Wiceceka Network is a network of 15 local Women’s Rights Organizations (WROs) supported by ActionAid Rwanda (AAR) through the “Strengthening Women’s Advocacy (SWA)” Project. Members of Wiceceka Network have been empowered by AAR to advocate and raise community awareness on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and Gender Based Violence (GBV). The network has 3 branches in 3 Districts of the Country namely Karongi, Musanze and Gisagara Districts.
Before working with ActionAid Rwanda, each Women’s Rights Organisation was working on its own and had not sufficient capacity to advocate for women issues and raise community awareness on GBV and SRHR.
When they started working with ActionAid Rwanda (AAR) back in 2018, AAR built their capacity in areas of women’s rights, inclusiveness, SRHR and GBV, just to cite but a few, and encouraged them to create a network that would enable them having a strong voice.
“Thanks to AAR capacity building we stepped up, requested the authorization to work as a WROs network from the local administration, then our request was accepted, that is how we formed Wiceceka network. Wiceceka means ‘Don’t keep silence’,” says Donatha Dusingize, the Executive Secretary of Impuhwe Association, a member of Wiceceka Network in Karongi District.
Donatha states that due to ActionAid Rwanda’s capacity building on women’s rights, GBV and SRHR, members of Wiceceka network are now able to advocate for women issues and rights of vulnerable groups including GBV survivors, sex workers, etc.
“Under the Wiceceka Network umbrella, we now do advocacy for the vulnerable. There were some children who are victims of abuse and the concerned institutions were not following up on their cases. We did advocacy for them and the issues were followed up and resolved.
We conduct visits to sex workers and encourage them to step up for their rights and fight against Gender-Based Violence. Some sex workers have babies who don’t have birth registration, so we raise their awareness on the benefits of children’s birth registration, then encourage them to register their children. We raise teen girls’ awareness on SRHR and GBV so that we prevent teen pregnancies, and we offer psycho-social support to teen mothers and GBV survivors,” Donatha testified.
Donatha adds that the network uses the community score card that helps them to identify community issues and advocate for them. Due to their advocacy interventions and engagement with local leaders through the use of score cards, local leaders and GBV service providers have recognized the network’s role in GBV prevention, so they invite the network to conduct community sensitization campaigns on SRHR and GBV issues.
“We are now partnering with the Rwanda National Police and Rwanda Investigation Bureau in some GBV prevention activities. They invite us to sensitize teen girls on SRHR and GBV prevention, and we do it without any challenge,” Donatha says.
“Our wish is to maximize our advocacy and awareness raising activities in the 4 Districts where we operate, then expand our activities to more districts because GBV cases persists in some districts. However, we are resource constrained,” she added.
The 15 local WROs comprising Wiceceka Network are: Tubibe Amahoro, Reseau des Femmes, Impuhwe Association, Humuriza Thamar Association, Tubusezerere Twihangira Umurimo Cooperative (from Karongi District), Duhozanye, ARTFC, Amizero y’ubuzima, Catholic Church Kibirizi Parish, EAR Gishubi (from Gisagara District), Duterimbere, Haguruka, ARBEF, Girls Guides Association and Justice et Paix (From Musanze District).
Wiceceka Network initiative on GBV and COVID-19 prevention
Since the COVID-19 outbreak in Rwanda, Wiceceka network initiated community radio talkshows and other community awareness raising activities on GBV prevention and response as well as women access to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) services in this period of COVID-19 pandemic.
The radio talkshows aimed at preventing the increase of GBV cases in Rwanda, ensure timely response to GBV cases and ensure women access to SRHR services, in COVID-19 period.
The radio talkshows were conducted through community radio stations that reach communities in all the 7 AAR LRPs, namely Huye Community Radio, Musanze Community Radio and Isangano Community Radio. The radio talkshows were conducted by members of the network in partnership with ActionAid Rwanda and Faith Victory Association (FVA), with funding support from SWA Project funded by Amplify Change.