January 21, 2022

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The European Union awards 1.5 Million EUR to CSOs to support labour rights, social dialogue and access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights

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Kigali, December 08, 2021 – Today, EU Ambassador to Rwanda, Nicola Bellomo and representatives of Action Aid Rwanda, Spanish Red Cross (Cruz Roja Española) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung gathered to sign grant agreements between the EU and these respective CSOs working in Rwanda for a total of around 1.15 billion FRW (980,000 EUR).

The grants are awarded after a call for proposals for the Civil Society Organisations and European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and will support the CSOs to work on i- fighting sexual and gender-based violence and ii- promoting labour rights, the decent work agenda and social dialogue.

 “The EU wants to help support the creation of a vibrant and independent civil society – which participates, in a meaningful and structured way in key decisions and policies in Rwanda and helps implementing projects that will address the issues identified in the proposals,” the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Rwanda, Ambassador Nicola Bellomo said. 

The funding will enable Action Aid Rwanda to implement a project aimed at promoting and protecting the sexual and reproductive rights of teenage girls and vulnerable young people, with a focus on increasing knowledge, access to appropriate health services and combatting sexual and gender-based violence in Gasabo and Karongi Districts. Final beneficiaries include in schools and out of school youths with a large majority being girls and young women, peer educators, schools facilitators. Other key stakeholders are government service providers and a network of 8 local civil society organisations.  

Josephine Irene Uwamariya, Country Director, ActionAid Rwanda said; “We believe that empowering girls with knowledge, support and ability to demand their rights, to take control over their bodies and to make their own informed decisions is fundamental step to addressing Gender Based Violence. ActionAid Rwanda is pleased to receive this grant that will contribute to reducing the barriers to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights Services (SRHR) and combatting other forms of gender related violence with a focus on youth and women.”

The EU will also support the Spanish Red Cross (Cruz Roja Española) to implement a project to improve universal coverage for SRHR of adolescent girls, with a focus on preventing teenage pregnancies. The project will enhance assistance to SGBV victims, with an effort on promoting behavioural transformation towards the eradication of SGBV in Rwanda. Final beneficiaries include over 8,500 adolescents facing social, availability, affordability and quality barriers to access SRHR services and contraception.

 “Through this project, with the support of the EU and the essential collaboration of the Rwanda Red Cross and other CSOs, we would like to improve the capacity of local and national health systems. Our strategy aims to ensure access to comprehensive, youth friendly SRHR services, and the promotion of a radical change that can lead us towards the elimination of SGBV in Rwanda,” Vito Chimienti Spanish Red Cross Delegate – Rwanda asserted.

Labour rights are an area of increasing importance for the EU in Rwanda. In parallel to EU efforts on supporting job creation and employment, the EU seeks to promote  decent  work  and  social  dialogue  as  a  key  condition  for  sustainable  development,  inclusive growth, and good governance.

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES Rwanda) was selected to implement a project to promote  social dialogue  by  restoring  the  balance  between  employers  and  trade  unions  through  a  combination  of  capacity building and promotion of mutual understanding and cooperation between  tripartite actors in Rwanda. Beneficiaries include union, private and public sector representatives as well as workers and young professionals from the targeted sectors (tea, mining, education).

“I am pleased that, thanks to the support of the EU, we will be able to work together with our trade union partner COTRAF to strengthen social dialogue in the coming years. We know that sustainable development everywhere in the world goes hand in hand with respect for workers’ rights and that good working conditions, and a fair minimum wage, are guarantees of social justice,” Oliver Dalichau, Resident Representative, FES Rwanda said.

The EU believes civil society plays a crucial role in ensuring accountable governance in Rwanda and in the promotion and protection of human rights. Through these grants, the EU is providing support to three civil society organisations to enhance awareness and access to services to targeted groups, most especially the youth.

A new call for proposals is expected in the first quarter of 2022. 

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