"We are teaching people to combat violence against women."

— Monique Mukakarera

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Light In Our Home

Anti-Violence Clubs and Domestic Violence Training for 1000 Community Leaders

Gender-based violence is of utmost concern to the A Light in Our House team in the Byimana sector of rural Rwanda. According to project leader Monique, Rwandan culture demands that women accept domestic violence and remain quiet about their abuse. This is exacerbated for women from poor families, as they are often economically dependent on their husbands for survival, and survivors of the genocide, which left women vulnerable to exploitation. Further, in Ruhango Sector, sexual violence has also grown in the primary and secondary schools, where students and teachers need a solid education around gender violence and the resources available for its victims.

In order to reduce the systemic oppression of women within their district, this project team is offering comprehensive training on the causes and consequences of gender-based violence. They believe that if the community is educated about the negative impacts of such conduct, they will begin to change their behavior and encourage others to do the same. After conducting training, the team will put in place anti-violence clubs in each village, comprised of the members of the community policing committee and led by the head of the community. Project goals for the first year include:

  • Every community will hold a discussion about GBV during the monthly community service day
  • An increase to 40% in the number of men punished for sexual and physical violence
  • A decrease from 50% to 25% in the number of cases of domestic violence
  • 50% of communities will organize prayer days to fight violence against women
  • An increase from 60% to 80% in the number of women who participate in group activities

Led by Monique Mukakageli, a graduate of the 2008 Academy for Conscious Change, this venture team has been doing significant advocacy work, training local authorities and school administrators to mobilize against gender-based violence. So far, they have trained 384 local leaders who have, in turn, brought their new knowledge and skills to share with their communities.

A neighborhood leader, Viatem Mumyamziza was trained by Monique and went on to create an anti-violence committee in her neighborhood. She described the venture as "planting good seeds for peace" and explained that "before, people used to be shy, but now they are willing to share their experiences...before, we didn’t know about gender-based violence laws. Now, if there is any case of gender-based violence, we know how to address it."

Monique Mukakageli serves on her local women's council and works as a headmistress of a local school. She ran for Parliament in the 2012 election.

Project Details

Light In Our Home

Grant Amount: $3383
Team Size: 9 Members
Social Impact: 384 community leaders and 1000 community members

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