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The Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) considers Gender Based Violence (GBV) a serious threat to international security and human rights. Rwanda is a signatory to international instruments such as CEDAW, Millennium Development Goals, Beijing Declaration and Resolution 1325 which promote Gender equality and respect for women’s Human Rights, it was of great importance that RDF, as a government security organ, operate within these frameworks. The Government of Rwanda is committed to fight gender based violence, and the RDF – who through its civil-military department interacts with the local population – is strategically placed to contribute significantly to this effort. To effectively discourage and combat GBV, and promote development, it is imperative to involve all stakeholders in our society.

GBV and violence against women was used as a widespread weapon of war during the 1994 Genocide. Our post genocide era requires particular attention to this issue. National Police statistics indicate that in 2006, 2033 cases of GBV were reported; GBV being the most reported criminal case. The involvement of the Armed Forces will undoubtedly reduce the violence. The RDF believes that fighting GBV will free the potential force that contributes significantly to peace, security and sustainable development.

In response to the challenges the country faces in eliminating GBV, the RDF appointed a GBV focal point at its headquarters in October 2007. In partnership with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the RDF made concrete steps to establish a GBV Desk within the HQ and at decentralized levels to coordinate GBV related issues. The Desk will support work to design programs and projects, make follow-up reports, and collect information related to GBV and violence against women.


To create awareness within communities on gender equality and women’s human rights in order to reduce Gender Based Violence.


To promote human security through fostering a society where military men and women share roles and responsibilities in achieving equality and respect.


• To promote Gender equality, equity and women’s empowerment in the armed forces and the community.

• To combat GBV in Rwandan communities.

• To prevent and respond to HIV&AIDS as a consequence of GBV.

• To encourage Rwandan women to play a significant role in decision-making processes.

• To establish adult literacy programs and skills development for women as a strategy for effectively combating GBV.

• To follow up on Gender related issues in the community through research, monitoring and evaluation.

• To empower women to contribute meaningfully to national poverty reduction.


• Training of trainers on prevention and response to GBV in:

— Ensuring timely and appropriate response to the victims of GBV.

— Offering legal, medical and psychosocial assistance to victims of SGBV.

• Training of local leaders, military personnel and opinion leaders in Rwandan Provinces and Kigali City on GBV and other Gender issues.

• Training of officers and men in preparation for mission abroad on Gender Equality concepts; GBV and Resolution 1325 in Rwanda Military Academies and Schools.

• Inter-Women football Club competition under the theme “fighting GBV”.

• Collection and documentation: data on GBV cases across the country.

• Community dialogues on GBV with local leaders, RDF gender focal points, Police officers, victims of GBV, ex-combatants in the provinces.

• Music and drama shows to convey messages on the role of men in ending GBV, to challenge negative attitudes towards women and provoke a reflection on behavior change.

• Establish Gender Focal points and empower Anti GBV Clubs in the community at the Akagari/cell level. Support the formation of anti-GBV CLUBS up to sector level.

• Orientation of GBV victims to legal institutions and offer support to victims during legal pursuit.

• Integration of lectures on GBV in the Itorero ry’igihugu (national civic education training programs).

• Sensitization programs for women through their associations to participate actively in decision-making processes.

• Awareness workshop on Human Rights, Gender Equality concepts, GBV, HIV/AIDS for military personnel and civilians.

• Introduction of Adult literacy and skills development courses for women.

• Conduct internal Gender Equality assessment.

• Conduct a comprehensive survey on the status of GBV across the country.

• Integration of development activities into GBV programs to enhance women’s economic security.

• Strengthen capacity of RDF GBV Desk.

• Sensitization programs to increase enrolment of women in RDF.