Since 2008, UNFPA worked together with UNICEF and UN Women in a joint approach. We started with an overall assessment with the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) on the current situation of GBV in Rwanda and mapping available services.
From this initial assessment, it was clear that there were some strengths and gaps. One of the strengths was that a lot of efforts Were made to prevent GBV but there was a gap in service provision, a lack of central data which made it difficult to get overall GBV statistics and the coordination between different stakeholders was weak. The last is a challenge across all countriesbecause GBV requires a multisectoral approach which means that different ministries and institutions have to work together without one having sole ownership of the GBVprogramme.
Consequently, there were a couple of exchange visits where Rwandans went to South Africa and Zambia to look at the models there. As a result, in 2009 they developed the GBV One Stop Centre Model (OSC)for Rwanda which was piloted at the Kacyiru Police Hospital as the Isange OSC.
The second pilot OSC was established at the Gihundwe District Hospital in Rusizi, Western Province. Based on the success of these pilots, the Government of Rwanda decided to expand the OSC model to all District hospitals. This will make sure that the centre is close to the population and enable work through a referral system where health centres can offer basic services andrefer patients to the OSC at the District level.
Together with UNICEF and UN Women, UNFPA’s role is in strengthening the existing centres, supporting staff training, as well as development of minimum standards of care and increasing access to the same type and quality of services across the country. Challenges Due to stigmatization and silence, there is a lot of under-reporting on GBV in many countries, implying that the statistics do not necessarily reflect reality. So there remains abig need for awareness raising. Data from the 2010 Demographic Health Survey report indicate that 56% of Rwandan women believe that it’s justified for their husbands to beat them under certain circumstances—that is a very high number. Also, 48% of all women have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence—that is almost one out of every two women. And yet, many don’t speak out so they suffer silently from the psychological and physical consequences of GBV and are often trapped in the cycle of violence.
Since many women are economically dependent on their abusive husbands, even when they seek legal help at the OSC, they sometimes withdraw their complaints because they feel they and their children cannot survive if their husbands are in jail. This calls for more economic empowerment of women especially in rural settings as a way of eradicating GBV.
Biggest achievements In2010-2011, UNFPA together with UNICEF supported MIGEPROF in the development of the GBV Policy and Strategic Plan, and now we have to move towards implementation. We’ve also been part of setting up the pilot OSCs and are supporting the Government in the scale-up of OSCs. Additionally, we carry out trainings and awareness campaigns at the village level as well as with GBV clubs in secondary schools and universities. We’ve also been training organisations working in refugee camps on the treatment and prevention of GBV.