Friday, March 22, 2013

Acfode Strengthens The Capacity Of Kisoro District Stakeholders In The Fight Against Sexualized Violence

ACFODE with support from EIRENE carried out an annual self assessment workshop and process monitoring session in Kisoro district from March 18th to 21st 2013 with the aim of strengthening its project on the prevention of sexualized violence against women and girls in Kisoro district. The project is being implemented in Nyarusiza, Nyakabande, Busanza and Kirundo subcounties of Kisoro district.

The one day workshop, which was part of the monitoring framework to ensure sustainability and build strong networks in the district saw 60 stakeholders in the district come together and deliberate on sexual violence issues and how the project procedure can be improved in the district.

The proceedings generated feedback from stakeholders in the community project. For instance, the Asst. Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Ms Rita Byirinbiro expressed gratitude for ACFODE's project interventions, stressing the need for other actors to unite and play their roles so as to ensure the project is a success. It was also noted that ACFODE is one of the longest serving partners in the district and has therefore been responsible for a large percentage of the current political, social and economic change in the area.

The District Community Liason Officer Mr. Ben Wenamanya highlighted the availability of free counseling services for victims of sexual violence available through the ACFODE offices, as well as easily accessible referral system for reporting sexual violence cases via the ACFODE Community Facilitators (CFs).

In addition, the Sub County Chief of Nyakabande emphasized the support of several re;event Community Based Organizations through ACFODE's work. For instance, Kichwumbi Community Development Association, which supports young girls to become economically independent.

The positive impact of the Combating Defilement, Rape and Sexual Harassment (CODERASH) committees was also affirmed through visits to the local communities, which were more aware of sexual violence through their regular dialogues and interaction with the ACFODE CFs, who are also part of the local communities.

A total number of 120 CFs have been trained in the four sub counties and, with support from the ACFODE field office, they are able to sensitize communities on sexual violence, reproductive health and economic empowerment and also refer Gender Based Violence cases to relevant authorities.

The communication channels used in dissemination of ACFODE information were also monitored in order to determine their impact and relevance in the project implementation. With only two local radio stations; Kisoro FM and Voice of Muhabura FM, ACFODE's sensitization messages on sexual violence in communities have been largely welcomed, which was evidenced by the fact that 4 people out of 10 in any given community have listened to these talk shows.

Overall, local authorities, including the district LCV Chair Person pledged to offer more support to ACFODE to ensure that the marked reduction in sexual violence in the district since the beginning of the project continues. This has been a big milestone for ACFODE as an organization in the district, in regard to the fight against sexual violence.

Compiled by:

Andrew Ssekirevu
Programme Assistant
Gender and Economic Policy Department
Action For Development