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Strengthening life-saving sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls in refugee camps in Rwanda with Japan’s support.

Karongi, 30 September 2021. The United Nations Sexual and Reproductive Health Agency, UNFPA, in partnership with Japan Embassy in Rwanda launched the 2020 Japan Supplementary Budget project as a continuation of the Government of Japan’s support to UNFPA. 

The project entitled: “ Strengthening Maternal, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Gender Based Violence Prevention and Response in humanitarian settings in the context of COVID-19 pandemic”  aims at strengthening the capacity of health facilities from six refugee camps (Kiziba, Kigeme, Mahama, Mugombwa, Gihembe and Nyabiheke)  to deliver quality Maternal Health, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Gender Based Violence (GBV) prevention and response services in the context of COVID-19.

In 2018, UNFPA received financial support from the Government and People of Japan to assist and empower Burundian refugees especially women, adolescents and youth through life-saving sexual and reproductive health care, towards resilience building and human security. This support enabled UNFPA and partners to strengthen capacity of health facilities and youth friendly services in Mahama refugee camp to deliver quality maternal health and SRH/GBV/HIV/AIDS services including availing referral system, create demand for maternal health, sexual & reproductive health services and support prevention and response to GBV. 

Imai, Ambassador of Japan in Rwanda handing over assorted material to the community activist in Kiziba refugee camp during the launch of Japan Supplementary Project  

 

The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent preventive measures to stop the quick spread of the infection have affected the access to SRH and GBV prevention and response services provided at community and health facility levels. UNFPA and its partners have mobilized funds from the Government of Japan to support Humanitarian Response in Rwanda especially during the context of COVID-19 pandemic context.

“Japan is committed to support refugees and internally displaced persons by providing humanitarian assistance, especially for youth’ for peace and stability.” Said Imai the Ambassador of Japan in Rwanda  

“I would like to appreciate the remarkable efforts made by the Government of Rwanda and UNFPA to support women and girls in vulnerable situations so as to leave no one behind.”He added 

Women and Girls wellbeing, their Sexual and reproductive health and rights are at the very heart of development and crucial to delivering the UNFPA vision — a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

Whether women live or die in a crisis often depends on whether they can get basic sexual and reproductive health services, which too often take a back seat to other urgent needs, like food and shelter. Women and especially adolescent girls are among the most vulnerable and exposed to risks including unintended pregnancies, STIs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) and Sexual & Gender Based Violence. 

“With the generous financial support of the Government of Japan we will continue to provide life-saving sexual and reproductive health services to women and girls to build their resilience.” Said Mark Bryan Schreiner in his remarks

 adding 

“I would like to reaffirm UNFPA commitment to continue supporting the Government of Rwanda to uphold the dignity of refugees in general, and women and girls specifically”.  

Mark Bryan Schreiner laying the foundation stone to the building of GBV safe space in Kiziba refugee Camp

Under the 2018 Japan Supplementary Project, UNFPA supported health system strengthening programs to ensure every pregnancy is wanted & every childbirth is safe. Various medical equipment have been procured to strengthen Maternal, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Gender Based Violence Prevention and Response in Mahama camp including an ambulance to ease the referral of complicated obstetric & GBV cases to the hospital.

During the launch of the new Japan Supplementary project in Kiziba camp, the delegation laid the foundation stone at the site where the safe room is being constructed by Alight. The SGBV case workers as well as the community workers in Kiziba camp were also handed over the assorted items, including telephones, torch and Sound systems that will help them in their daily duties. 

“ Saving the lives of women and young girls is the priority of the government of Rwanda. The Government appreciates your efforts to ensure that the lives of vulnerable people in humanitarian settings and the community in general are safe. Building a safe room in Mahama and expanding it in Kiziba mark the generosity from our partners especially to support in saving the lives of women and young girls.” Said Ingabire Veneranda, SPUI Coordinator, Ministry of Emergency Management 

Ingabire Veneranda, SPIU coordinator at MINEMA laying the stone of foundation at the site

The project launched is being  implemented by UNFPA Rwanda in collaboration with ALIGHT, African Humanitarian Action, and Save the Children with ongoing cooperation with the Government of Rwanda. It seeks to strengthen Maternal, Sexual and Reproductive Health Services including GBV Prevention and Response in the context of COVID-19 pandemic in six refugee camps in Rwanda. It will build on the Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) results achieved with Japan’s support under the 2017 Supplementary Budget Window. It aims to strengthen the gains in Maternal Health and SRH services, GBV prevention and responses to provide lifesaving support for Burundian and Congolese refugees hosted in the six camps thereby ensuring access and quality of services are improved and maintained during this emergency period of Covid-19 pandemic.

This project will contribute to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity during COVID-19 context in all six refugee Camps,Increase access to the maternal Health and SRH services by women and girls and ensure their safety while attending services and Strengthen capacity of midwives to deliver quality SRH in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.