“Iriba rya Masenge” Spreading the vision of the community through Active women champions
In these past 10 years, teen pregnancy and motherhood became a community challenge and a human security issue among others. This time, there and here in our communities, the issue took a pic in the media. Strategies to curb the situation have been discussed on different platforms calling for awareness sessions urging positive parenting through different ways and channels.
Starting in 2020, PFTH under GEWEPIII started its intervention in 6 sectors of Nyamagabe District to empower women and girls to become champions in their life duties in where Gatare sector among others. A leading champion named Janviere MUTIRENDE, a mother of 4 children ; had analyzed the situation as an actor of change and came out with an idea of strengthening and continuing her initiative of culturally based youth dialogues space called IRIBA RYA MASENGE (the aunt fount). The initiative started convening young boys and girls between 12 – 18 years old in a group for a weekly discussion on sexual education as advice from adults valued as Aunt. They started tackling sexual-oriented issues taken as a taboo that parents fear talking about when with their children. But, in that group, youth get free space to ask questions and get answers from their called mentors.
After being trained by PFTH as the champion leader, she thereafter presents the idea to her colleagues’ champions who supported it and guaranteed to take part in the initiative. In “Iriba rya Masenge” initiative, Janviere and her colleague champions put more effort into the initiative.
Talking to Janviere, she said : “At the beginning, I was elected to become Mutwarasibo of Isibo called UBUNYANGAMUGAYO in UWISURI village, Gatare Cell, Gatare Sector.
As a leader trained to be a champion in my locality and a mother of two young girls in teenage hood, I thought about what can be done to address the issues of teen motherhood. I remembered when in my childhood, our aunts used to advise us on good behavior for a good future. From that ancient practice, and conscientious that I have to be a champion by influencing change as much as I can ; I took a decision to initiate that kind of discussion among youth. Then, I talked about it to my colleagues’ champions and in their turn, they committed to support and take part in it”.
“Iriba rya Masenge” initiative was launched in 2021 having 36 youths including 22 girls and 14 boys. As we advanced in the dialogue, we progressively engaged local authorities for their understanding and support as it started only in one village in the entire Gatare Sector.
As a good result, Janviere and her colleagues as well as local authorities testify that counting from July 2021 to June 2022, there is no teen pregnancy in their Gatare sector. The result embraces the entire sector because after seeing it beneficial, sector officials recommended that the initiative should be spread out to other villages in the sector. To respond to that request, Janviere as coordinator of Incuti z’umuryango in the sector, based that they are in each village, called and train them on the initial orientation for them to sustain the initiative in their villages.
Talking to the local authorities, they also appreciated the initiative and committed to continue supporting it by spreading it out in other cells for greater impact. “Iriba rya Masenge initiative has helped us much more in mobilizing youth for fighting against youth pregnancies that handicap our community nowadays. We appreciated the initiative and still supporting the initiative because it brought positive changes in our cells and in the whole sector. We get happy when reporting zero to that challenge. I, therefore, recommend its spread in other sectors as a weapon to fighting that challenge together”. Said Pascal Ntibandetse, Executive Secretary of Gatare Cell.
Supporting the initiative at the district level, and with the aim of sustaining and extending it, during the general assembly of the National Women Council in Nyamagabe District held on 09/09/2022 the Vice Mayor in charge of Social Affairs Mrs. UWAMARIYA Agnes commended the initiative and gave space to Janviere for its presentation to participants from 17 sectors of the district. They all appreciated the initiative and its results and committed to buying it for their localities.