, shoe making, tailoring, embroidery, welding, and electricity.”

“We provided them with toolkits to use in their work, hoping they will make the most of it, as they made efforts to continue their education after becoming young mothers.” She said

She further urged the teenage mothers to learn how to confidently say “NO” when tempted to engage in antisocial behavior. She encouraged them to seek advice from elderly individuals and ensure that the support provided benefits them.

UMUTONI Elisabeth, one of the teenage mothers who received training in the construction trade and was provided with construction materials, expressed gratitude towards the administration for helping them pursue education and giving them tools to find employment.

She shared her previous feelings of frustration and helplessness due to the lack of resources to improve her life after becoming pregnant at a young age. Elisabeth emphasized that going back to school after experiencing pregnancy and childbirth is a blessing.

Elisabeth also mentioned that initially, victims of sexual violence who become pregnant and give birth may experience depression. However, through supportive relationships with their peers, they find solace and overcome their depression.

Xaveline Uwimana, the National Coordinator of Réseau des Femmes Oeuvrant pour le Développement Rural, emphasized the importance of all institutions involved in child protection to take ownership and actively fight against gender-based violence.

She stated that their organization has a project focused on reproductive health education, providing training to children aged 10 to 24 and their parents.

This initiative aims to prevent violence, protect those at risk, and equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to address such situations.

Uwimana added, “The project was expanded where we visit schools, families, and community gatherings to educate parents on how to communicate with their children and provide them with reproductive health education.”

As part of the 16-day campaign against gender-based violence, girls from GS Gisozi primary school played football against GS Kagugu. Following the match, they marched together to raise awareness and combat gender-based violence from Gakiriro to FAWE GIRL’S SCHOOL.

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