By Elias Hakizimana.
Rwanda Civil Society Organizations raise concerns over justice and law awareness that are still not adequate to citizens when it comes to human rights and injustice.
The issues were raised during a-one-day capacity building workshop organized by Ihorere Munyarwanda Organisation (IMRO), gathering 30 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working in justice sector in Nyarugenge District.
Speaking to the media during the event, Kayisime Nzaramba, the Mayor of Nyarugenge District said that justice is a key element of citizens’ welfare that can be incorporated in all activities like performance of contracts and action plans of local government entities.
“It is better to communicate this sector and partner in a way or another to promote our citizens’ welfare. It is also very significant to have a complementarity between Civil Societies and government to be able to tackle challenges facing our citizens to understand human rights and justice services they need,” she said.
Mayor Nzaramba added that officials used to focus on tangible activities like building huge infrastructures rather than sensitive issues resulting into injustice that is a damage to citizen’s daily life. She recommends concerned government levels and civil societies to join efforts and ensure that a citizen gets justice services and that his/her welfare is met.
“There is a need for a coordination and complementarity between civil societies and government to get to end-results in solving citizens’ problems. it will remain a difficult battle to get a good result when working in a scattered manner, let’s set justice activities together in our action plans so as we can prevent injustice crimes such as teenage pregnancies, etc,” she noted.
She said that more efforts are needed in teaching and mobilization of citizens, tasking all the 30 CSOs to work together in prevention rather than solving.
Nzaramba said that CSOs currently help Nyarugenge District to achieve the goals in different activities like infrastructure building and citizens’ mobilization.
She said that ensuring good welfare of a citizen is not only good infrastructures like roads, but it requires advocacy and help in preventing problems that can result from ignorance.
Aimable Mwananawe, National Coordinator of IMRO said that the workshop has a pivotal role in increasing the capacity of CSOs in justice sector and refine coordination between them and Nyarugenge district, which is one among 11 districts they work with.
“This is also most important in reducing mistrust between CSOs and government entities, and we need to work together for Rwandans. Coming back to JLROS, civil societies and government role can be there in fostering justice, and we are looking on how to improve coordination with District’s DJAF,” Mwananawe noted, adding that CSOs have in their responsibilities to prevent injustice.
He said that the workshop will reinforce coordination between government entities and CSOs and will increase the number of CSOs working in justice sector. He further said that knowledge of CSOs on advocacy will be boosted.
Participants to this capacity building workshop said some gaps in their activities of advocacy to citizens’issues.
Yvette Umutesi from Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN) said the lessons leant from the workshop will help her to improve their advocacy activities.
“We will be able to get citizens’ mindset so that we make them aware of what we need to advocate them for. Most of the time when we raise advocacy for citizens’ issues, we get a challenge of delay in getting feedback from officials; and the problem that might be solved in three months can take longer up to 12 months,” Umutesi said.
Frank Mumpe from AJPRODHO-JIJUKIRWA said that the workshop will enable him to do evidence based advocacy, which follows scientific research.
He noted that one of the challenges their organization used to experience is to be denied information by government entities when they are advocating for citizens to get access to justice.