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688 FARDC Elements Trained in Jungle Combat

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A total of 688-men strong elements of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo have successfully completed training in specialised and in-depth tactics and armament as part of the ongoing military operations in Ituri province by experts from the United Nations.

According to details, these soldiers were trained for 14 days in Rwampara, a locality located not far from the town of Bunia. They also received training on jungle combat but also on the human rights convention.

The Commander of the UN Forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said he remains convinced that the beneficiaries of this training will step up in the offensive against the armed groups that roam several localities in this province.

For more than 5 years, the province of Ituri has been plagued by growing insecurity characterised by crimes against humanity and serial killings.

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Rwanda National Police Holds ‘Police Women Convention’

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The Rwanda National Police (RNP) 11th ‘Police Women Convention’ started this Tuesday, September 21, bringing together about 150 female officers from different departments and units of the force to reflect on the achievements, challenges and way forward towards gender promotion and accomplishment of their duties.

The official opening of the two-day convention held at the RNP General Headquarters in Kacyiru was presided over by the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Prof. Jeannette Bayisenge. It was also attended by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dan Munyuza, UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Fodé Ndiaye as well as Deputy IGPs; Felix Namuhoranye of Operations and Jeanne Chantal Ujeneza of Administration and Personnel.

It is held in consideration of the national Covid-19 prevention guidelines

Bayisenge said that the ‘Police Women Convention’ is crucial to promote gender equality, assess the achievement in line with women empowerment, put much effort in areas where the force still lags for men and women to enjoy equal rights and opportunities, and to have equal contribution in the development of their country.

“Women in Rwanda were marginalized for so many years; they had no equal rights as men is all aspects of life. This negative narrative attributed to women was put to an end by the visionary leadership under President Paul Kagame which developed policy and legal frameworks that provide equal rights and opportunities, no discrimination; developed women empowerment programmes and established institutions to oversee the implementation of these national and international instruments,” Minister Bayisenge said.

Gender equality, she added, is part of the government Vision 2050, the National Strategy for Transformation (NST 1), sector gender mainstreaming strategies and the UN security council resolution 1325 on the call for participation and increase of women in peacekeeping and peace processes.

“These efforts continue to produce results on the increase of women in security organs, and it is a pride to see women and girls working together with their spouses and brothers in ensuring safety and security both at home and in international dimensions. This is a sign that where there is strong governance and legal systems, outcomes are massive,” the Minister said.

She, however, noted that despite the milestone, there are still challenges related to sexual and gender-based violence including defilement.

“This is a moment to reflect on what you can do to ensure safer and able families; how your can help fill the void in gender promotion and equality in your respective areas of responsibility to influence mindset change among the women.”

IGP Dan Munyuza said that the periodic Police Women Convention is part of the RNP women empowerment programmes and a forum to further influence them in their policing duties.

“Through this forum, we listen and exchange ideas, expertise, review the achievements, look at where we are and want to be in promoting gender equality in the Police force,” IGP Munyuza said.

The establishment of the directorate of gender promotion in RNP, he added, was meant to spearhead the gender policies and for the female officers to further contribute to the policing mandate and development of their country.

“The number of women Police officers has continued to increase which goes with their promotions and leadership appointments both in the country and in international peacekeeping operations,” IGP Munyuza said.

He urged the women Police officers to utilize the forum, apply the knowledge they will acquire to better understand and execute their duties effectively.

The Police Chief thanked UNDP for the continued support in community policing affairs including training of community policing committees, youth volunteers as well as sensitization campaigns against crimes and gender related activities.

UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Fodé Ndiaye, commended the Government of Rwanda’s effort to mainstream gender in policies, programmes and practices as gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world.

“The results are highly commended at global level and a more authorized voice will certainly elaborate on this. Rwanda ranks one of the leading female contributors to the UN,” Mr. Ndiaye said.

He added: “The women police convention is a clear demonstration of the translation of gender equality principles into practice and provides a good platform for women in policing to reflect on their roles and responsibilities but also challenges and strategies towards a peaceful country free from any form of discrimination and abuse in line with the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Goals especially goal 16—promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

During the two days, women officers will look at gender mainstreaming in RNP, welfare, GBV status among police officers’ families and prevention mechanism; force conduct and discipline; best practices, experience sharing and challenges and social responsibilities, among others.

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Regional Army Chiefs, Intel Directors Meet In Kigali To Discussion Reginal Security

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The Chiefs and Directors of Military Intelligence of the six EAC member States have today convened in Kigali for a two-day meeting. The meeting that ends tomorrow aims to review the regional security situation.

The Rwanda Defence Force Chief of Defence Staff, Gen J Bosco Kazura officially opened the meeting by urging the Chiefs and Directors of Military Intelligence to discuss what should be done to make sure that EAC member countries live together in peace and harmony.

“I want to express my appreciation to you for availing yourselves to discuss what should be done going forward in order to ensure peace, stability and harmony among our people,’’ said Gen Kazura, adding that there is a need to find home-grown solutions to own problems.

Col Raphael Kibiwot Kiptoo, the chair of Defence Liaison Officers, representing EAC Secretary General, said the quarterly meeting are organised in the framework of the EAC Protocol in Defence and Cooperation Affairs in order for the EAC Chiefs and Directors of Military intelligence of the EAC Armed Forces to develop strategies to ensure lasting peace and security in the EAC community.

The meeting was attended by EAC Chiefs and Directors of Military intelligence from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda as well as Military Liaison Officials from EAC Secretariat.

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How The Red Cross Is Helping Dozens Of Rubavu Residents

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Residents of different sectors in Rubavu District are deeply delighted by the assistance and support extended to them by the Red Cross Society of Rwanda especially in aiding those that were affected by disasters.

In May 2021, the Nyiragongo Volcanic Mountain located in Congo erupted and left the residents of Rubavu in a miserable situation. Infrastructure, including houses, and roads were destroyed.

Jean Paul Uwiringiyimana, a resident of Bugeshi Sector in Rubavu District told Taarifa that previously, there is a lot in their day to day lives that they were not paying attention to but this has since changed.

He says that Red Cross has not only supported them with basic needs, it has also trained them on how to ensure proper sanitation in their places of residence, having vegetable gardens as well as handwashing facilities.

‘’The place we are settled in is one that yields a lot of agricultural produce but many people didn’t know how to prepare meals from our harvests,” he says, “but now we have been trained on how we are supposed to prepare meals out of our own produce.’’

Previously, there would be a lot of harvests such as vegetables and irish potatoes but instead of making nutritious meals for the family, they would instead sell them off leaving the family malnourished, inviting diseases such as kwashiorkor. Other diseases resulting from malnutrition were so common.

Jacquiline Tuyambaze, also a resident in the area, says that they used to eat a mixture of beans and irish potatoes and felt they have done their best to have a balanced diet.

‘’However, after the intervention of the Red Cross, we have learnt that a balanced diet consists of three types of food; carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins…we used to think of having all the three food types in one sitting as something really hard and expensive but we have since learnt that we can actually get all the food types from the crops that we grow ourselves,’’ she says.

On hygiene, she says,  “we have learnt that we must wash our hands with clean water and soap every time we are going to eat, after visiting the latrines… we are now living healthier lives.’’

They also boil water for drinking, a practice they have learnt with the help of the Red Cross.

Training Residents on the saving culture.

Besides training the residents on ensuring proper hygiene and eating a balanced diet, the Red Cross advised the residents to develop a saving culture through saving groups.

Anastase  Hitiyaremye, who is a member of the ‘’Duharanire Ubuzima Bwiza’’ Saving Group located in Bereshi Village in Bugeshi Sector, says that since they began saving in the Saving Group, he has seen its benefit to him personally and his family because there is no case where he can be in need of small amounts of money and he fails to get it.

‘’We have so far saved a total of Rwf 123,500. We are planning on buying animals such as goats, sheep, pigs among others which will be of great importance to our homes including providing manure,” he says.

As for Andre Nsengiyumva , he knew nothing about saving but after receiving training sessions from the Red Cross, he has had a change in his financial discipline.

He says, ‘’Previously, I used to harvest a lot of irish potatoes and I would get a lot of money but since we had no saving culture, all the money would be wasted in worthless ventures such as buying alcohol for my friends but now there is a certain amount of money that I save weekly as a must in our Saving Group.’’

Construction of modern handwashing facilities in schools

Handwashing is one of the measures that was put in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus and it was noted that a number of schools in Rubavu District had issues of putting in place handwashing facilities for students.

Emmanuel  Habiyaremye,  the Headteacher of Gitebe II Primary and Secondary school says that the school has a total of 1,171 students who have to share just two handwashing facilities that are manually filled with water every now and then by a school employee and every jerrycan costs Rwf 100.

He says that a lot of efforts had to be applied in order for the students to be able to get water to wash their hands because there is no water source in the neighborhood. It would cost the school Fwf 800,000 to cover a distance of 300 meters and the school doesn’t have that amount of money.

The Red Cross has since built them twelve modern washing facilities and the budget that had been allocated to buying water for the students to be able to wash their hands has now been diverted to construction of a kitchen where meals for the students will be prepared from.

Bazaramwiranande Jean Damascene, Headteacher of Pfunda Primary and Secondary School shares the same vies with his counterpart from Gitebe II school as he says that currently, his school has a total of 1.154 and there is an expected increase in the number by around 300 students next year.

Other schools in the district are receiving the same assistance.

Assistance to residents neighboring River Sebeya

Among the many beneficiaries of the Red Cross were the disadvantaged persons whose houses were renovated after they were destroyed by River Sebeya which normally floods and destroys people’s homes.

Maniteze Venatie says that her house was destroyed by the river and she was left homeless. Well-wishers accommodated her until the Red Cross offered her iron sheets and cement to construct a new house. She also received food assistance because floods had destroyed her gardens and she had nothing to eat.

In other activities, the Red Cross has a team of volunteers that was trained them with rescuing and first aid skills. In 2020, this team helped in recovering the bodies of a boat accident in Lake Kivu on DRC side.

Emmanuel Mazimpaka, the Red Cross Head of Communication, Fundraising and Humanitarian Diplomacy Department says that they are pleased with their efforts because they can see that the livelihoods of people in Rubavu District have been uplifted.

“’It is not only in Rubavu Distric, where we have built the modern hand-washing facilities. We have done this in 62 schools around the country and this has cost over Rwf 200 million,” he says.

“Red Cross as a government partner, our role is to help the citizens that have been affected by natural disasters or war as well as improving the livelihoods of the disadvantaged.’’

The Red Cross is also involved in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic through its awareness campaigns as well as helping over 7000 homes get food.

The Vice Mayor of Rubavu District in charge of Welfare, Ishimwe Pacifique , said that the Red Cross has continued to be a very outstanding partner in solving the issues of the residents which include flooding of River Sebeya, the strong winds from the volcanoes, which destroy houses and gardens of residents, Covid-19 and the recent Nyiragongo Volcanic eruptions.

She said, ‘’The Red Cross is a very important partner in Rubavu District because of what it has done.”

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