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To conclude the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, African Youth and Adolescent Network (AfriYAN) hosted “National Orange Day : Speak Out ! End Gender-Based Violence”. AfriYAN Rwanda Country Director, Evode Niyibizi, started the event by welcoming guests and encouraging them to recognize the potential youth have if we take the time to empower and believe in them.

The event was co-sponsored by Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC), Health
Development Initiative (HDI), Promundo US, United Nations Population Fund, the Government of the Republic of Korea, Korea International Cooperation Agency, and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Promotion.

RWAMREC executive director, Fidele Rutayisire was among guest speakers representing the collaborating organizations. He gave an overview of RWAMREC’s mission and the five-year plan of GenG. GenG in Rwanda brings together RWAMREC,
AfriYAN, and HDI to “strive towards the creation of gender-just and violence-free
societies with and for young people in their full diversity”.

Aside from messages from representatives of the co-sponsoring organizations, the event featured unique sessions highlighting the work of youth activists. Guests enjoyed poems that all called us to action against GBV and fighting for gender equality.

The final competition for a debate among college students was hosted during the event where they debated “fear of stigmatization and non-progressive cultural norms are the leading cause of slow reporting in GBV case reporting”. The winning duo brought in minority perspectives of the LGBTQ+ community and women, thus demonstrating the power of inclusivity in their arguments and that comes from engaging youth in activism.

Finally, the event concluded with a panel discussion featuring UN Women Rwanda’s program specialist Carine Uwantege, young educator and activist Kevin Ngabo, and feminist and activist Sylvie Nsanga. Collectively they discussed the role of youth in ending GBV and how they can be supported in their efforts.

With this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against GBV drawing to a close we must keep in mind one of the main messages from yesterday’s event : We need to turn the 16 Days of Activism into 365 Days of Action.

By Emma Gifford - RWAMREC Intern