International Women’s Day Celebration in Muhanga

International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide on March 8 each year. This is initiated by the United Nations and is one of 87 recognized international days. In this respect, Young Women’s Christian Association of Rwanda (YWCA Rwanda), celebrated the day on March 8, 2016 in Muhanga District, Nyarusange Sector in collaboration with the District of Muhanga and OXFAM. This event was a good occasion to recognize the steps taken by the Rwandan government to highlight women’s rights that are still being fought for elsewhere. It also served as an opportunity to for women to express their feelings about this day and to enhance their role in Rwandan society and development in general.

The guests at the ceremony included the Governor of the Southern Province (the guest of honor), the deputy MUKANYABYENDA Emmanuelie, the Mayor of Muhanga District, the head of the army at Provincial level, and the district police chief among others. The Executive Secretary of Nyarusange Sector opened the ceremony by welcoming the guests and other participants who were present. She then emphasized the importance of International Women’s Day, specifically in the context of Rwanda. After traditional welcoming dances, the District Mayor took time to warmly thank everyone who played a role organizing the event, with special emphasis on the efforts of Young Women’s Christian Organization and OXFAM.

The Sector Executive Secretary proceeded by giving the floor to the Governor, Mr. Munyetwari Alphonse. The Governor stressed the importance of integrating women into the development process of Rwanda and the world in general. However, he expressed strong concern for rural women needing special attention from the Rwandan Government in order to eliminate poverty. He thus stressed the need to strengthen the National Women’s Council in order for their increased advocacy and focus on various problems faced by rural women.

The Governor ended his speech by encouraging poor families to not let poverty be the subject of domestic violence at home, saying that this hinders development. After the guest of honor’s speech, the participants continued to celebrate in honor of the special day. YWCA Rwanda also took the opportunity to gift 12 pigs to 12 families who had been selected as some of the most vulnerable families in the community. These donations were appreciated by the authorities and beneficiaries. Ultimately, the celebration of International Women’s Day in Muhanga was significant and widely attended.