The Anglican Church of Burundi ended the 16 days of Activism Campaign against Gender Based Violence, during which activities have taken place in all the dioceses, with ceremonies that took place in Bitare, Rumonge diocese, led by the Archbishop of Burundi and the Bishop of Rumonge.
Hundreds of people of all ages expressed their concern about gender based violence and many young children from primary schools took part in the event and strongly condemned violence especially against young girls.
In his speech the Most Rev. Martin Blaise Nyaboho highlighted the main activities that the campaign has focused on - the mobilization of people to more commitment against gender based violence, good financial management in the family, the role of the police to end GBV, and sensitizing and equipping priests with skills to help their communities to understand and work towards the eradication of gender based violence.
Archbishop Martin said that the reason why people have to fight against GBV, especially violence against women and girls and domestic violence, is because the threat to families is a threat to the church and the whole society. He also stressed that young women need to be encouraged to continue their studies and avoid early marriages, that are often a source of violence, and also get their marriages registered.
The Governor of Rumonge said that his province is not without gender based violence and appealed to victims to seek support from the authorities. He also urged people to avoid behaviors that put them at risk of HIV infection.
The Department of GBV in the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi organized a competition to evaluate people’s knowledge and skills. Groups of young people from four dioceses – Rumonge, Makamba, Gitega and Buye performed songs and sketches highlighting different forms of GBV that occur frequently in the community. The Diocese of Gitega won the competition.
For the Rev. Jeanne Francoise Ndimubakunzi, the Coordinator of the Provincial Department against Gender Based Violence the commitment of religious leaders and community leaders has already produced a reduction in GBV. “It’s in that commitment that we have to put our efforts so that we can achieve more”, she said.