The Sustainable Development Goals in Rwanda
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Rwanda:
07 July 2021
My Body, My Dignity! Rwanda: Our march continues until the rights, choices and bodies of all girls are fully their own.
According to UNFPA's 2021 Flagship State of World Population report launched in April this year. The 2021 State of World Population report, titled My Body is My Own, focuses on the power and agency of individuals to make choices about their bodies without fear, violence or coercion. For the first time, a United Nations report focuses on bodily autonomy: the power and agency to make choices about your body, without fear of violence or having someone else decide for you. This lack of bodily autonomy has massive implications beyond the profound harms to individual women and girls: potentially depressing economic productivity, undercutting skills, and resulting in extra costs to healthcare and judicial systems. Through this groundbreaking report, UNFPA is measuring both women’s power to make their own decisions about their bodies and the extent to which countries’ laws support or interfere with a woman’s right to make these decisions. The data show a strong link between decision-making power and higher levels of education. "The fact that nearly half of women still cannot make their own decisions about whether or not to have sex, use contraception or seek health care should outrage us all,” says UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem. “In essence, hundreds of millions of women and girls do not own their own bodies. Their lives are governed by others.” She added The Rwanda Demographic Health Survey 2019/2020 revealed that 5% of women aged 15-19 have begun childbearing: 4% have had a live birth, and 1% were pregnant at the time of the interview. The proportion of teenagers who have begun childbearing rises rapidly with age, from less than 1% at age 15 to 15% at age 19. Teenagers with lower levels of education and those in the lowest wealth quintile tend to start childbearing earlier than other teenagers. UNFPA is working in partnership with the Government of Rwanda to support the availability of information and services to women and girls through equipping youth friendly services, supporting Comprehensive Sexuality Education, and ensuring supply chain of contraceptives across Rwanda. Umubiri wanjye, Agaciro kanjye! "At UNFPA, we know that communities can flourish only when all women are empowered to make their own informed decisions about their bodies and lives. We will not stop until the rights, choices and bodies of all girls are fully their own.” Says Mark Bryan Schreiner, UNFPA Representative in Rwanda The 2021 State of World Population report was launched in Rwanda on 24th May, as kicking-off a one-week long campaign entitled “My body, my dignity, Claiming the right to autonomy and self-determination”, locally translated as “Umubiri wanjye, Agaciro kanjye: wimpohotera” The campaign was conducted to raise awareness on sexual and reproductive health and rights with a focus on the fight against all forms of violence mainly gender based violence and teenage pregnancy, increased awareness on the sexual and reproductive health needs and rights of women and girls. The campaign combined the launch of UNFPA State of World Population (SWOP) Report 2021, the launch of the new Safeguard Young People Programme (SYP) in Rwanda and the commemoration of the Menstrual Health Day 2021. The Safeguard Young People (SYP) Programme initiated by the UNFPA Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office in 2013, aims to empower adolescents and young people age 10–24, especially adolescent girls, to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, early marriage, sexual coercion and other GBV and harmful practices; and to promote gender-equitable norms. After the successful achievements in 8 countries where it was implemented (Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe), the key partner Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) approved its expansion to Rwanda and Tanzania in 2021. Launching the program in Rwanda, Marc de Santis, the SDC Regional Director stated: “SDC is committed to actively raising the quality of life of young persons in Rwanda. The SYP program comes as a complementary intervention to our existing program targeting young people. SDC particularly commendes that SYP integrates gender transformative aspects. This program not only gives adolescent girls and young women access to key services but also helps communities understand and challenges social norms that perpetuate inequality between boys and girls.” In her remarks, Guest of Honour, Minister of Youth and Culture expressed appreciation to UNFPA Rwanda and other partners for the unwavering support towards youth empowerment through various programmes and initiatives including the Youth Connekt, iAccelerator among others. "The Safeguard Young People Programme launched today as we celebrate the Menstrual Health Day, came at the exact right time and will definitely complement available Youth health programs such as Behavior Change Communication, SRH and HIV prevention”. Hon. Rosemary Mbabazi, Minister of Youth and Culture The Menstrual Health Day (28 May) is a global advocacy platform that brings together the voices and actions of non-profits, government agencies, individuals, the private sector and the media to promote good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) for all women and girls. In many cultures, young adolescent girls tend to be less prepared for Menstrual Health and suffer from anxiety, apprehensions, fear and shame. In addition, social taboos and cultural restraints during menstruation mean that managing menstruation is a greater challenge. “Together, we must create a society in which no woman or girl is held back because of her period, where no woman or girl is kept from realizing her full potential because she menstruates, and where menstruation is just a normal fact of life. Let us bring together the voices and actions of different stakeholders to promote good menstrual health for all women and girls. “proclaimed Mark Bryan Schreiner
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03 February 2021
UN Rwanda and partners launched a joint Disability Inclusion Initiative
On 30th November 2020, the One UN Rwanda, the UNDP, the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCP), and other partners, in partnership with HVP Gatagara launched a disability inclusion initiative to promote innovative learning for children with disabilities. The initiative aims at empowering persons with disabilities in Rwanda for them to achieve their full potential. The launch of this initiative took place at HVP Gatagara which is the main rehabilitation Center in the Country. It is part of the celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities celebrated every December. The initiative echoes this year’s theme “Building back better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.” Introduction of smart boards and internet in HVP Gatagara schools On the occasion, UNDP partnered with Liquid Telecom to provide 10 smart boards to HVP Gatagara schools as well as free internet as a way of scaling up the smart classroom* promoted by the Government of Rwanda. The Director of HVP Gatagara, Frere Kizito Misago said that smart boards and internet connectivity are of great importance for both the children with disabilities and their teachers. “As technology advances, people with disabilities should not be excluded. We are appreciative of this support because the internet will help children and teachers to do research on various subjects and stay connected,” said Kizito adding that “When teachers use a chalk-board, children, especially those with mental health problems are distracted; the smart boards are the right tools do tackle this issue for students will be more attentive and curious to follow their teacher.” Frere Kizito commended the continued support of UN agencies, especially UNDP to promote disability inclusion and ensure that rights of persons with disability are respected and protected. Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Maxwell Gomera, the UNDP Resident Representative in Rwanda echoed Frere Kizito’s statement on how these innovative tools are going to positively impact on education of children with disabilities. “Being connected can make a difference in the lives of Rwandans living with disabilities in the way they access broadband, they access the education materials. So, I am pleased that together with Liquid Telecom, we are committing to provide access to the benefits of the internet to children at HVP Gatagara,"said Mr. Gomera. With the support of the Rwanda Education Board, the smart boards will enable easier access to national curricula online modules hence ensuring equitable access to education for all particularly students with disabilities. Children with disabilities require not only adapted learning tools but also ensuring that these children basic needs are duly catered for. Therefore, through the disability inclusion initiative, UNFPA Rwanda handed over 3000 sanitary pads to HVP Gatagara to ensure adequate menstrual hygiene and improved access to sanitation for young girls with disabilities. Overall, the disability inclusion initiative calls on different stakeholders mainly the public sector, the private sector, civil society organizations, development partners and the UN in Rwanda to contribute towards decent living conditions for persons with disabilities. It is also calling for innovative partnerships bringing together the comparative advantage of each actor to find sustainable solutions for the empowerment of persons with disabilities. The UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Fode Ndiaye commended the Government of Rwanda and National Council for People with Disabilities for remarkable efforts in promoting inclusion. He reiterated UN’s support to ensure that disability inclusion is promoted trough all development sectors, national policies and strategies. “I strongly believe that this could build better citizen, making sure people have access to equal opportunities and contribute better to social and economic development of their country. We will continue to work with the government and support the required frameworks to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are respected and promoted,” said the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Fode Ndiaye. Globally, persons with disabilities constitute around 15% of the population which should not be left behind to achieve the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. * A smart classroom is a technology-enhanced classroom that foster opportunities for teaching and learning by integrating learning technology, such as computers and interactive screens, specialized software, audience response technology, assistive listening devices, networking, and audio-visual capabilities. In a smart classroom, a black/green chalk-board is replaced by an interactive white screen on which teachers and students write using a specific pen or a finger.
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03 February 2021
FAO delivers Rulindo’s first solar-powered irrigation system
Some farmers do need adequate water for irrigation. However, vegetable growers in Yanze catchment, Ngoma sector in Rulindo district face the challenge of access to water from Yanze River whose water is also shared by Rwanda’s capital Kigali for domestic use. “The water we use for our crops we shared it with Kigali City. Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) gives us water sometimes at night or very early in the morning. We have to wake up at night to irrigate. At times the water is not even enough for the crops,” Jean Pierre Mbarushimana, a vegetable farmer. he Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is currently implementing in the district the project “Knowing water better: towards a fairer and more sustainable access to natural resources - KnoWat” with the financial support from the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The project is working with the local government of the Rulindo district and communities to address water allocation and productive water uses in the Yanze basin which provides part of the water supply of Kigali city. Solar-powered irrigation and water management In order to support efforts in place as regards to water management, FAO through the KnoWat project supported the district with solar-powered irrigation systems. Three ENOS/Sunlight solar pumps and accessories have been delivered to farmers grouped under the Yanze Horticulture Production Cooperative (YAHOPROC) of vegetable growers in the Yanze catchment. The cooperative was formed in 2015, with 199 members – 131 women and 68 men – at present. They sell most of their produce to Kigali city buyers. This is the first time solar-powered irrigation system has been introduced in Rulindo district. Apart from increasing productivity of the crops, the technology will reduce the heavy work load related to irrigation for farmers especially women. “We’re excited to use the sunlight solar pumps. The natural solar energy used is easy to generate from the sun. Secondly, unlike other irrigation equipment like motorized pumps, farmers don’t have to incur expenses to buy fuel to run the solar irrigation system,” said Olive Uwizeyimana, a vegetable farmer. “We’ve been using treadle pumps that require at least three people to peddle and irrigate. This has been a challenge for women to peddle the treadles, as it requires a lot of energy. Sometimes you have to wait for a man to help you peddle to be able to irrigate. The solar-powered irrigation is easy to use, you just turn it on and start irrigating. I can even irrigate my crops without the help of the man,” said Marie Chantal Akingeneye. Solar-powered irrigation is reliable, affordable and climate-friendly as the energy is produced from the renewable source. The system also caters for water productivity. The Vice Mayor of Rulindo district, Prosper Mulindwa, said the introduced solar-powered irrigation system is a model for the district with respect to small scale irrigation. He urged the farmers to ensure maintenance of the equipment for sustainability, adding that the farmers will learn new skills in the use and management of this technology. The farmers were given basic training on using this technology. The KnoWat project has contributed to the creation of the Yanze catchment Water Users committee and trained the members on proper water management. The project also constructed dams to store the water for irrigation. The solar-powered irrigation system handed over to the farmers, each has a capacity (total dynamic head) of 40 meters, the discharge of 40 liters per minute, and the panel can collect up to 500 watts per day. The system can irrigate in a distance of more than 4 kilometers from the dam.
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